NEW SCHOLARSHIP: Hon. Dorothy Harbeck Compares Immigration Bonds With The NJ Bail Reform Act

Harbeck – BondArticle for Dissemination

The article is entitled

“A NEW CALCULUS FOR THE MEASURE OF MERCY: DOES THE NEW JERSEY BAIL REFORM AFFECT THE IMMIGRATION COURT BOND HEARINGS?” It’s published in the Rutgers Law Record.

Judge Harbeck writes:

“[T]he New Jersey Bail Reform will not directly affect how the immigration courts determine immigration bonds. However, while the state criminal system is wholly distinct from the federal immigration system, there are increasing intersections of state law having unintended consequences in immigration proceedings. Under the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution, federal law is the “Supreme Law of the Land,” and states have no authority to regulate immigration enforcement. That said, there are a number of similar rationales between the new state bail reform and the existing bond determination criteria in the immigration court. This article outlines those similarities as well as the differences between the two. It is also important to note from a practical point of view that New Jersey bail reform has no impact on immigration detainers. An immigration detainer is the process by which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may detain a non-citizen without a warrant, but only if ICE has “reason to believe” that the non-citizen “is likely to escape before a warrant can be obtained for his arrest.”

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Read the full article at the link. While Judge Harbeck’s timely scholarship is of particular interest to New Jersey lawyers, it is also helpful for any lawyer seeking to understand the bond setting process in U.S. Immigration Courts. With the Administration’s new enforcement initiatives underway, bond is sure to be a “hot topic.”

PWS

02/26/17

Immigration Is Hot — Asylum Is Hotter — Get The Asylum Litigation “Triple Play” (Free) — 1) My Newly Revised Comprehensive Three-Page Treatise “Practical Tips For Presenting An Asylum Case In Immigration Court:” 2) My Accompanying “Practical Tips” Lecture (UDC Law School Version); 3) Judge Dorothy Harbeck’s “The Commonsense Of Direct and Cross-Examinations In Immigration Court!”

Click Here for my 3-page treatise “Practical Tips for Presenting An Asylum Case In Immigration Court” (Rev. Feb. 2017);  PRACTICAL TIPS FOR PRESENTING AN ASYLUM CASE-02-17-17

Click here for my accompanying lecture, “Practical Tips, UDC Law Version:” Practical Tips for Presenting an Asylum Case in Immigration Court-UDCVersion-02-21-17

Click here for Judge Harbeck’s “The Commonsense of Direct and Cross-Examinations In Immigration Court” (NJ Lawyer @ 30):  NJLFeb2017

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PWS

02/22/17

 

Read The Feb. 2017 New Jersey Lawyer Dedicated To Immigration — Law You Can Use — Articles by the Hon. Dorothy Harbeck (Elizabeth Immigration Court) and Others!!

NJLFeb2017

Check out the Table of Contents:

FEATURES

Raising the Bar for Immigrant Representation in New Jersey 10

by Farrin Anello and Lori A. Nessel

A Step Toward Justice—Universal Representation
and Access to Counsel for New Jersey Immigrants 14

by Amy Gottlieb and Nicole Polley Miller

Naturalization, Jersey Style—
The Process, the Perks, and the Pitfalls 20

by Angie Garasia

Born as Equals and Subject to Lady Liberty 26

by Cesar Martin Estela

A View from the Bench—The Commonsense
of Direct and Cross-Examinations in Immigration Court 30

by Hon. Dorothy Harbeck

Immigration and Mental Health Forensics—
An Unexpected Interdisciplinary Connection 37

by Lauren Anselowitz and Daniel L. Weiss

Lessons Learned from the Trenches—Best Practices
for Immigration-related Federal Investigations 42

by Valentine Brown

Tips to Effectively Recruit, Retain and Terminate
Foreign Workers 46

by Scott R. Malyk and Anthony F. Siliato

Responding to the Child Migrant Crisis 54

by Joanne Gottesman, Anju Gupta, and Randi Mandelbaum

PWS
02/11/17

Experts Share Secrets Of Effective Cross Examination In Immigration Court!

My good friend and former colleague Judge Dorothy Harbeck of the United States Immigration Court, Newark New Jersey and Dr. Alicia Triche have written a terrific short article on cross examination in Immigration Court, “Terms so Plain and Firm as to Command” for the upcoming January/February 2017 Edition of The Federal Lawyer, published by the Federal Bar Association.

As a former trial judge, there were few things more frustrating than spending an afternoon with an attorney who was unable to present his or her case in a concise, effective manner so that it kept my attention (and made it easy for me to follow the story and take notes).  You also have to think about the interpreter; a convoluted compound question in English will be virtually incomprehensible after translation.

So thanks to Judge Harbeck and Dr. Triche for helping to make judicial afternoons shorter, more productive, and, hopefully, more enjoyable for all.

The full article is reproduced below (alas without pictures and some of the fancy formatting) by permission from judge Harbeck.

PWS

01/11/17

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Terms so Plain and Firm as to Command

Assent: Preparing and Conducting Optimal

Direct Examination of the Respondent
by Hon. Dorothy Harbeck and Dr. Alicia Triche
Immigration Law Update
Hon. Dorothy Harbeck is the eastern regional vice president of the National Association of Immigra- tion Judges (NAIJ) and a federal Immigration Judge stationed in Elizabeth, N.J. Dr. Alicia Triche is sole proprietor at Triche Immigration Law, a Memphis, Tenn. based private practice that focuses on appeals, research support for fellow attorneys, and refugee cases. In 2013, Dr. Triche received a D.Phil. in international refugee law from Oxford University.
[T]o place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to com- mand their assent.—Thomas Jefferson, describing the purpose of the Declaration of Independence1

Courtroom drama is a mainline artery in U.S. culture. From Atticus Finch to the ill-fitting glove, legendary trial-tales etch themselves into our blood- streams, solidifying the core value of the rule of law. The centerpiece of these trials is direct examination, during which the skillful attorney is expected to draw the best possible answers from a story-filled witness. Immigration Court is also a part of this landscape. “Individual calendar hearings” go forward with great frequency, and, though often truncated compared to their federal counterparts, they do usually feature that great legal classic—direct examination. Still, despite its legendary importance, nothing in immigration trial practice is more overlooked than direct examination.

It is well known that the federal rules of immigra- tion do not apply in immigration proceedings. Instead, “immigration judges have broad discretion to conduct and control immigration proceedings and to admit
and consider relevant and probative evidence.”2 As a practical matter, however, certain types of evidence should be avoided as much as possible—most notably, leading questions. The basic tools of direct examina- tion are open-ended, non-leading questions that call for a narrative response. The lawyer should effectively blend into the background, allowing the witness to be the featured act. It is the respondent, not the attorney, who must present the coherent and logical statement of facts that is essential to the court’s decision.

In order to make that happen, both the attorney and the witness must be utterly prepared. Both must know the story that is being elicited—including the weak parts of the claim, which should be brought forward and addressed upfront. The attorney should have a list of every required element of the claim and know which facts are material to each. The witness must understand their own story and the trial process,
be ready to work with an interpreter, know how
to listen to the question posed and how to answer (truthfully) no more than the questioned asked, and be ready to remain calm on stand. All of this takes specific practice and thorough preparation. Simply telling the witness that they will be questioned on the stand is not enough. The attorney must ensure that everyone is thoroughly prepared.

When both attorney and witness know and under- stand the story to be told, questions can be formatted properly for direct examination. A leading question
is one that suggests an answer; contains an answer within it; or, in the strictest application of the category, calls for a “yes or no” response. Non-leading questions are open-ended and begin with “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why,” as opposed to “are,” “did,” “will,” “won’t,” and “isn’t.” Here is an example of the same
set of standard opening questions, in both leading and non-leading form:

Non-Leading:

What is your name?

Anna Ahmatova.

What is your birthday?

Sept. 19, 1962.

Where were you born?

Leningrad, USSR. Now, it’s St. Petersburg, Russia, again, just like when my grandmother was born there.

Are you a citizen of any country or countries?

Yes.

What country are you a citizen of?

Russia. Used to be a Soviet citizen.

Are you a citizen of any other country?

USSR.

Leading:

Your name is Anna Ahmatova, right?

Yes.

And were you born on Sept. 19, 1962?
January/February 2017 • THE FEDERAL LAWYER • 13
Yea.

In St. Petersburg, Russia?

No, in Leningrad, USSR.

But you told the ICE officer it was St. Petersburg, right?

Yes.

And Russia is the only country you are a citizen of, right?

Right.

Leading questions cannot be avoided altogether, but they must be avoided whenever possible because they compromise the accuracy of the evidence and the fundamental fairness of proceedings. And, even among non-leading questions, some are better than others. In particular, there is a difference between a “narrative” and a “specific” approach. Consider the following two sets of questions.

The first set:

Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

Yes.

What happened?

I had a DUI.

When was this?

June 15, 2003.

Where was the conviction?

Sevierville, Tenn.

What happened?

I was out drinking at a bar with my friends after work. This was before I met my girlfriend. I got pulled over because I was speeding, and I got a DUI. I went to jail for a few days, but I paid all my fines now.

Here is the second set:

Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

Yes.

How many times?

One.

What month and year did this conviction occur?

June 2003.

In what county and state did this conviction occur?

Sevierville, Tenn.

What sort of penalty, if any, did you receive?

A few days of jail time.

Was any person injured as a result of your drinking and driving that night?

No.

The first is the “narrative” approach, allowing the witness to tell her own story about how the DUI occurred. The second approach asks mostly non-leading, but highly specific questions designed to make sure the essential facts of the claim are elicited with efficien- cy. From a persuasive standpoint, the narrative approach is usually preferred. However, not every witness is able to tell their story effectively in that context. It is up to the attorney to be flexible and make sure that all essential facts are elicited in the manner that best works for the individual.

Direct examination should also be crafted so as to avoid ob- jections. Though there are no set rules of evidence, immigration regulations do specifically require that all testimony be “material and relevant.”3 In addition, proceedings must be fundamentally fair
and comport with due process.4 Objections in immigration court are generally guided by those two standards. Information must not be more prejudicial than probative, and a “relevant” statement has a tendency to make the existence of a fact “more or less probable.”5 Objections to relevancy are common (if not commonly sustained) and counsel should be ready to articulate the materiality of any ques- tion being asked. Other immigration court objections include: calls for an unqualified opinion; compound question; calls for speculation; mischaracterizes earlier testimony; calls for a legal conclusion; and coaching of the witness. If a witness is being harassed, that objection can also be stated for the record, with a specific description of the objectionable conduct.

When direct examination metes out its purpose, the respondent’s story is clear, complete, and, above all, persuasive. Says clinical pro- fessor David Chavkin: “If we think about the stories that have stayed with us over time, about the stories that have been most persuasive, these stories do not focus solely on a single critical event or a single moment in time…. Instead, they ordinarily represent a detailed, chronological narration of interrelated events with a beginning point, a connected point, and a termination point.”6 But, most importantly, to be legally effective, that chronology must be presented in its prop- er legal format: in terms so plain and firm, as to command assent. 

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the official position of the U.S. Department of Justice, the attorney general, or the Executive Office for Immigration Review. The views represent the author’s personal opinions, which were formed after extensive consultation with the membership of the NAIJ. This article is solely for educational purposes, and it does not serve to substitute for any expert, professional and/or legal representation and advice.

Endnotes

1Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, May 8, 1825, available at tjrs.monticello.org/letter/436 (last visited Oct. 10, 2016).
This column is based upon a trials skills presentation by Judge Harbeck, “Probative and Fundamentally Fair: Testimony in U.S. Immigration Court” (Seton Hall Law School and New Jersey State Bar Association) and Judge Harbeck’s article, “The Commonsense of Direct and Cross Examinations in Immigration Court,” New Jersey Lawyer Magazine #296, expected publication Jan. 2017.

2Matter of Interiano-Rosa, 25 I&N Dec. 264, 265 (BIA 2010), citing § 240(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229a(b)(l) (2006); 8 C.F.R. §§ 1003.36, 1240.1(c), 1240.7(a) (2010).
38 C.F.R. § 1240.7(a) (2016).
4See, e.g., Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292, 306 (1993); see also Mathews v. Diaz, 426 U.S. 67, 77 (1976); Kwong Hai Chew v. Colding, 344 U.S. 590, 596-598 (1953).
5FED. R. EVID. 401.8.
6DAVID F. CHAVKIN, CLINICAL LEGAL EDUCATION: A TEXTBOOK FOR LAW SCHOOL CLINICAL PROGRAMS 97 (LexisNexis 2002).
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