52 F.3d 444 (2nd Cir. 1995), 94-4179, Hidalgo-Disla v. I.N.S.

Docket Nº:Docket 94-4179.
Citation:52 F.3d 444
Party Name:Pedro Pablo HIDALGO-DISLA, Petitioner, v. IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE, Respondent.
Case Date:April 12, 1995
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Page 444

52 F.3d 444 (2nd Cir. 1995)

Pedro Pablo HIDALGO-DISLA, Petitioner,

v.

IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE, Respondent.

Docket 94-4179.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

April 12, 1995

Submitted Jan. 4, 1995.

Pedro P. Hidalgo-Disla, Oakdale, LA, pro se.

Janet Reno, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Div., Appellate Staff, Washington, DC, William Slattery, Immigration & Naturalization Service, Office of District Director, Diogenes P. Kekatos, U.S. Attorney's Office, Civil Division, Appellate Unit S.D.N.Y., New York City, for I.N.S.

Before: WINTER, MAHONEY and JACOBS, Circuit Judges.

JACOBS, Circuit Judge:

This motion prompts us to consider the circumstances under which an appeal may be dismissed as frivolous without benefit of full briefing and argument.

Petitioner Pedro Pablo Hidalgo-Disla, a 54-year-old native and citizen of the Dominican Republic, moves pro se for leave to proceed in forma pauperis on his petition before this Court. The petition seeks review of the September 12, 1994 order of the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA"), which affirms the decision of the Immigration Judge ("IJ") finding Hidalgo-Disla deportable. The IJ denied him discretionary relief under section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, codified at 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1182(c) ("section 212(c)"), and ordered him deported to the Dominican Republic.

We find no reason to question petitioner's claim of poverty and therefore grant in forma pauperis status. However, because his appeal lacks any legal merit, we dismiss it as

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frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915(d). See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989).

BACKGROUND

Hidalgo-Disla entered the United States as a visitor on June 22, 1981. After his marriage to an American citizen, his status was adjusted to that of lawful permanent resident on November 15, 1983. On June 1, 1990, he was convicted of possession with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. Sec. 841(a)(1). The United States District Court for the District of Kansas sentenced him to a prison term of 63 months. Based on this conviction, the INS sought to classify the petitioner as deportable as an alien convicted of an aggravated felony, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1251(a)(2)(A)(iii).

Hidalgo-Disla was brought before Immigration Judge R.K. McHugh in Oakdale, Louisiana on April 20, 1994. The IJ described the nature of the deportation proceeding, advised Hidalgo-Disla of the government's intention to return him to the Dominican Republic, and then advised him of his various rights during the immigration proceeding, including his right to appear by counsel:

First of all, you have the right to have an attorney represent you at no expense to the Government. Previously, you should have received--well, at this time, we'll give you a copy of the legal aid list which is a list of attorneys in the area that may be willing to assist you for little or no fee.

Administrative Record at 44. 1 The IJ then asked Hidalgo-Disla if he wished to proceed without a representative:

Now, this is your first time in proceedings, and if you desire more time to prepare your case or look for an attorney, you may have more time or you may have your hearing today.

Id. Hidalgo-Disla responded that he wished more time; the hearing was accordingly adjourned.

Hidalgo-Disla arrived at his second scheduled hearing on May 2, 1994, again without representation. The following exchange took place between the IJ and Hidalgo-Disla:

Q. Mr. Hidalgo, the last time we were here, you were going to look for an attorney. Have you been successful in this attempt?

A. I tried to get in touch with my family, but I haven't gotten in touch with them yet. If I can get another appointment.

Q. Okay. What I'm going to do is, I'm going to put your case off until the 16th of May, 1994.

A. Okay.

Q. And that will be 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Okay. Now, you should understand that this will probably be the last time we can continue this case. You should be ready to proceed with or without an attorney that day. Okay?

A. Okay.

Id. at 46-47 (emphasis added).

Hidalgo-Disla appeared before the IJ for the third time on May 16, 1994:

Q. Okay. Mr. Hidalgo, the last two times we were here, you were going to look for an attorney. Have you been successful, sir?

A. I'm not find one. I've not been able to get in touch with my family.

Q. Okay. Let me ask you, sir, to raise your right hand. Do you swear the testimony you are about to give today shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?

A. Yes.

Id. at 49. Thus, before the INS proceeding against Hidalgo-Disla was permitted to go forward, he was repeatedly reminded of his

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right to have representation and was given opportunities to retain counsel.

At the May 16 hearing Hidalgo-Disla conceded before the IJ that he was a citizen of the Dominican Republic and had been convicted of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The IJ then found him to be deportable. Id. at 50. The IJ adjourned the proceeding to permit Hidalgo-Disla to prepare a request for Sec. 212(c) discretionary waiver of deportation.

The Sec. 212(c) waiver hearing was held on June 16, 1994, after which the IJ issued an oral opinion. The IJ noted that Hidalgo-Disla has four children residing in the United States, ranging in age from 27 to 8. Id. at 33-34. The court also noted that Hidalgo-Disla gave authorities an alias when he was arrested on the drug possession charge, and was "untruthful" at his hearing. Id. at 35. Concluding that Hidalgo-Disla's "negatives far outweigh the positives" and that "although there is ... hardship, it is not one that...

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