Gomez-Velazco v. Sessions, No. 14-71747 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
There is no reason to conclusively presume prejudice when an individual was denied the right to counsel during his initial interaction with DHS officers, provided the individual was able to consult with counsel before the removal order is executed. The Ninth Circuit denied petitions for review of DHS's final administrative order of removal under 8 U.S.C. 1228(b). Assuming that a due process violation occurred when petitioner did not have counsel present at the outset of the removal process, the panel held that petitioner must show that he was prejudiced by the violation. In this case, petitioner failed to show that denial of the right to counsel during his initial interaction with DHS officers prejudiced him. In this case, petitioner has never attempted to contest the charges against him, even after having an opportunity to consult with counsel, so he could not contend that his un-counseled admissions cost him the chance to raise plausible grounds for contesting removal. Nor could he claim prejudice by virtue of his un-counseled waiver of the right to request withholding of removal.