JUDGES JOURNAL, SUMMER 2017: “IN BORROWED ROBES — A Day in the Life of an IMMIGRATION JUDGE” By Judge Dorothy A. Harbeck

JJ_SUM17_56_3_Harbeck

Excerpt:

“It was a Sunday afternoon of particular autumn splendor when I found myself trying on vampire capes for work. I had been three-quarters of the way to the York County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania, a detention center, for my week-long detail of hearing removal cases of noncitizens when I realized I had forgotten my judicial robe. I was supposed to be on the bench in the immigration court the next morning. I was a new immigration judge (IJ), assigned to a detention facility in Eliz- abeth, New Jersey, and I did not want any problems on my detail to York. I gured forgetting my robe was a rookie move, and I wanted to project authority. Also, there is a specific Operating Policy and Procedure Memorandum (OPPM) on the subject. That OPPM requires that I wear a robe when presiding over cases so that I convey the proper dignity of the court and foster the aims of due process and a fair hearing.”

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Read the entire, wonderful first-hand account of a trial judge’s life at the “retail level” of our immigration system by my good friend Judge Dorothy Harbeck of the Elizabeth, N.J. Immigrant Court.

PWS

07-17-17

7th Slams IJ, BIA For Mishandling Of Credibility, Corroboration Issues In Moldovan Asylum Case — COJOCARI V. SESSIONS!

http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2017/D07-11/C:16-3941:J:Hamilton:aut:T:fnOp:N:1992923:S:0

Key quote:

“We do not often see a timely asylum case where the applicant is a citizen of a country infamous for corruption and political oppression and presents a broadly consistent narrative and substantial corroboration. Yet Cojocari has done just that.

No. 16‐3941 27

Granted, his testimony includes a handful of minor discrep‐ ancies, and a couple of these—notably the timeline involving his university enrollment and the details of his October 2009 hospitalization—might have supported a plausible adverse credibility finding. But most of the discrepancies on which the immigration judge relied are so trivial or illusory that we have no confidence in her analysis or in the Board’s decision resting on that analysis.

Cojocari is entitled to a fresh look at his prior testimony and the evidence he supplied in support of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the CAT. We therefore grant the petition for review. We urge the Board to assign this case to a different immigration judge for the remand proceedings. That is the best way to ensure that Cojocari gets the fair shake he deserves. E.g., Castilho de Oliveira v. Holder, 564 F.3d 892, 900 (7th Cir. 2009); Tadesse v. Gonzales, 492 F.3d 905, 912 (7th Cir. 2007); Bace v. Ashcroft, 352 F.3d 1133, 1141 (7th Cir. 2003); cf. Cir. R. 36 (7th Cir. 2016) (cases remanded for new trial are presumptively assigned to a different district judge).

On remand, the immigration judge should allow counsel for both sides to supplement the record if there is additional evidence (such as Cojocari’s medical book or an updated re‐ port on the political landscape in Moldova) that would assist the judge in assessing the risk of persecution or torture that Cojocari would face if deported.

The petition for review is GRANTED, the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals is VACATED, and the case is REMANDED to the Board for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

PANEL: Chief Judge Wood, Circuit Judges Manion and Hamilton.

OPINION BY: Judge Hamilton

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Gee, who needs training when things like this can get through the system?

 

PWS

07-13-17