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Calderon-Rodriguez v. Sessions

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

January 3, 2018

Henri Calderon-Rodriguez, Petitioner,
v.
Jefferson B. Sessions III, Attorney General, Respondent.

          Argued and Submitted December 4, 2017 Pasadena, California

         On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals Agency No. A205-273-112.

          Taiyyeba S. Skomra (argued), Helen A. Sklar, and Amy P. Lenhert, Stone Grzegorek & Gonzalez, LLP, Los Angeles, California, for Petitioner.

          Sarah Byrd (argued), Trial Attorney; Chad A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General; Linda S. Wernery, Assistant Director; Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, D.C.; for Respondent.

          Before A. Wallace Tashima and Marsha S. Berzon, Circuit Judges, and Matthew F. Kennelly, [*] District Judge.

         SUMMARY[**]

         Immigration

         The panel granted Henri Calderon-Rodriguez's petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' decision, concluding that the Board in two related ways abused its discretion in affirming the IJ's competence evaluation and determination.

         First, the Board affirmed the IJ's inaccurate factual findings, failing to recognize that the medical record upon which the IJ and Board heavily relied was nearly a year old, and that it may have no longer reflected Calderon's mental state.

         Second, the Board affirmed the IJ's departure from the standards set out by the Board for competency determinations in Matter of M-A-M-, 25 I. & N. Dec. 474 (BIA 2011). Specifically, the panel concluded that the IJ did not adequately ensure that the Department of Homeland Security complied with its obligation to provide the court with relevant materials in its possession that would inform the court about Calderon's mental competency. In this respect, the panel noted that, importantly, neither the IJ nor the Board recognized that, as DHS was providing ongoing medical care to Calderon as a detainee, it necessarily possessed additional relevant, but not introduced, medical records.

         The panel remanded to the Board with instructions to remand Calderon's case to the IJ for a competence evaluation based on current mental health reviews and medical records, as well as any other relevant evidence.

          OPINION

          BERZON, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         This case concerns an individual's right to a competence evaluation if there are indicia of his or her incompetence present during immigration proceedings. In particular, we consider the Department of Homeland Security's ("DHS") obligation to provide the Immigration Judge ("IJ") with ...


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