My Township has an ordinance relating to grass needing to be cut on a regular basis. The penalties for violating include fines up to $1,000 and jailtime. Presumably the latter is not used on the regular, but given it is written into the ordinance as a penalty I would think that means violating this ordinance constitutes a criminal offense.

For the purposes of adjudicating this ordinance, the administrative rules stipulate that a hearing by a Public Officer must occur and that the, "rules of evidence prevailing in the Courts shall not be controlling in hearings before the Public Officer."

Given the penalties for violating this ordinance include a loss of liberty, is it unlawful for this ordinance to dismiss the rules of evidence? It seems to be this would deny a defendant the right to a fair trial.

  • What jurisdiction is this in? In particular is this in the US? If not, what county? if so, what state? Jul 7, 2022 at 1:14
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    @DavidSiegel I literally figured out a bunch of other tags and forgot the most relevant. Added. Jul 7, 2022 at 4:44
  • Do they define what "regular basis" is? The term "regular" would seem to indicate a consistent interval, but does not define the interval. Weekly could be considered regular just as easily as monthly, yearly, hourly, etc.
    – mikem
    Jul 7, 2022 at 6:00
  • @mikem they stipulate that grass can't be longer than 10", so presumably regular is whatever's necessary to meet that criteria. Jul 7, 2022 at 13:05
  • This interesting article suggests violating ordinances is not breaking the law, but that's not much comfort when you're fined or your home is foreclosed upon.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 7, 2022 at 13:32

1 Answer 1


In the United States, only a very few rules of evidence (most notably the "confrontation clause which is similar to the hearsay rule but not identical) have constitutional status.

Other rules of evidence are not constitutionally required so long as the proceedings as a whole do not deny the defendant due process of law.

Often, local government court systems are not required to follow the rules of evidence that are adopted in the state court system.

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