Cam Barker has been recognized by the Texas Lawyer as its September 16, 2013 edition “Appellate Lawyer of the Week” (requires subscription) in connection with a Fifth Circuit victory involving Khagendra Sharma, who was persecuted by Maoists guerrillas during the the recent decade-long civil war in Nepal. He fled to this country and applied for asylum, however U.S. Immigration officials denied the application.
In a unanimous published opinion, the Fifth Circuit reversed the immigration agency’s decision, finding that no substantial evidence supported the agency’s conclusions. The court explained that the agency had simply failed to account for Mr. Sharma’s testimony describing how he was physically singled out for his failure to support the Maoists, who then imprisoned, beat, and persecuted him after he continued to affirm his loyalty to the opposition political party. The court of appeals faulted the agency for imposing an unrealistic standard of proof, demanding some direct evidence of the Maoists stating what their actions conveyed—their intolerance for Mr. Sharma’s just-stated political opinion.