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§ 771.120 Appeal on petition to the Director.
(a) An appeal to the Director may be made by the applicant, licensee, or permittee, or by the Director of Industry Operations (DIO). For the applicant, licensee, or permittee, such appeal shall be made by filing a petition for review on appeal with the Director within 15 days of the service of the adverse initial decision by the Director of Industry Operations. For the Director of Industry Operations, such appeal shall be taken by filing a petition for review on appeal with the Director within 15 days of the issuance of the administrative law judge's decision recommending against revocation or denial of renewal. The petitioning applicant, licensee, or permittee must submit arguments showing that the Director of Industry Operations' initial decision, and if applicable the underlying administrative law judge's recommended decision, was without reasonable warrant in fact or contrary to law and regulations. The petitioning DIO must submit arguments showing the administrative law judge's recommended decision was without reasonable warrant in fact or contrary to law and regulations. Nothing in this part shall limit the authority of the Director to review the administrative law judge's decision exercising all the powers that he would have in making the recommended decision.
§ 771.123 Court review.
(a) If an applicant, licensee, or permittee files an appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which he resides or has his principle place of business, within 60 days after the receipt of the Director's decision, the Director, upon notification that an appeal has been taken, shall prepare the record for submission to the court in accordance with applicable court rules.
§ 771.5 Meaning of terms.
Initial decision. The decision of the Director of Industry Operations in a proceeding concerning the revocation of, denial of renewal of, or denial of application for a license or permit. This decision becomes the agency's final decision in the absence of an appeal.
§ 771.121 Review by Director.
(a) Modification or reversal. On appeal, the Director shall afford a reasonable opportunity for the submission of proposed findings, conclusions, or exceptions with reasons in support thereof and an opportunity for oral argument. The Director may alter or modify any finding of the administrative law judge (or of the Director of Industry Operations as the case may be) and may affirm, reverse, or modify the recommended decision of the administrative law judge, or the initial decision of the Director of Industry Operations, or may remand the case for further hearing, but shall not consider evidence that is not a part of the record.
§ 771.73 General.
All motions shall be made and addressed to the administrative law judge before whom the proceeding is pending, and copies of all motion papers shall be served upon the other party or parties. The administrative law judge may dispose of any motion without oral argument, but he may, if he so desires, set it down for hearing and request argument. The administrative law judge may dispose of such motion prior to the hearing on the merits or he may postpone the disposition until the hearing on the merits. No appeal may be taken from any ruling on a motion until the whole record is certified for review. Examples of typical motions may be found in the Rules of Civil Procedure referred to in § 771.2.
§ 771.96 Disqualification.
An administrative law judge shall, at any time, withdraw from any proceeding if he deems himself disqualified. Upon the filing in good faith by the applicant, licensee, permittee, or Attorney for the Government of a timely and sufficient affidavit of facts showing personal bias or otherwise warranting the disqualification of any administrative law judge, if the administrative law judge fails to disqualify himself, the Director shall upon appeal, as provided in § 771.120, determine the matter as a part of the record and decision in the proceeding. If the Director decides the administrative law judge should have deemed himself disqualified, the Director will remand the record for hearing de novo before another administrative law judge. If the Director should decide against the disqualification of the administrative law judge, the proceeding will be reviewed on its merits by the original administrative law judge. The burden is upon the party seeking disqualification to set forth evidence sufficient to overcome the presumption of the administrative law judge's honesty and integrity.
§ 771.98 Separation of functions.
Administrative law judges shall perform no functions inconsistent with their duties and responsibilities. The Director may assign administrative law judges duties not inconsistent with the performance of their functions as administrative law judges. Except to the extent required for the disposition of ex parte matters as required by law, no administrative law judge shall consult any person or party as to any fact in issue unless there has been notice and opportunity for all parties to participate. The functions of the administrative law judge shall be entirely separated from the general investigative functions of the agency. No officer, employee, or agent engaged in the performance of investigative or prosecuting functions in any proceeding shall, in that proceeding or a factually related proceeding, participate or advise in the administrative law judge's or Director's decision, or in the agency review on appeal, except as a witness or counsel in the proceedings. The administrative law judge may not informally obtain advice or opinions from the parties or their counsel, or from any officer or employee of the ATF, as to the facts or the weight or interpretation to be given to the evidence. The administrative law judge may, however, informally obtain advice on matters of law or procedure in a proceeding from officers or employees who were not engaged in the performance of investigative or prosecuting functions in that proceeding or a factually related proceeding. The administrative law judge may, at any time, consult with and obtain instructions from the Director on questions of law and policy. Furthermore, it is not a violation of the separation of functions for the administrative law judge to participate in the questioning of witnesses, where the questioning is for clarification or to move the proceedings along, and where the questioning is not so extensive as to place the administrative law judge in the position of a prosecuting officer.
§ 771.65 Responses admitting facts.
If the licensee or permittee desires to waive the hearing on the allegations of fact set forth in the notice and does not contest the facts, the answer may consist of a statement that the licensee or permittee admits all material allegations of fact charged in the notice to be true. The Director of Industry Operations shall base the decision on the notice and such answer, although such an answer shall not affect the licensee's or permittee's right to submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law or right to appeal.
§ 771.122 Denial of renewal or revocation.
If the Director orders the denial of an application, a copy of the application marked “Disapproved” will be returned to the applicant by the Director of Industry Operations. If the Director orders a revocation of a license of permit, any stay of revocation will be withdrawn and the revocation will become effective upon the order of the Director of Industry Operations. After the issuance of a denial of a renewal application or a revocation, and pending the final determination of a timely appeal, the licensee or permittee may continue operations, if at all, pursuant to § 555.83 of this chapter.
§ 771.70 Adjudication based upon written submissions.
The licensee or permittee may waive the hearing before the administrative law judge and stipulate that the matter will be adjudicated by the Director of Industry Operations based upon written submissions. Written submissions may include stipulations of law or facts, proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, briefs, or any other documentary material. The pleadings, together with the written submissions of both the licensee or permittee and the attorney for the Government, shall constitute the record on which the initial decision shall be based. The election to contest the denial or revocation without a hearing under this section does not affect the licensee's or permittee's right to appeal to the Director pursuant to § 555.79 of this chapter or to the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the licensee or permittee resides or has his principle place of business pursuant to § 555.80 of this chapter.