Yang v. Lynch

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 02-26-2016
  • Case #: 12-71773
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Chhabria for the Court; Circuit Judges Schroeder and Friedland; Dissent by Schroeder
  • Full Text Opinion

The Board of Immigration Appeals may not make credibility determinations based on the falsus maxim.

Shouchen Yang is a citizen and native of the People’s Republic of China. Yang overstayed in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa. During removal proceedings, the immigration judge found that Yang’s testimony was not credible, and denied Yang’s applications for relief. The Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) upheld the immigration judge’s credibility determination and consequently dismissed Yang’s appeal. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit determined whether the BIA may use the maxim falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus – “false in one thing, false in everything” – to find that a witness who testified falsely in one respect at a removal hearing is not credible in other respects. An immigration judge may apply the falsus maxim in order to determine that a witness who testified falsely about one thing is subsequently not credible about other things. Some circuits have held that the BIA may apply the falsus maxim by relying on an immigration judge’s prior credibility determination in order to independently determine that evidence to reopen is not credible. However, the panel determined that the BIA, as opposed to an immigration judge, is not a fact finder, and thus the BIA cannot determine the kind of credibility that is inherent in a decision in which falsus maxim is applicable. GRANTED and REMANDED.

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