Castillo v. Barr, No. 19-72745 (9th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit granted the petition for review of the BIA's decision denying petitioner's application for protective status pursuant to the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner is a former gang member who has belonged to various violent gangs, including La Mara Salvatrucha, commonly known as MS-13.
Addressing two initial matters, the panel concluded that the Board's defiance of the panel's previous decision in this matter and disagreement with the panel's holding that the IJ did not find petitioner's expert, a specialist in gang activity in Central America and governmental responses to gangs, credible was ill-advised. The panel also disagreed with the Board's conclusion that the expert's testimony did not warrant full weight because he did not submit the underlying evidence to the IJ. Finally, the panel held that the Board's decision to give the expert's opinion reduced weight because it was not corroborated by other evidence in the record was erroneous. The panel remanded to the Board and directed it to give full weight to the expert's testimony regarding the risk of torture petitioner faces if removed to El Salvador.