Tuesday, January 15, 2008

When is a compliment an insult?

Have you ever received a compliment that made you feel like dirt?

Yesterday, a judge told our legal team, "This case was very well litigated. You can be proud of the job you've done, and your client was well represented."

He then denied our client's asylum claim, which, if she is deported (we're appealing, of course), may very well be a death sentence. A brutal, agonizing death sentence.

Like strawberry cheesecake, the words were sweet when they entered by body and tasted like... well, you know... when digested.

I never want to be a judge. I don't think I'd smile, except maybe a nervous smile from time to time.

I was unconsolable yesterday when I got home. I highly recommend the institution of marriage, for the support it provides, among its many benifits. As Mari's head rested on my chest, her breathing soft and even, I was still punching away on my Blackberry, drafting notes to myself of arguments I might raise on appeal.

Appeals are tough, because the court does not look at the whole record again, rather it just looks to see if there is evidence to support the lower court's ruling.

If you want the truth, don't look to the courts. Seriously. They are not designed to arrive at the truth. It's like two men have a disagreement. They decide, "Let's fight, and whomever wins is right." They fight, one wins, he's right. Courts are set up similarly. You have two sides. One side presents a story, and the other side attacks the story. The opponent is not interested in the truth, because that would involve discussion, corroboration, gathering as much evidence as possible. Instead, each side tries to limit evidence that can be presented in court by their opponent, and include as much evidence as they can for their side.


  1. If the most important work is done in the home, then asylum work must be close behind in importance. What an amazing post- now I'm inconsolable. Keep us posted.

  2. ACE, I'm so sad for your client. What a hard, hard day. What a blessing to have Mari to come home to, no doubt...she's an angel.
    Good luck with the appeal!

  3. The appeals process can take a very long time - from several months to over a year. On the bright side, our client doesn't have to fear deportation any time soon.

  4. That sucks :(

    So I wonder, in this instance, who was AGAINST the asylum claim and why?

    You've given me a new definition of justice for our country though. Gone is my view of a fat woman with scales and a blindfold, and if you're lucky a bare breast.

  5. When the INS was incorporated in the Department of Homeland Security, the DHS took over asylum cases. The DHS attorneys basically open the file the day before the hearing, and look for any weak spots in the case.

  6. I just finished John Grisham's "The Innocent Man," a true story rather than his usual fiction. It is a great read, but it leaves the same sort of sick feeling in the pit of the stomache as your case experience.

    And people wonder why I would stick to estate planning . . .