Runaway Usance: Limiting the Exercise of the Fugitive Disentitlement Doctrine in the Context of Wenqin Sun v. Mukasey and Bright v. Holder
The fugitive disentitlement doctrine prevents an evasive
party from obtaining standing in the court whose
authority is evaded. With its 2011 decision in Bright v.
Holder, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals created a circuit
split regarding whether the fugitive disentitlement
doctrine applies to an alien appealing an adverse
immigration decision that maintained the same address
throughout removal proceedings, this address was known
to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and DHS
made no attempt to locate or arrest the alien for failure to
report for removal. Unlike the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals' decision in Wenqin Sun v. Mukasey, the Fifth
Circuit applied the fugitive disentitlement doctrine,
dismissing Holder's appeal for lack of standing.
On May 29, 2012, the Supreme Court denied certiorari
on Bright v. Holder. The circuit split therefore remains
unresolved and potentially affects thousands of
immigrants seeking appellate review of a removal order.
This Note applies the rationales for the fugitive
disentitlement doctrine articulated by the Court in
Ortega-Rodriguez to the context of an alien appealing a
removal order and proposes that the circuit split be
resolved in favor of the Ninth Circuit's approach. When
aliens defy a removal order but do not actively evade
capture or custody, federal appellate courts should not
dismiss their appeals under the fugitive disentitlement
doctrine; instead, they should review their claims on the
Winsor, Lawrence S.
"Runaway Usance: Limiting the Exercise of the Fugitive Disentitlement Doctrine in the Context of Wenqin Sun v. Mukasey and Bright v. Holder,"
Georgia Law Review: Vol. 47:
1, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/glr/vol47/iss1/9