Mamedov v. Ashcroft, No. 03-1393.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtPosner
Citation387 F.3d 918
Docket NumberNo. 03-1394.,No. 03-1393.,No. 03-1395.
Decision Date01 November 2004
PartiesAhmed MAMEDOV, Oqulsheker Mamedov, and Jannet Mamedov, Petitioners, v. John ASHCROFT, Attorney General of the United States, Respondent.

Page 918

387 F.3d 918
Ahmed MAMEDOV, Oqulsheker Mamedov, and Jannet Mamedov, Petitioners,
v.
John ASHCROFT, Attorney General of the United States, Respondent.
No. 03-1393.
No. 03-1394.
No. 03-1395.
United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.
Argued October 5, 2004.
Decided November 1, 2004.

Petition for review from Board of Immigration Appeals'.

Harold D. Block (argued), Milwaukee, WI, for Petitioner.

George P. Katsivalis, Department Of Homeland Security, Office of the District Counsel, Chicago, IL, Norah Ascoli

Page 919

Schwarz (argued), Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Respondent.

Before POSNER, KANNE, and WOOD, Circuit Judges.

POSNER, Circuit Judge.


The Mamedov family was ordered removed after its claim for asylum was rejected. The family comes from Turkmenistan, one of the formerly Soviet republics in central Asia, like the better known Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The overwhelming majority of its people are Turkmens of the Muslim faith. Jews are distinctly unpopular, and only about a thousand remain. Ahmed Mamedov's father was a Turkmen, presumably Muslim although this is not certain, but Mamedov's mother was Jewish and he was raised as a Jew. He claims that whenever an employer or coworker discovered that he was a Jew, he was fired, and likewise his wife because she is a Muslim married to a Jew and many Muslims disapprove strongly of mixed marriages. Cf. Guchshenkov v. Ashcroft, 366 F.3d 554, 556 (7th Cir.2004); Kuhai v. INS, 199 F.3d 909, 910 (7th Cir.1999). He also claims to have been beaten by police officers because of his being Jewish. At their asylum hearing the Mamedovs submitted affidavits from seven refugees from Turkmenistan who are in mixed marriages and who have been granted asylum in the U.S. The affidavits describe firings and beatings. One of the seven, a former schoolmate of Mamedov named Feriants, stated that he was "personally familiar with the fact that Ahmed is Jewish and that this created a very substantial problem for him in Turkmenistan." The record contains a corroborating affidavit from a political science professor.

As in a number of recent cases, the opinion by the immigration judge, whose denial of asylum the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed without issuing its own opinion, is unreasoned. See, e.g., Yi-Tu Lian v. Ashcroft, 379 F.3d 457, 459 (7th Cir.2004); Guchshenkov v. Ashcroft, supra, 366 F.3d at 559; Niam v. Ashcroft, 354 F.3d 652, 654 (7th Cir.2004). But here we note a further problem that we had not heretofore been aware of. Immigration judges characteristically issue oral rather than written opinions—that we knew and while it is not an ideal practice, it is common enough even among federal district judges and we do not wish to suggest that it is irregular. The wrinkle is that no copy, either paper or electronic, of the opinion is given to either the parties or the immigration judge until and unless the alien files a notice of appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals. The copy of the opinion that appears in the appendix to the petitioner's brief in this court contains handwritten corrections, evidently by the judge. The copy is not dated. The notice of appeal had to be and was filed within 30 days of the rendition of the immigration judge's oral opinion and order, but we do not know how long after that the judge edited the opinion. Most of his changes are purely technical, but where the transcribed opinion states that "it is unclear that the attack [by the police on Mamedov] was based solely on the fact that the respondent's mother possessed a Jewish nationality," the immigration judge wrote in, after "solely," "or in [sic] even partially."

That was a substantive change, and there is no indication that the immigration judge was merely recalling a passage from his oral opinion that had somehow not been transcribed. Rewriting an already issued opinion when the author later discovers that there is going to be an appeal invites criticism similar to that leveled against...

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3 practice notes
  • Hor v. Gonzales, No. 04-1964.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 29, 2005
    ...summarized above, on which the judge based his assessment of Hor's credibility. Such a ruling cannot stand. Mamedov v. Ashcroft, 387 F.3d 918, 919 (7th Cir.2004); Guchshenkov v. Ashcroft, 366 F.3d 554, 558 (7th Cir.2004); Cordero-Trejo v. INS, 40 F.3d 482, 485 (1st Cir.1994); Jara-Navarrete......
  • United States v. Boatman, Case No. 09-CR-30084-SMY
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Southern District of Illinois
    • October 12, 2016
    ...Inc., 825 F.2d 1180, 1188 (7th Cir. 1987); see, e.g., Shou Wei Jin v. Holder, 572 F.3d 392, 397 (7th Cir. 2009); Mamedov v. Ashcroft, 387 F.3d 918, 919 (7th Cir. 2004). "A court may issue a nunc pro tunc order to correct the record so that it reflects what was actually done but never r......
  • Fletcher v. Butler, No. 08-0266-DRH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Southern District of Illinois
    • October 8, 2014
    ...Inc., 825 F.2d 1180 (7th Cir. 1987); see, e.g., Shou Wei Jin v. Holder, 572 F.3d 392, 397 (7th Cir.2009); Mamedov v. Ashcroft, 387 F.3d 918, 919 (7th Cir. 2004). "A court may issue a nunc pro tunc order to correct the record so that it reflects what was actually done but never recorded......
3 cases
  • Hor v. Gonzales, No. 04-1964.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 29, 2005
    ...summarized above, on which the judge based his assessment of Hor's credibility. Such a ruling cannot stand. Mamedov v. Ashcroft, 387 F.3d 918, 919 (7th Cir.2004); Guchshenkov v. Ashcroft, 366 F.3d 554, 558 (7th Cir.2004); Cordero-Trejo v. INS, 40 F.3d 482, 485 (1st Cir.1994); Jara-Navarrete......
  • United States v. Boatman, Case No. 09-CR-30084-SMY
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Southern District of Illinois
    • October 12, 2016
    ...Inc., 825 F.2d 1180, 1188 (7th Cir. 1987); see, e.g., Shou Wei Jin v. Holder, 572 F.3d 392, 397 (7th Cir. 2009); Mamedov v. Ashcroft, 387 F.3d 918, 919 (7th Cir. 2004). "A court may issue a nunc pro tunc order to correct the record so that it reflects what was actually done but never r......
  • Fletcher v. Butler, No. 08-0266-DRH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Southern District of Illinois
    • October 8, 2014
    ...Inc., 825 F.2d 1180 (7th Cir. 1987); see, e.g., Shou Wei Jin v. Holder, 572 F.3d 392, 397 (7th Cir.2009); Mamedov v. Ashcroft, 387 F.3d 918, 919 (7th Cir. 2004). "A court may issue a nunc pro tunc order to correct the record so that it reflects what was actually done but never recorded......

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