Monday, December 21, 2009

Hamazaspyan v. Holder (9th Cir. - Dec. 21, 2009)

Thank you, Judge Bea.

Sometimes you've got to explain things to the slow-witted. Like me.

This case involves an immigration petitioner who didn't receive notice and was deported in absentia. The relevant holding is, I'm sure, important to immigration practitioners, but I only want to talk about footnote three.

Hamazaspyan's permanent address -- the one he receives his mail at -- is at his grandparents, who live in Los Angeles, in Apartment H of a complex. But for some reason, some of the INS documents (including some critical ones) were sent to Apartment 4 (and some others sent to the address with no apartment number). Hence, I imagine, the problem.

Judge Bea can't exactly figure out why some of the documents say "H" instead of "4". After all, H isn't the fourth letter of the alphabet or anything. Not that it's important to appeal, but it's at least an interesting mystery.

The answer to which Judge Bea hints at by saying: "The number four can be written to look similar to the capital letter H." To which, in my head, I responded: "Really? How?"

And Judge Bea, anticipating precisely such intellectually slothful readers such as myself, immediately followed up this sentence with: "If this is difficult to imagine, simply erase the bottom left leg of the H."

A half-second of mental gymnastics later, my internal response: "Yep. Spot on. You da man."