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CA3 on Ineffective Assistance: Saint Ford II

October 12, 2022 (1 min read)

Saint Ford v. Atty. Gen.

"The need for effective assistance of counsel applies in immigration law just as it does in criminal law. Aliens, many of whom do not speak English and some of whom are detained before their immigration hearings, can be particularly susceptible to the consequences of ineffective lawyers. Petitioner Arckange Saint Ford paid a lawyer to represent him in removal proceedings, but Saint Ford’s requests for relief from deportation were denied after the lawyer failed to present important and easily available evidence going to the heart of Saint Ford’s claims. Saint Ford retained new counsel, and his new lawyer asked the Board of Immigration Appeals to reopen his case because of his former attorney’s ineffective assistance. The Board declined to do so. Because Saint Ford presents a meritorious ineffective-assistance claim, we will vacate the Board’s decision and remand. ... AMBRO, Circuit Judge, concurring Arckange Saint Ford will get a second shot at seeking withholding of removal—that’s what matters. The majority is remanding because of his former counsel’s deficient performance at Saint Ford’s removal hearing. I agree with that and concur in full. But former counsel was not the only one who made significant missteps at the hearing. The Immigration Judge did as well. I therefore would have granted Saint Ford’s initial petition for review and remanded on that basis. I write separately to explain these errors in the hope that similar ones will not be made at Saint Ford’s new hearing. [Emphasis added.]"

"The opinion and judgment filed on May 16, 2022 [34 F.4th 201 (3d Cir. 2022)] are hereby vacated. The Clerk is directed to file the amended opinion and re-enter the judgment contemporaneously with this order." - Saint Ford v. Atty. Gen.

[Hats off again to Robert Andrew Painter!]