Articles Posted in U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals

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Plaintiff filed a complaint against his employer, the U.S. Army, alleging that his direct supervisor harassed and discriminated against him on account of his disability. The Army dismissed the complaint as untimely, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) affirmed. Plaintiff subsequently filed a complaint with the district court, asserting discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation claims. The district court construed these claims as claims brought pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act. The district court found that Plaintiff’s administrative complaint was untimely filed and ordered that Plaintiff’s claimed be dismissed because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and did not qualify for equitable tolling. The First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Plaintiff’s claims, holding that the district court correctly found that Plaintiff’s administrative filing was untimely and did not abuse its discretion when it denied Plaintiff’s request for equitable tolling on the insufficiently supported basis of mental illness. View "Vazquez-Rivera v. Figueroa" on Justia Law

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Petitioner filed an application for adjustment of immigration status. An Immigration Judge (IJ) denied Petitioner’s application on the basis of numerous child abuse/neglect reports, as well as a criminal charge, and ordered Petitioner removed to the Dominican Republic. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denied Petitioner’s appeal, finding that the IJ’s decision was supported in the record and that the IJ had fully considered any offsetting favorable factors. Petitioner appealed to the First Circuit. The First Circuit dismissed the petition for review for lack of jurisdiction because Petitioner did not raise colorable claims premised on constitutional claims or questions of law. View "Jaquez v. Holder" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a native and citizen of Brazil, was charged with being unlawfully present in the United States. Petitioner conceded removability and applied for withholding of removal and other forms of relief, claiming that his family had suffered past persecution and feared future persecution because of threats made by his daughter’s former boyfriend. An immigration judge (IJ) denied relief. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissed Petitioner’s appeal, concluding that Petitioner failed to establish that he was entitled to avoid removal. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review, holding that a lack of nexus between the former boyfriend’s conduct and a protected ground was fatal to Petitioner’s withholding of removal claim. View "Moura v. Holder" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen of China then still in China, married an American citizen. Two years later, Petitioner entered the United States and was granted conditional permanent resident status on the basis of her marriage. Petitioner and her husband had filed a joint petition to remove the conditions on Petitioner’s residency, but the joint petition was denied after the couple’s divorce. Petitioner subsequently sought a waiver of the joint petition requirement, arguing that she had entered into the marriage in good faith. The waiver was denied. Petitioner later conceded removability but sought review of the waiver denial. An immigration judge (IJ) denied Petitioner’s request for relief and granted voluntary departure, finding that Petitioner failed to meet her burden to demonstrate she entered into her marriage in good faith. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) adopted and affirmed the IJ’s decision. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review, holding that the decisions by the BIA and IJ were supported by substantial evidence. View "Lin v. Holder" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a native of Germany, lawfully entered the United States in 1959. In 2004, Petitioner pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography under Connecticut law. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) later concluded that Petitioner was removable for having been convicted of an aggravated felony of child pornography under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(I) and 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii). Petitioner petitioned for review, contending the government did not meet its burden of showing that the state conviction fell under the federal statute because the relevant state law of conviction encompassed other conduct. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review, holding that Petitioner’s admission in the state proceeding to having images of children “having sex” was sufficient to bring him within the federal statute’s definition of an aggravated felony of child pornography. View "Kaufmann v. Holder" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen of El Salvador, entered the United States without being admitted or paroled. The next year, Petitioner was detained after an Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid at her place of employment. Petitioner filed applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture, asserting that she would be a target of a prominent gang’s violence if she were to return to El Salvador because of the gang’s unsuccessful efforts to recruit her son. An immigration judge (IJ) concluded that Petitioner was not entitled to relief. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upheld the IJ’s decision, concluding that Petitioner failed to show that she would be persecuted as a result of her kinship. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the evidence of future persecution based on Petitioner’s membership in her nuclear family was too speculative to show a well-founded fear of future persecution. View "De Abarca v. Holder" on Justia Law

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George Schussel’s former company fraudulently transferred millions of dollars to him in order to avoid paying income taxes. The IRS, which is authorized by statute to collect a person’s tax debt by reclaiming assets the debtor has transferred to someone else, claimed that Schussel was liable as a transferee for the company’s tax deficiencies. The United States Tax Court held Schussel liable for the company’s back taxes of over $4.9 million plus interest of at least $8.7 million. Schussel appealed, disputing the amount he owed the IRS as a result of the fraudulent transfers. The First Circuit reversed in part and affirmed in part, holding (1) the tax court erred in calculating prejudgment interest on the fraudulently transferred funds under the federal tax interest statute rather than assessing the prejudgment interest at the Massachusetts rate; (2) the tax court did not err in accepting as a proper measure of the assets Schussel received the actual amount transferred from the company into Schussel-controlled accounts; and (3) Schussel’s loans to the company to pay Schussel’s litigation expenses did not reduce the net amount transferred to him. View "Schussel v. Werfel" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a native and citizen of Brazil, was charged with removability for being convicted, after his admission into the United States, of two crimes involving moral turpitude. The crimes were committed in 2009 and 2011. During a hearing before an Immigration Judge (IJ) Petitioner’s attorney admitted that Petitioner was removable as charged. Petitioner proceeded to collaterally attack his previous two convictions and succeeded in securing a new trial with respect to his 2011 conviction. Petitioner was subsequently charged with removability on the basis of his 2009 conviction for having been convicted of a single crime involving moral turpitude. Petitioner denied that he was removable and challenged his removability on grounds that his 2009 conviction was not for a crime involving moral turpitude. The IJ found Petitioner removable, and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed, noting that Petitioner’s prior counsel had already conceded that both the 2009 and 2011 convictions were for crimes involving moral turpitude, rendering Petitioner removable. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review, holding that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in holding Petitioner to his attorneys’ concessions of removability and in determining that Petitioner was removable based upon his 2009 conviction. View "Lima v. Holder" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Ali Shah entered the country in 2002. His removal proceedings lasted for well over ten years. He had the benefit of two de novo hearings before two different IJs, and his appeals were considered by the BIA on multiple occasions and petitions for review to the Third Circuit. Shah's motion for a change of venue was granted and this matter was transferred from Philadelphia to Boston in 2009. The focus of this appeal before the First Circuit Court of Appeals centered on the circumstances that followed the change of venue. Petitioner argued on appeal that the BIA did not properly address either of his arguments going to earlier adverse credibility findings. He made a series of arguments in support of reopening that were never presented to the BIA. The BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying Shah's motion to reopen and the First Circuit did not have jurisdiction to consider freshly minted arguments not presented to the agency, so it both dismissed portions of petitioner's petition for lack of jurisdiction and denied the petition for review as to other claims. View "Shah v. Holder" on Justia Law

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Petitioners were brothers and natives and citizens of Guatemala. While they lived in Guatemala, their father was kidnapped and murdered by the family of a business associate. Petitioners had paid a ransom to the kidnappers, but threats against Petitioners continued, and Petitioners fled to the United States. Petitioners subsequently filed an application for asylum and withholding of removal, asserting that they were persecuted on account of their membership in a particular social group, which they defined as their immediate family. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denied the applications, concluding that the harm Petitioners suffered in Guatemala was not on account of their membership in a protected social group and that it was less likely than not that they would be tortured by government authorities upon returning to their home country. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the BIA’s conclusion as to the asylum claim was legally flawed and not supported by the record. Remanded for further proceedings. View "Aldana-Ramos v. Holder" on Justia Law