‘Cut & Paste’ Shoots Down Shooting Victim’s Case

Note to lawyers: you probably should prepare new briefs for each case you do.

On Tuesday, a split three-judge Ninth Circuit panel granted Jacqueline Canales-Vargas’ request to have an immigration court review its denial of her asylum claim, even though the Peruvian refugee — who said she was a threatened after speaking out against Shining Path rebels — might have suffered from some less-than-original lawyering.

In a footnote to his majority opinion, Judge Harry Pregerson wrote that “Canales-Vargas also claims in her opening brief that she was shot four times by members of the Shining Path. As both the government and our dissenting colleague properly note, these facts are not in the record and appear to be a vestige from a different immigration case that Canales-Vargas’ attorney cut-and-pasted into the brief in this case. Of course, we do not hold the sloppiness of Canales-Vargas’ attorney against Canales-Vargas herself.?

Lucky her, given that the decision was close: Judge Alex Kozinski, in dissent, wrote that the opinion unfairly eroded the immigration judge’s authority. “We have never before held that anonymous death threats, without a scintilla of corroborating harassment, compel a finding that an asylum seeker’s fear of persecution is well-founded, and I cannot join the majority in interfering, yet again, with the ability of Immigration Judges to do their jobs,? he wrote.

Justin Scheck


One Response to “‘Cut & Paste’ Shoots Down Shooting Victim’s Case”

  1. Jacqueline Canales Vargas Says:

    Hello Mr. Scheck,
    My name is Jacqueline Canales Vargas, I am the person your talking about in this article. I need some advise regarding what I can do about it, and what are my rights. Thank you in advance for your help.
    Jacqueline Canales Vargas

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