(CN) – The 9th Circuit ordered a new asylum hearing for a Filipino immigrant after the immigration judge “inexplicably” delegated his case to a government prosecutor, creating a conflict of interest.
The court cited previous rulings that emphasized the need for immigration judges to “scrupulously and conscientiously” explore the relevant facts in order to help self-representing immigrants navigate the U.S. legal system.
But the immigration judge dropped the ball in the case of Edgar Lacsina Panglinan, who lost his petition for asylum and his bid to reopen the case, according to the San Francisco-based appeals court.
“Here, the immigration judge, who went to some length to ensure the fairness of the preliminary proceedings, inexplicably delegated his duties to develop this unrepresented petitioner’s case to the attorney for the government,” the court wrote.
“The result was to impose an unfair conflict of interest on the government and prejudicially to deprive the petitioner of development of the record.”
The court granted Panglinan’s petition to reopen the case and remanded for a new hearing.