ARLINGTON IMMIGRATION COURT REPORT: JUDGE THOMAS SNOW WILL BE SERVING AS APPELLATE IMMIGRATION JUDGE/TEMPORARY BOARD MEMBER (“TBM”) AT BIA IN FALLS CHURCH FOR AT LEAST FOUR MONTHS — No Word On What Will Happen To His Arlington Docket!

Hon. Thomas “Frosty the Snowman” Snow, flanked by Hon. John Milo “JB” Bryant (on right, in the funny looking dark suit) and by Judge Rodger B. “Marine” Harris and me (on left) departing for my last “Thursday Judges’ Lunch” on the day of my retirement, June 30, 2016.

Judge Snow has previously served as a TBM, as well as the Acting Director of EOIR and the Acting Chief Immigration Judge, as well as a Senior Executive in the International Affairs Section of the Criminal Division of the USDOJ. So, he is no stranger to “The Tower” in Falls Church where the BIA is located. He also has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at UVA and William & Mary, his two alma maters.

Judge Snow is widely respected by both private practitioners and DHS Counsel as a due-process-oriented, fair, scholarly, patient, and unfailingly polite jurist. His overall asylum grant rate has been approximately 70%.

He will join 15 permanent Appellate Immigration Judges, as well as Judge Keith Hunsucker and two Senior BIA Attorney Advisors who also serve as TBMs. Of course, the BIA once had a sufficient number of permanent judges, over 20 at one time, prior to AG John Ashcroft’s purge. That “purge” crippled the BIA’s effectiveness and reputation as a due-process-oriented appellate court as part of a successful effort to remove so-called “liberal judges” from their appellate positions.

Normally, TBMs serve for renewable 120 day appointments. My sources were unaware of what arrangements have been made for the docket Judge Snow leaves behind at the Arlington Immigration Court, where approximately 30,000 cases are pending and Individual Merits hearings are scheduled as far out as 2021-22.

If someone out there in “Courtsideland” knows the fate of Judge Snow’s Arlington docket, please share with everyone by posting in the “comments” box below.

Good luck to Judge Snow in his new temporary assignment.

PWS

02-11-17

6 thoughts on “ARLINGTON IMMIGRATION COURT REPORT: JUDGE THOMAS SNOW WILL BE SERVING AS APPELLATE IMMIGRATION JUDGE/TEMPORARY BOARD MEMBER (“TBM”) AT BIA IN FALLS CHURCH FOR AT LEAST FOUR MONTHS — No Word On What Will Happen To His Arlington Docket!”

  1. You are correct ! He is highly respected by the private bar. Unfortunately, I now know first hand what happens to his cases. They are set out two years for a master with a visiting judge !

    1. Thanks, Elias!

      Just as I had suspected! More AIMLESS DOCKET RESHUFFLING (“ADR”). That Sessions and EOIR are trying to “shift the blame” for the out of control dockets that they and their “facially moronic” policies (as well of those of the two preceding Administrations) created is one of the great scams in Government. No competence, no common sense, no honesty, no decency = the DOJ’s grotesque mal-administration of our U.S. Immigration Courts.

      Judge Snow will be great at the BIA! But, certainly, with 30,000 pending cases in Arlington and dozens of unfilled IJ positions, the “powers that be” could have waited for a new IJ to come on board to handle Judge Snow’s Arlington docket before detailing him. Right now, the major docket problems are in the IMMIGRATION COURTS, NOT THE BIA!

      Here’s a “real life” example of how ADR works: 1)Individual set on Snow’s docker for Dec. 2014; 2) reassigned to me when Snow moved to “priority detained” docket in 2014; 3) placed on my Master and given Individual date at end of my docket because I was already full for years; 4) reassigned to Judge O’Leary upon my retirement; 5) reassigned to Judge Snow after Judge O’Leary (predictably) retired shortly after I did and Snow switched back to “non-detained docket; 6) reassigned to imaginary “Visiting Judge” for date in 2021 or 2022. Case has never gotten a merits hearing, and might never get one the way this system is being abused by the DOJ. But, lots of staff time and effort has been wasted aimlessly moving the case around. And, NONE of this is the fault of “attorneys gaming the system.” It’s all self inflicted by a group of politicos who don’t care about due process and know nothing about competent, professional court management.

      Why is the DOJ being allowed to “institutionalize” waste, fraud, and abuse? We need Article 1!

      PWS
      02-12-18

  2. To be clear, although we are long-time friends, I never asked him why he retired.

    Here’s my purely speculative analysis. Judge O’Leary worked his way up the ladder from IJ, to ACIJ, to Deputy Chief IJ, to Chief IJ. This was his “second exile” to Arlington. So, “been there, done that.” Plus, by 2016 ADR had totally screwed up the docket. He was a “Government lifer” — I hired him for his first job as an INS Trial Attorney under the Honors Program. He had the years for a full pension and was young enough to enjoy it. Also, most of his family was out of town. So, why hang around when “every day can be Saturday,” as we retirees like to say?

    PWS
    02-12-17

  3. As attorneys practicing before the Immigration Court in Arlington, we were so blessed to have so many wonderful judges. I was so happy when I heard Judge O’Leary was coming back, and was wondering where he went. I did know why he left his administrative job (CIJ), but never even heard that he retired until you just told us. Thank you. Let us now hope that there is something that can be done about “ADR.”

    1. Yes, I remember that before I retired, many practitioners on both sides were looking forward to Judge O’Leary’s return. He was a “gentleman and a scholar.” I never heard anyone in Arlington express anything other than respect and affection for him.

      And, he had a great sense of humor. We used to “prank” each other’s courtrooms when the Arlington Court was in Ballston. My personal favorite was when I used a piece of “invisible” fishing line to tie several boxes of his recorder tapes together (pre-DAR, obviously). When he grabbed the first one, about 60 others came tumbling out of the box with it during a “full house” Master Calendar.

      But, I suspect (without knowing for sure) that as this was his third separate stint as an Immigraton Judge at the trial level, “the thrill was gone” and the advantages of retiring while still active and in good health won out.

      I share your desire to see the end of ADR and its corrosive effect on everyone on the “retail level” of the system.

      PWS
      02-13-18

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