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Quote of the Day - Why do writers write? Because it isn't there. - Thomas Berger
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Try Writing Your Way Out Of This Paper Bag: Judicial Opinions At Their Worst

Try, if you want. You may be able to decipher the case of de Leon v. Gonzales. It doesn't matter what kind of law you practice.

It doesn't even matter if you don't practice law.

Here's an excerpt: "I find the respondent is credible, but I don't find that his story relates to or meets the burden to establish persecution, per se, under that ground. The credibility issue brings many doubts have arisen in that as to the actual happenings and that what will happen to him if he is to be returned."

Huh?

The Ninth Circuit couldn't figure it out either. They reversed Immigration Judge Nathan Gordon's decision. The fact that they named him is significant; it's almost never done. The Ninth Circuit used words like "incomprehensible" and "extreme in its lack of a coherent explanation."

The immigration judge's opinion is attached to the Ninth Circuit's opinion, if you want to wade through that quagmire. Why would this problem occur? The Ninth Circuit offers these sobering facts:

"In fiscal year 2003, the most recent year for which data is available, the Executive Office for Immigration Review adjudicated almost 300,000 cases. ... More than 65,000 of those cases involved asylum claims. ... The caseload pressures are especially heavy in Los Angeles, where the IJ in this case sat. The Los Angeles Immigration Court heard more than 28,000 cases, ..., more than 12,000 of which involved asylum claims."

That said, however, the appellate court wasn't buying the IJ's failure to meet the standards of opinion-writing. They said, "it is impossible for us to decipher what legal and factual reasons support the IJ's decision..."

Ouch.

And my students in law school wonder why I harp on them in their Legal Writing classes.

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Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, March 15, 2005 at 00:58 Comments Closed (3) |
 
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