Serrano-Alberto v. AG — immigration — reversal — Krause
Appellate judging is a cerebral job. But good judges retain the capacity to be outraged by outrageous things. Today, the Third Circuit issued an opinion brimming with outrage, condemning the shabby way an immigration judge treated a man seeking asylum and remanding to give him a new chance to present his case.
The man seeking asylum was a famous El Salvadoran soccer player who was extorted for money by the MS13 gang. When he stopped paying, they began trying in earnest to kill him and his family. Eventually he fled to the U.S., was caught, sought asylum pro se, and got a hearing before longtime immigration judge Mirlande Tadal.
Today’s opinion recounted the asylum hearing in devastating detail, identifying the IJ by name and ultimately concluding that her conduct involved “a hostile and demeaning tone, a focus on issues irrelevant to the merits, brow beating, and continual interruptions.” Further: “the pervasiveness and egregiousness of the … problematic conduct here … evinced bias and created an intolerable atmosphere of intimidation.” On this record, the court held that the IJ’s conduct deprived the petitioner of his due process right to a fair hearing before an impartial arbiter.
Joining Krause were Vanaskie and Nygaard. Arguing counsel were Zachary Nightingale of California for the petitioner and Lindsay Murphy for the government.