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December 7, 2018

Suit says children facing deportation have the right to court-appointed lawyer

SAN FRANCISCO — On Monday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will take up C.J.L.G. v. Whitaker, a lawsuit that addresses whether immigrant children facing deportation should have the right to a court-appointed attorney. The ACLU, American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrants' Rights Project, and Public Counsel brought the challenge in the case of a boy, C.J., who fled Honduras at the age of 13 after gang members threatened at gunpoint to kill him. An immigration judge ordered the boy deported even though he did not have a lawyer to present his case. The suit argues that the U.S. Constitution’s due process clause requires that all people receive fair deportation hearings, and that children cannot defend themselves in court against professional government prosecutors without lawyers.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected C.J.'s claim for a lawyer earlier this year. But then the full court took the rare step of withdrawing that decision, saying it would re-hear the case, this time with a panel of 11 judges.

WHAT: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals re-hearing of C.J.L.G. v. Whitaker, a case that maintains immigrant children facing deportation should have the right to a court-appointed attorney.

WHO: Arguing on behalf of the child will be Ahilan Arulanantham, Senior Counsel of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California.

WHEN: Monday, December 10, at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: James R. Browning Courthouse
Courtroom 1, 3rd Floor Room 338
95 7th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

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