Ruth Sea v. Eric Holder, Jr.
OPINION filed STAYING the appeal pending resolution of Petitioner Ruth Sea's motion to reopen, decision for publication pursuant to local rule 206. Boyce F. Martin, Jr. (AUTHORING), Richard Allen Griffin, Circuit Judges; S. Thomas Anderson, U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee.
RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
Pursuant to Sixth Circuit Rule 206
File Name: 11a0286p.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., Attorney General,
On Petition for Review of an Order
of the Board of Immigration Appeals.
No. A099 997 008.
Argued: October 7, 2011
Decided and Filed: November 8, 2011
Before: MARTIN and GRIFFIN, Circuit Judges; ANDERSON, District Judge.*
ARGUED: Guy Sohou, LAW OFFICE OF GUY SOHOU, PLLC, Detroit, Michigan,
for Petitioner. Anthony J. Messuri, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, D.C., for Respondent. ON BRIEF: Guy Sohou, LAW OFFICE OF GUY
SOHOU, PLLC, Detroit, Michigan, for Petitioner. Anthony J. Messuri, UNITED
STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent.
BOYCE F. MARTIN, JR., Circuit Judge. Ruth Sea seeks review of the Board
of Immigration Appeals’s order denying her applications for asylum, withholding of
removal, Convention Against Torture protection, and cancellation of removal. After
The Honorable S. Thomas Anderson, United States District Judge for the Western District of
Tennessee, sitting by designation.
Sea v. Holder
filing her notice of appeal before this Court, Sea’s newly retained counsel discovered
that one of the principal documents relied on by the Immigration Judge in support of his
determination that Sea was not credible had been improperly translated. Therefore, we
STAY the appeal to allow Sea to first bring this issue before the Board of Immigration
A native and citizen of Côte d’Ivoire, Sea was charged with removability as an
alien present in the United States without having been admitted or paroled. Sea
conceded that she was present without having been admitted or paroled and applied for
asylum, withholding of removal, Convention Against Torture protection, and
cancellation of removal.
The Immigration Judge heard Sea’s applications and found her not credible. At
the hearing, Sea presented a translation of a medical record that stated she had been
wounded in her leg during a protest. The Immigration Judge noticed that the record was
dated March 9, 1994, but that the record stated that Sea received treatment through
March 29. The Immigration Judge asked Sea to explain how the author of the record
could “predict the future.” Sea responded that she convalesced nearby at her sister’s
apartment and returned to the medical clinic for additional treatment for some time
The Immigration Judge found that Sea was not credible, relying in large measure
on the inconsistency in the medical record Sea submitted. The Immigration Judge
remarked: “It would be, of course, impossible for the report to foresee 21 days of
treatment on the date that it was issued. Respondent was simply unable to explain away
this discrepancy whatsoever.” The Immigration Judge concluded that the medical
records were fraudulent and “clearly and totally erroneous” because “it would be
impossible for the document to be issued on March 9th, 1994, discussing treatment of
her [for] 21 days when the actual occurrence was on March 9th, 1994.”
After filing a notice of appeal before this Court, Sea’s new counsel discovered
that the medical record had been translated incorrectly. Counsel submitted an affidavit
Sea v. Holder
from the company that translated the record and a corrected translation. The original
translation stated that Sea “received medical treatment for 21 days from 03/09/1994 03/29/1994.” However, the corrected translation explains that the document actually
stated “the patient is on medical rest for Twenty One days from March 9, 1994 to March
Because the translation error appears to have contributed substantially and
directly to the Immigration Judge’s adverse credibility determination, we stay the appeal
so that Sea can present the translation error in the first instance to the Board of
Immigration Appeals. Motions to reopen generally must “be filed within 90 days of the
date of entry of a final administrative order of removal.” 8 U.S.C. § 1229a(c)(7)(C)(i).
However, as this Court explained in Barry v. Mukasey, 524 F.3d 721, 723 (6th Cir. 2008)
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted), this time limit is subject to four
(1) where the [Board] reopens the proceedings sua
sponte; (2) where the parties agree to reopen the
proceedings; (3) changed circumstances in the country of
nationality of which there is new, material evidence that
could not have been discovered or presented at the time
of the original proceeding; and (4) certain in absentia
Therefore, because the translation error appears to have contributed substantially
to the Board’s decision to deny relief, we STAY the appeal pending resolution of Sea’s
motion to reopen.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?