I am a parent who is pursuing a special education impartial hearing without a lawyer. I have learned (in the hearing) that I can question district employee A about an email message I sent to that person, or that that person sent to me. However, I noticed that if the email message was sent to a different district employee, B, I can't ask employee A about it, even if A and B were working closely together on the matters mentioned in the message.
What about an email message I wrote to another witness, who is not a district employee? In this case, it happens to be one of my expert witnesses. In that message I described a specific incident that the student experienced at school. I wrote the message the day the incident occurred, after my child described it to me. Can I introduce that message, and question my expert witness about it? I would like to use the witness as a fact witness (did you receive that email message?) and as an expert witness (is there a nexus between an incident such as what was described in the email, and the disability that this child has been diagnosed with?).
I think this is similar to Anita Hill bringing in friends who testified to the incidents she described to them during the period of time that the incidents were occurring.
Does my reasoning sound okay? I am planning to testify about the description of the incident that I heard from my child, but my child has decided not to testify about that particular incident, which was embarrassing to the child. I'm looking for a way to strengthen, with evidence, the description I will give in my testimony.
The incident occurred between one and two years ago, if that helps.
I found that I was permitted to introduce emails as long as I followed the five business days disclosure rule, and as long as I was careful to submit the email in its entirety (i.e. with the header and with no words or paragraphs removed). However, I did trim out signatures and redundant tails, to improve the readability of my email archive, and that was permitted.
When I discovered, during the hearing, that I needed to ask a witness about an email that I had not disclosed as an exhibit, then I found out there are two ways to proceed:
1) if it's short, read it out loud to the witness and then ask a question about it.
2) bring extra copies, show it to the witness, and introduce it into evidence then and there.