Justia U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law
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The First Circuit granted in part and denied in part Petitioner's petition for review of the decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) determining that Petitioner's previous conviction constituted a "particularly serious crime" making him ineligible for withholding of removal and denying his application for deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the BIA erred in part.The lower agencies found that Petitioner's conviction for possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 94C, 32A(a) was a particularly serious crime rendering him ineligible for withholding of removal and denied his application for deferral of removal under the CAT. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review insofar as he sought CAT relief but granted the petition in part because the immigration judge informed Petitioner that he was eligible for potential relief only under the CAT and treated Petitioner's conviction for drug trafficking as if it were a per se bar to withholding of removal. The First Circuit remanded the case to the BIA with instructions to give Petitioner a new hearing to determine whether he was entitled to withholding of removal. View "De Carvalho v. Garland" on Justia Law

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In this dispute between the Maine lobster industry and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Agency) over a rule barring frequently employed methods of lobstering the First Circuit granted the Agency's motion for a stay pending appeal of the district court's issuance a permanent injunction, holding that the Agency was entitled to a stay.In 2021, the Agency issued a rule barring, from October to January each year, the most frequently employed methods of lobstering in an approximately 1,000-square-mile area of the Atlantic Ocean in order to reduce the risk that a right whale would become entangled in the ropes connecting lobster traps to buoys. Plaintiffs brought this action seeking to postpone enforcement of the new rule until the district court could finally decide whether the new rule was lawful. The district court granted Plaintiffs' preliminary request. The Agency appealed and asked the First Circuit to issue a stay of the district court order. The First Circuit granted the government's motion, holding the district court misapprended the record and erred in rejecting the Agency's arguments. View "District 4 Lodge of the International Ass'n v. Raimondo" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit dismissed one of the claims in Petitioner's petition for review of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing Petitioner's challenges to the denial of his asylum and withholding of removal claims and denied the others, holding that Petitioner was not entitled to relief.An immigration judge denied Petitioner's applications for asylum, withholding of removal, cancellation of removal, protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and voluntary departure. The BIA dismissed Petitioner's appeal. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) this Court lacked jurisdiction to consider Petitioner's first claim on appeal because Petitioner failed to exhaust his administrative remedies; (2) the BIA's decision on Petitioner's political opinion claim was supported by substantial evidence; and (3) Petitioner's withholding of removal claim failed because his asylum claim failed. View "Gomes v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied the petition for judicial review sought by Petitioner in this case and upheld the order of removal against him, holding that the Agency's denial of asylum and other relief was supported by substantial evidence in the record.Petitioner conceded removability and cross-appleid for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. An immigration judge (IJ) denied Petitioner's application for relief and ordered him removed to Rwanda. The Board of Immigration Appeals upheld the IJ's decision, ruling that the IJ's adverse credibility determination was not clearly erroneous. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the denial of Petitioner's claim for asylum was supported by substantial evidence, ending this Court's inquiry. View "Mashilingi v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The Retirement System administers a pension plan for more than 12,000 retired Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority (PREPA) employees. Under the System's Bylaws, three trustees are selected by PREPA employees, three trustees are selected by PREPA's Board of Directors, one trustee is elected by retired PREPA employees, and one serves dually as a trustee and as PREPA’s Executive Director.The Fiscal Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) was created by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), 48 U.S.C. 2161, and designated PREPA as a covered entity. A 2018 Executive Order treated the Retirement System as a covered entity subject to FOMB’s oversight. The Order asserted that the System’s Trustees had "not complied with the annual obligation imposed by [PREPA's] Bylaws," and appointed PREPA's Board of Directors as trustee for the Retirement System for two purposes: finalizing the System's 2017 actuarial reports and financial statements and delivering information to the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority related to PREPA's 2019 budget. The Order would no longer be effective upon the System's issuance of the actuarial reports, FOMB's certification of a revised PREPA fiscal plan, and FOMB's certification of PREPA's 2019 budget.After a suit was filed, challenging that Order, a 2019 Executive Order formally withdrew the 2018 Order. The First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the suit. The request for declaratory relief did not present a controversy of sufficient reality or immediacy to establish subject matter jurisdiction under the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. 2201. View "Rivera-Rivera v. Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the judgment of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing Appellant's appeal from a decision of an immigration judge (IJ) ordering him removed from the United States, holding that the BIA failed to address Appellant's request to apply equitable tolling in assessing whether her appeal was timely.Appellant, a native and citizen of Jamaica, applied for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. The IJ denied Appellant's requests for relief and ordered her removed to Jamaica. In the midst of the newly-announced health emergency occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, Appellant missed the deadline to appeal the IJ's removal order. The BIA summarily dismissed Appellant's appeal as untimely. The First Circuit vacated the BIA's order of dismissal, holding that the BIA erred by failing to consider Appellant's request for equitable tolling in deciding whether her appeal was timely. View "James v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that affirmed the denial of Appellant's application for withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the BIA's affirmance of the immigration judge's (IJ) finding of adverse credibility did not hold up.After a hearing, the IJ issued an oral decision denying Appellant's claims, finding that Appellant was not a credible witness in terms of crucial aspects of his claim and his lack of credibility was ultimately fatal to his argument that he had suffered past persecution. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit vacated the BIA's order, holding that the BIA's affirmance of the IJ's adverse credibility finding could not be sustained, and therefore, the BIA's rulings could also not be sustained. View "Lopez Troche v. Garland" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court granting Appellee's petition for a writ of habeas corpus and ordering the immigration judge (IJ) to conduct a new bond hearing, holding that the district court did not err in concluding that Appellee was entitled to a new hearing.Appellee was detained under 8 U.S.C. 1226(a) and was denied bond at a hearing before an IJ, who placed the burden on Appellee to prove he was neither a danger to the community nor a flight risk. Appellee subsequently petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that his constitutional due process right required the government - not him - to bear the burden of proof at his bond hearing. The district court agreed and ordered the IJ to conduct a new bond hearing at which the government would bear the burden of proof. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Appellee was entitled to a new hearing before an IJ at which the government will bear the burden of proving either dangerousness or a flight risk in order to continue detaining Appellee. View "Doe v. Tompkins" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the order of the district court granting Petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus and ordering the immigration judge (IJ) to conduct a second bond hearing, holding that remand was required.Petitioner, who entered the United States without being admitted or paroled, was arrested and detained pending a determination of her removability. Petitioner was subsequently denied bond at a hearing in which the IJ placed the burden on Petitioner to prove that she was neither a danger to the community nor a flight risk. The district court ordered the IJ to conduct a second bond hearing at which the government bore the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that Petitioner was either a danger or a flight risk. After a second hearing, the IJ released Petitioner on bond. The First Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the government need not prove a detainee's flight risk by clear and convincing evidence; and (2) the judgment is otherwise affirmed. View "Hernandez-Lara v. Lyons" on Justia Law

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In this action brought by a group of twenty-five acute-care hospitals in Puerto Rico that received disproportionate share hospital payments (DHS payments) from the government, the First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court denying relief on Plaintiffs' allegations that the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services improperly calculated their DSH payments, holding that the district court did not err.When Congress included hospitals in Puerto Rico in providing coverage for the DSH reimbursement program, the DSH payments were often substantially less than the DSH payments provided to similarly-situated hospitals in the states. This disparity was the result of the application to hospitals in Puerto Rico of the existing statutory formula used to calculate DSH payments to hospitals in the states. Plaintiffs brought this action challenging the Secretary's interpretation and application of the statutory formula, arguing that it was inconsistent with the Medicare Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. The district court denied relief. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the Secretary did not err in implementing the statute and that Plaintiffs failed to show that they were the victims of any unconstitutional discrimination by the Secretary. View "Asociacion Hospital del Maestro, Inc. v. Becerra" on Justia Law