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Sec. 25.27.220. Procedure in judicial reviews.

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Sec. 25.27.220. Procedure in judicial reviews.
 (a) An appeal shall be heard by the superior court sitting without a jury.

 (b) Inquiry in an appeal extends to the following questions: (1) whether the agency has proceeded without or in excess of jurisdiction; (2) whether there was a fair hearing; and (3) whether there was a prejudicial abuse of discretion. Abuse of discretion is established if the agency has not proceeded in the manner required by law, the order or decision is not supported by the findings, or the findings are not supported by the evidence.

 (c) The court may exercise its independent judgment on the evidence. If it is claimed that the findings are not supported by the evidence, abuse of discretion is established if the court determines that the findings are not supported by
     (1) the weight of the evidence; or

     (2) substantial evidence in the light of the whole record.

 (d) The court may augment the agency record in whole or in part, or hold a hearing de novo. If the court finds that there is relevant evidence which, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have been produced or which was improperly excluded at the hearing, the court may
     (1) enter judgment as provided in (e) of this section and remand the case to be reconsidered in the light of that evidence; or

     (2) admit the evidence at the appellate hearing without remanding the case.

 (e) The court shall enter judgment setting aside, modifying, remanding, or affirming the decision, without limiting or controlling in any way the discretion legally vested in the agency.

 (f) The court in which proceedings under this section are started may stay the operation of the decision until
     (1) the court enters judgment;

     (2) a notice of further appeal from the judgment is filed; or

     (3) the time for filing the notice of appeal expires.

 (g) A stay may not be imposed or continued if the court is satisfied that it is against the public interest.

 (h) If further appeal is taken, the supreme court may, in its discretion, stay the superior court judgment or agency order.

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