Sunday, April 30, 2006

Shah: Judge Ferlise Overturned For Assuming A Dead Man Was Alive

Shah v. Gonzales
Nos. 04-3607 and 05-1122
April 28, 2006

This is the second opinion released on the same day in which the Third Circuit overturns and criticizes Judge Donald Ferlise. In this case, a respondent seeking asylum based in large part his claim how his father was murdered. The government conceded that his dad was killed. In what the Third Circuit called "his apparent zeal to deny relief," Judge Ferlise came to the remarkable conclusion that the dead father was alive.

According to the Third Circuit, Judge Ferlise's conclusion that the dad was alive contradicted the undisputed evidence of the dad's death along with corroborating evidence that Judge Ferlise excluded from the record. Even if an immigration judge's findings of fact are given deference, they will be overturned if they are not supported by evidence that a reasonable mind would find adequate. It cannot be upheld if it is not based on a specific, cogent reason. The Third Circuit systematically goes through all the evidence proving the father's death and criticizing how Judge Ferlise latched onto an innocent misstatement and blew it up into a purported inconsistency that suggested the dead man was alive.


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