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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ind. Decisions - "The 49-page 7th Circuit brief contained only 5 original sentences"

This was a brief in a Dec. 11th immigration appeal, Chen v. Holder, decided by Judge Posner. (h/t to Louisiana Civil Appeals.) Some quotes from Posner's opinion:

The Board’s opinion, and to a lesser extent that of the immigration judge, are flawed. But the inadequacy of the brief that her lawyer has filed in this court precludes our vacating the denial of asylum. The brief consists almost entirely of verbatim quotations either from the administrative record or from previous decisions of this court. The statement of facts consists almost entirely of quotations from the record, and the summary of argument consists entirely (not “almost entirely”) of an extended quotation from one of our previous decisions. The argument section of the brief consists of nothing but quotations from the record and from previous decisions, until the last few pages, which deal with the plaintiff’s alternative (and clearly meritless) claim for relief— withholding of removal. Most of the material in that section as well is quoted rather than original material, but there is a bit of interstitial material that appears to be original— though none elsewhere in the brief, excluding the table of contents and other purely formal matter. All in all, in a 49‐ page brief, if one excludes purely formal matter, there are only five original sentences. A brief so composed is not helpful to either the reviewing court or the client.

An inadequate brief often signals a desperately weak case. This is not a desperately weak case, but we cannot write a party’s brief, pronounce ourselves convinced by it, and so rule in the party’s favor. That’s not how an adversarial system of adjudication works. * * *

The petition to review the Board’s denial of asylum is DENIED.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 22, 2013 11:25 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions