(A) Procedure. The public hearing must conform as nearly as possible to the rules of procedure and evidence governing the trial of civil actions in the circuit court. The hearing must be held whether or not the respondent has filed an answer or appears at the hearing. The examiner shall present the evidence in support of the charges set forth in the complaint, and at all times shall have the burden of proving the allegations by a preponderance of the evidence. A respondent is entitled to be represented by an attorney. Any employee, officer, or agent of the respondent’s court, law enforcement officer, public officer or employee, or attorney who testifies as a witness in the hearing, whether called by the examiner or by the judge, is subject to cross-examination by either party as an opposite party under MCL 600.2161.
(B) Effect of Failure to Comply.
(1) The respondent’s failure to answer or to appear at the hearing may not, standing alone, be taken as evidence of the truth of the facts alleged to constitute grounds for commission action.
(2) The respondent’s failure to answer, to testify in his or her own behalf, or to submit to a medical examination requested by the commission or the master, may be considered as an evidentiary fact, unless the failure was due to circumstances unrelated to the facts in issue at the hearing.
(C) Record. The proceedings at the hearing must be recorded by stenographic or mechanical means. A separate record must be made if the master or the commission declines to admit evidence.
(D) Rulings. When the hearing is before the commission, at least 5 members must be present while the hearing is in active progress. Procedural and other interlocutory rulings must be made by the chairperson and are taken as consented to by the other members of the commission unless a member calls for a vote, in which event a ruling must be made by a majority vote of those present.