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A Closer Look at Immigration Judge V. Stuart Couch’s Misconduct Against Domestic Violence Victims

Below are excerpts from 9 decisions where IJ Couch was remanded by the BIA for incorrectly denying asylum to victims of domestic violence.  Sections in bold represent carbon copy language found in other cases where he denied asylum to domestic violence victims.

Also, IJ Couch inadvertently undermined his own basis for denying women asylum when he stated, in several decisions, that the ex-partners’ abuse “was related to his violent and jealous nature.” (emphasis added)

One definition of jealousy: 

“jealousy is the feeling of anger or bitterness that someone has when they think that another person is trying to take a lover or friend, or a possession, away from them.”

Thus, if the ex-partner’s abuse was motivated by anger that his female partner, who he perceived as his own property, was trying to escape from him, then the evidence in the case does constitute evidence of persecution based on a statutorily protected ground–specifically, women unable to escape a domestic relationship.

 

From February 5, 2015 decision:

The respondent testified that when was drunk, he would physically and verbally abuse her; when he was sober, he would sexually abuse her. Thus, X’s abuse appears related to his own criminal tendencies, rather than conclusive evidence he targeted the respondent on account of her proposed particular social group. The evidence in this case is more consistent with acts of general violence and therefore does not constitute evidence of persecution based on a statutorily protected ground.

 

From April 21, 2015 decision:

Thus,  X’s abuse appears related to his own criminal tendencies and substance abuse, rather than conclusive evidence he targeted the respondent on account of her proposed particular social group. The respondent also testified she was raped by X’s friend and fellow gang member who assaulted her for the purpose of intimidation at his direction. She believes that wanted to exact retribution against her for leaving him and beginning a new relationship with ” ” Again, the respondent declined to file a police report after this incident, or to seek medical treatment. Id.

While tragic, the evidence in this case is more consistent with acts of general violence and therefore does not constitute evidence of persecution based on a statutorily protected ground.

 

From May 7, 2015 decision:

Thus, X’s abuse appears related to his own criminal tendencies and substance abuse, rather than conclusive evidence he targeted the respondent on account of her proposed particular social group. The evidence in this case is more consistent with acts of general violence and therefore does not constitute evidence of persecution based on a statutorily protected ground.

 

From  July 7, 2015 decision

The respondent’s evidence reflects that X’s physical and verbal abuse of her was related to his violent and jealous nature, sometimes accompanied by his use of alcohol. Thus, x’s abuse appears related to his own criminal tendencies or substance abuse, rather than conclusive evidence he targeted the respondent on account of her proposed particular social group. The evidence in this case is more consistent with acts of general violence and therefore does not constitute evidence of persecution based on a statutorily protected ground.

 

From August 20, 2015 decision:

 

The respondent’s evidence reflects that X’s physical and verbal abuse of her was related to his violent and jealous nature, heavy use of drugs and alcohol, and association with drug traffickers. Exhibit 3, tab C at 17-19. Thus, X’s abuse appears related to his own criminal tendencies or substance abuse, rather than conclusive evidence he targeted the respondent on account of her proposed particular social group. The evidence in this case is more consistent with acts of general violence and therefore does not constitute evidence of persecution based on a statutorily protected ground.

 September 17, 2015 decision:

The respondent’s evidence reflects that X’s physical, verbal, and sexual abuse of her was related to his violent and jealous nature. The respondent testified X’s motivation to harm her was anger when she would ask him for money so she could buy food for her family. She recalled the final argument that led to their separation occurred when the respondent confronted Mr. regarding his affair with her sister-in-law. Thus, X’s abuse of the respondent appears related to his own violent and criminal tendencies, rather than conclusive evidence he targeted her on account of her membership in a particular social group. The evidence in this case is more consistent with acts of general violence and therefore does not constitute evidence of persecution based on a statutorily protected ground.

 December 1, 2015 decision:

The respondent’s evidence reflects that her former spouse’s physical, sexual, verbal, and psychological abuse of her was related to his violent and jealous nature, and frequent intoxication from alcohol. The respondent testified that is an alcoholic whose motivation to harm her stemmed from his anger, dislike for her, jealous nature, and infidelity with other women. Exhibit 2, tab C at 12-13. Based upon the respondent’s testimony, it appears the threats, assault and rape she suffered at the hands of was intended to intimidate and threaten her to comply his own selfish and criminal demands for sex. Thus, the abuse suffered by the respondent appears related to the violent and criminal tendencies of her abusive former spouse, rather than conclusive evidence she was targeted on account of her membership in a particular social group. The evidence in this case is more consistent with acts of general violence and therefore does not constitute evidence of persecution based on a statutorily protected ground.

 

February 4, 2016 decision:

The respondent’s evidence reflects that X’s physical, verbal, and sexual abuse of her was related to his violent and jealous nature, often fueled by his use of alcohol and drugs. Exhibit 2, tab H at 1-2. Mr. ‘ motivation to harm her appears to be based upon  his own criminal tendencies and substance abuse, rather than conclusive evidence he targeted her on account of her membership in a particular social group. The evidence in this case is more consistent with acts of general violence and therefore does not constitute evidence of persecution  based on a statutorily protected ground.

 

February 25, 2016 decision:

The respondent’s evidence reflects that her husband’s physical, verbal, and psychological abuse of her was related to his violent and jealous nature, at times affected by his use of alcohol. The respondent testimony suggests her husband’s motivation to harm her was his dislike for her and suspicion she was being unfaithful to him. His motivation also appears related to the respondent’s desire to leave him because of his infidelity, and his demands for custody of their son. Based upon the respondent’s testimony, it appears the threats, assaults and psychological abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband was intended to intimidate her to obtain some unclear result.

Thus, the abuse suffered by the respondent appears related to the violent and criminal tendencies of her husband, rather than conclusive evidence she was targeted on account of her membership in a particular social group. The evidence in this case is more consistent with acts of general violence and therefore does not constitute evidence of persecution based on a statutorily protected ground.

 

 

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