Courtroom Drama: Tears, a Skeptical Judge, a Heart-Wrenching Decision
Courtroom Drama: Tears, a Skeptical Judge, a Heart-Wrenching Decision
This series on asylum originally ran on BU Today in June.
It was the middle of March, one month until Maria’s asylum hearing. By now her team of Boston University law students, Briana Cardwell, Luis Guerrero, and Maggie Loeffelholz, were meeting weekly with Maria and her children, making the hour-long trip by bus and subway to her home just north of Boston. Maria was part of a crew of Brazilian cleaning women who were driven from one house to the next; she couldn’t afford to miss work to get to BU’s School of Law.
Gradually, as the students built a rapport with her, more details from Maria’s past emerged.
The abuse hadn’t begun with her ex-boyfriend. As a girl, she’d been raised by her grandmother, who had beaten her. She was 11 when her uncle began sexually abusing her. She had endured a lifetime of suffering.
The students learned to be patient. Maria’s new life was complicated. Her son was struggling in school. She still owed $23,000 to her “coyote,” the man who arranged for her and her children to fly from Brazil to Peru to Mexico, and then be driven from Tijuana into the desert, so they could make their way to the US border. She’d put up her father’s house in Brazil as collateral and if she didn’t pay up, he’d lose his house. She suffered from migraines and anxiety. The law students helped her find a psychiatrist, who diagnosed her with major depressive and anxiety disorders, with panic attacks. The psychiatrist’s expert testimony became part of their case.
Others pitched in. Cristina Hernandez (SSW’23, STH’23), who had a yearlong internship in the law clinic, helped Maria navigate the local health and school systems. Hernandez, whose parents are Mexican immigrants, made sure Maria’s son got help in school. She spent hours on the phone getting Maria’s health benefits restored after they were cut off.
In her clinical program, Sarah Sherman-Stokes talks about the importance of working with “the whole client,” a person not just with a multitude of needs—but also strengths. She made sure her students understood this as they put Maria’s case together.
Piecing together Maria’s life, the students learned of her odyssey at the border: how she’d led her children through the desert at night, with a bottle of water and a backpack holding their belongings, before coming upon border patrol agents and being detained while her son and daughter were sent to a shelter in Chicago. All of these details helped the students portray Maria not only as a survivor of domestic violence, but as a mother who got her kids safely out of Brazil to the United States.
“She’s a very strong person,” says Guerrero. “Everything is about taking care of her children.”
“People think immigrants just get up and decide to come to America,” says Cardwell. “You’re making huge sacrifices and you’re leaving behind so much. You can get murdered, a lot of things can happen. [Maria] probably transcended her body and is just doing what she needs to do for her kids.”
The demands of Maria’s asylum weighed on the law students. They were juggling the case while maintaining full course loads and keeping up with extracurriculars—Cardwell as copresident of the Black Law Students Association, Guerrero as treasurer of the Latin American Law Students Association, and Loeffelholz as treasurer of the Immigration Law Policy Society. “We would try to go to each other’s events,” Guerrero says.
Cardwell also worked as a babysitter and at an after-school program in the North End. Guerrero helped out at his parents’ restaurant when he could.
In their little spare time, Cardwell and Guerrero toiled over their legal brief on a shared Google Doc. Hours turned into days, then weeks, with multiple drafts and constant feedback from Sherman-Stokes. “Sarah was very supportive,” says Guerrero. “She’d say, ‘Keep trying.’ I was on the Google Doc at 1, 2 am one night and Sarah was on it, too, reading what we’d written. For a three or four-week stretch, it felt like all we were doing was writing the brief.”
By the time they were done in early spring 2019, they had taken the 2-sentence, 35-word email that Sherman-Stokes first handed to them back in fall 2018, built a 265-page case file, and written a brief, which, in 30 pages and 192 footnotes, told Maria’s story in gripping detail.
Now they needed to prepare Maria to testify in court. “That was another roller-coaster,” says Guerrero. “Telling your story to someone who wants to help you is different from telling it to someone who can judge you. She’s going to be judged on her credibility as a witness.”
They stepped up their meetings at Maria’s home to twice a week. They knew it was grueling, asking her to revisit her trauma. “You have to put your client through the wringer a little bit because that’s what’s going to happen in court, and you want them to do as well as possible,” says Loeffelholz. “But that was hard.”
They brought snacks for her and her children and made time for them during the sessions, moments that were particularly gratifying for Guerrero.
The boy would play video games while Guerrero sat with him. “I really got to see him grow,” he says. “He would talk to me about school, his friends. He came out of his shell.”
Maria’s daughter, meanwhile, was learning English and eager to help the students with her mother’s case. They welcomed the help. The hearing was around the corner.
Maria’s day of reckoning
On April 4, 2019, Sherman-Stokes and the students and Maria and her daughter, along with Cristina Hernandez and their expert on Brazil, Liz Leeds, all crowded into a small courtroom in the JFK Courthouse in downtown Boston.
Guerrero wore a navy blue suit and his lucky tie clip with his initials on it. “I was terrified,” he says. He was going to conduct the direct examination of Maria and deliver the closing argument. Being a competitive athlete had helped him prepare for performing in front of others. Sports had taught him how to strategize, to work as a team member, to keep his composure under pressure, especially when opponents in high school taunted the American-born Guerrero by saying, “You don’t even have a green card.”
Cardwell would question Leeds and give the opening argument. She wore a black pantsuit with a blue-green blouse. Cardwell’s grandmother, her roommates, and many other friends were all praying for Maria, having heard about the case over the months.
“I wanted this so badly for her,” says Cardwell. “For a family that’s been through so much, they just needed something good. I told Sarah I’d blame myself if she didn’t get [asylum].”
Cardwell, Guerrero, and Maria sat at a long table at the front of the courtroom, with Sherman-Stokes behind them and an interpreter nearby. Guerrero led Maria through her story, asking her to talk about the abuse by her ex-boyfriend, and by her uncle, grandmother, and aunt. As Maria spoke, she wept on the stand.
“I see that you’re crying,” Guerrero said gently. “Do you need to take a moment?” She wanted to continue.
Guerrero asked Maria how she felt upon discovering her ex-boyfriend had been molesting her two teenage daughters. “I wanted to die,” she told him.
She was on the stand for well over an hour. The pretrial preparation paid off. “She was amazing,” Cardwell says.
Then it was the government’s turn. Brian Sullivan, the US Department of Homeland Security attorney, questioned Maria about her ex-boyfriend, why she had left Brazil, and what she understood about Brazilian women as a particular social group. Maria held her own. Loeffelholz took notes as the back-and-forth between lawyer and witness churned on for more than an hour.
Asylum hearings rarely last more than a day, Sherman-Stokes says, but after several hours, with Sullivan still questioning Maria, Judge Todd Masters scheduled another day for it to continue. With the huge backlog of immigration cases in Boston, the judge set the second day for May 2. For the law students, that was during exam week.
“I had a final in family law the day before the hearing,” says Cardwell. “I said, ‘Oh, no, I can’t take that test.’” She was able to reschedule it.
“I think I stopped breathing”
Day two of the hearing focused on life in Brazil. This was where Leeds, with her expertise on Brazil’s culture and politics, needed to shine, and Cardwell wasted little time in asking her to talk about Brazil and to explain its high rate of domestic violence.
Leeds explained that women in many parts of Brazil, especially in rural areas like Maria’s town, are viewed as men’s property. “If a woman wants to leave [a relationship], the man looks at it as an abuse of his honor,” she said. “He feels he has the right to punish her.”
Women like Maria, at the lower end of the economic ladder, are unable to hire lawyers. In addition, Leeds said, the women’s police stations that Brazil established to handle domestic violence cases—before Bolsonaro took over as president, on January 1, 2019—are sparse in rural areas. Maria’s town, said Leeds, is 40 minutes from the nearest station. And Bolsonaro eliminated a domestic violence hotline, making it even more difficult for women to report abuse.
“During her eight-year relationship, she endured beatings, rape, and death threats with a gun pointed at her head.”
Thank you, Your Honor.
Respondent has experienced severe trauma all of her life. Respondent was just 11 years old when she was sexually abused over and over again by her uncle for more than 2 years. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only abuse she faced as a child. She endured physical and psychological abuse while living with her grandmother from the ages of 5 to 13.
During this time, she was beaten with an electrical cord, repeatedly hit in the head with pots, and as testified earlier, stabbed with a pair of scissors by her aunt. As an adult, Respondent thought she could escape the abuse of her childhood home, but the abuse continued. As the court has heard, Respondent was subject to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse almost every day for eight years.
Respondent met the father of her son was she was 28 years old. During her eight-year relationship, she endured beatings, rape, and death threats with a gun pointed at her head. We have heard testimony that is also corroborated by her daughters and her sister at tabs b, d, and e of exhibit four about the relentless abuse and violence that [name deleted] inflicted.
We also heard testimony that in 2010, [name deleted] intentionally drove a car carrying Respondent and her two young daughters into a tree because another man in a pool touched her feet with his. [Name deleted] drove their car into a tree to punish Respondent. As stated in their testimony, [name deleted] “believed that he owned her.”
As heard earlier, [name deleted] threatened Respondent’s life on multiple occasions by pulling out a gun and pointing it at her head, telling her that he would kill her. One police report, tab h on page 62 of exhibit 4, reflects that [name deleted] stated, “the judge better make a steel helmet for her to protect herself from the gunshots” that he would aim at her head.
Leaving did not protect Respondent from this violence. We heard testimony that [name deleted] orchestrated the murder of new boyfriend after Respondent ended their relationship, again, because he believed he owned her. And he continued to threaten her, even after violent death. All of these events, along with the sexual abuse of her two daughters, have caused significant and ongoing psychological trauma.
Respondent testified to this, saying that, “she felt like she wanted to die,” and that, “the pain would never go away.” Dr. Winegar’s affidavit at tab j on page 94 of exhibit 4 reflects Respondent has been diagnosed with major depression disorder and generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks. The harms that Respondent endured were the result of her membership in the particular social groups of, one, female family members two, women viewed as property, and three, Brazilian women.
The first record in Gebremichael v INS recognized that nuclear family membership constitutes a cognizable, particular social group. Status as a female family member in [name deleted] nuclear family is at least one central reason for the harm she endured. [Name deleted] abused and sexually abused both of her daughters, but never once harmed his son.
No other woman outside of [name deleted] immediate nuclear family endured the severe physical and sexual abuse to which she was subjected and her daughters. Respondent testified that on one occasion, [name deleted] smacked another woman because she would not date him. One smack is easily distinguishable from the severe and the relentless, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse that [name deleted] inflicted on her daughters for eight years.
He saved those instances of psychological and sexual abuse for them because they were women in his nuclear family and could do so with impunity. Matter of Acosta and Fatin versus INS have recognized PSGs based on gender and nationality as a particular social group. Just like in Fatin, status as a woman in Brazil, coupled with the lack of government intervention to protect women, reinforcing his belief that Brazilian women are without rights.
We heard multiple times during Respondent’s testimony that she repeatedly called the police to report action. And on every occasion but one, the police were not able to protect her. Case is analogous to Matter of Allar, where the department recognized that one’s status as been viewed as property in a domestic relationship is particular.
As the respondent testified, [name deleted] believed that, “he owned her.” And Dr. Leeds testified that women, like the respondent, are viewed as property in Brazil. Moreover, under Acosta, Respondent cannot change her status as a woman or how society views her, and she shouldn’t be required to. The police are both unable and unwilling to protect Respondent.
Dr. Leeds testified that domestic violence is widespread throughout Brazil and underreported to authorities. She also stated that it is thought of as a private issue that should be dealt with behind closed doors. Today, Brazil has one of the highest rates of women being killed in the world. The US Department of State, Human Rights report for 2017, tab m on page 144 of exhibit 4, states that reports of domestic violence increased 51% over the last two years.
Dr. Leeds also stated in her affidavit that, on average, 13 women are killed every day. And every 15 seconds, a woman suffers violence. She further testified that women in Brazilian culture are seen as second-class citizens. This view is held by the general public and those in power, including the police.
The US Department of Human Rights report of 2018, tab ee on page 45, excuse me, 43 of exhibit 5, corroborates this, stating that allegations of domestic violence were not always treated as credible by police. This exact situation happened when a police report filed described domestic violence as a crime of minor offense and failed to investigate or prosecute.
Respondent further testified that the police were tired of her always calling them to report abuse by [name deleted] and that they told her, “aren’t you embarrassed?” And “why don’t you just separate from him?” Despite this, Respondent put her faith in the police, time after time, by continuing to report death threats and beatings she suffered at the hands of [name deleted].
And what happened to her abuser? Nothing. The police reports in tab g, h, and i of exhibit four corroborate the beatings and death threats that endured at the hands of [name deleted]. The absence of court records all but confirm that these reported acts of violence were not prosecuted. And that is normal for most women living in Minas Gerais.
Dr. Leeds states in her affidavit, tab k on page 98 of exhibit 4, that in the state of Minas Gerais, only 22% of complaints of gender violence resulted in police investigations. And 61% of investigations were closed without indictments. Despite death threats with a gun, relentless beatings, and many violations of a restraining order, nothing was done.
As Dr. Leeds testified, neither women’s police stations or the Maria da Penha Law have protected or will protect Respondent. In fact, the Maria da Penha Law is rarely used. And restraining orders that are given by that are routinely violated. Even after the murder of Respondent’s new partner remained free, to this day, neither [name deleted] nor anyone involved has been arrested.
Meanwhile, Respondent continued to be stalked and threatened by one of the murderers for cooperating with the police. The police have proven that they are both unwilling and unable to protect Respondent or those that she loves. If Respondent is returned back to Brazil, she will face significant harm and even death. [name deleted] has proven that he will go at great lengths to control Respondent and to keep her in a state of fear.
As she testified, even after the protective order was in place, “he continued to threaten me, hit me, push me at a party, come to our front door, and make threats.” He told me, “if he found me with another man, he would beat me up and kill me.”
As Dr. Leeds testified, his involvement in drug trafficking means that he can and will find Respondent anywhere she goes. Respondent is now also at the risk of harm by friends of [names deleted] both of whom want to ensure that she does not cooperate with the police in the investigation of murder. Respondent also merits a grant of humanitarian asylum because she suffered severe persecution and will suffer other serious harm if removed to Brazil.
Respondent testified here today that she was sexually, physically, and psychologically abused as a child because she was a young Brazilian girl without protection. She then, as an adult, was threatened with death, rape, and physically and verbally abused for eight years by [name deleted]. At the end of their relationship, he had her new partner murdered.
And then Respondent, as a result of the abuse she and her children endured, suffers from depression and panic attacks. Respondent has suffered significant past persecution, which makes her case analogous to Matter of Chen, where the court stated that favorable discretion is warranted for humanitarian reasons, in a case where the respondent suffered significant mental health symptoms from severe past persecution.
Respondent also faces other serious harm on account of relentless threats to her life, the risk she faces as a result of her cooperation with police as an informant in the murder of and the lack of mental health resources for herself and for her family. Matter of LS states that other serious harm can include situations where the claimant could experience severe physical injury.
Here, Respondent faces a risk of significant violence and even death. But that is not the only other serious harm that faces Respondent. Dr. Winegar states that Respondent needs integrated mental health services, including primary care, sleep medicine, neurology, and psychiatry. Respondent’s son also suffers from severe mental health issues from the trauma he endured and witnessed.
Son’s school psychologist, whose assessment is at tab dd on page 28 at exhibit 5, found that Son has autism spectrum disorder and that would require substantial support to reach his functional potential. Here in the US, Respondent and her children are finally able to get the mental health resources they need. Respondent testified that they are all receiving treatment for their mental health issues.
Her son is also in the process of receiving treatment for his autism diagnosis, with an individualized educational program, as seen at tab cc on pages 16 through 27 at exhibit 5. Removing them to Brazil would prevent them from receiving the care they need. Recent research shows that access to treatment for depression in Brazil is very low.
And those most vulnerable, people living in low-resource areas like Respondent, are less likely to receive care for depression. Experts in Brazilian psychiatry care, as seen at tab w on pages 258 through 260 at exhibit 4, describe Brazil’s mental health system as, “a chaotic and inadequate system with a scarcity of professionals to monitor and evaluate services and programs.”
Removing Respondent and her family to Brazil, a country where they have experienced severe trauma and a country with inadequate mental health services, will cause significant psychological, mental, and emotional harm. Moreover, she will not get the necessary resources that a survivor of domestic violence needs. As Dr. Leeds testified, in the current political climate, not only has the president failed to support survivors of domestic violence, he has also been very outspoken and has taken out key resources for survivors of domestic violence, and has cut programs and support. This surely qualifies as other serious harm under Matter of LS. Respondent has endured unrelenting violence for nearly her entire life. Respondent is the kind of refugee that asylum was meant to protect.
But she is more than just a victim. She’s a proud mother of three, who enjoys spending time with her children. She came to the United States in search of a safer life for herself, but most importantly, her children. A grant of asylum would allow her to heal and to move past the horror she has faced.
Thank you, Your Honor.
It was time for Guerrero’s final argument. During the break, he’d tinkered once more with his words and splashed cold water on his face in the restroom. Now, in a calm, clear voice, he delivered the first closing speech of his life.
“[Maria] was just 11 when she was abused over and over by her uncle,” Guerrero said. After elaborating on her childhood abuse, he detailed Maria’s eight years with her ex-boyfriend: “She endured beatings, rapes, death threats with a gun pointed at her head.” And yet, Maria was “also a proud mother,” Guerrero told the court. “A grant of asylum would allow her to heal and move past the horror she has faced.”
It was over; time for Masters to render his decision. Nine months of work, long nights and weekends, from September to May, had come down to this moment.
“The respondent was a credible witness,” Masters began. But then he went through Maria’s arguments for asylum, denying them one by one. Her claim of membership in a group as property? “Overruled by the Matter of A-B,” Masters said, citing the 2018 Jeff Sessions ruling. “The court is bound to follow A-B in this case.”
Maria’s team began fearing the worst.
“I think I stopped breathing,” says Cardwell. “It wasn’t only that this is a clinic and we want to win this case. We got to know them so well—as people you genuinely care for—and being here means so much to them.”
“My heart dropped when things got denied,” Guerrero says.
The judge spoke for more than 10 minutes. He said he valued Leeds’ testimony as an expert on conditions in Brazil, but said Maria “did not meet her burden to show her government is unwilling to protect her.”
Further, the judge said, it was “reasonable and safe” for Maria to return to Brazil. “It’s a large country. She has relatives in other places.”
Nothing in Masters’ manner or voice hinted at what was coming next.
“Notwithstanding…she’s entitled to humanitarian asylum based on past persecution,” Masters concluded. “It’s unquestioned the past persecution was severe, prolonged, and it was cruel.” He cited the police records, the psychiatrist’s report, and Maria’s own testimony.
Listen to Judge Todd Masters render his decision in the asylum case.
So the court having reviewed the evidence, and both of the parties should be commended for the presentation of the case. I’m just going to find that there were no statutory bars to the respondent’s application, that the respondent was a credible witness. That the harm the respondent suffered rose to the requisite level to constitute persecution in the First Circuit.
With respect to the four particular social groups with respect to the young women in Brazil without parental protection. The court will find that, that is too amorphous and not stay with sufficient clarity, especially with the term young. Furthermore, the respondent is not established. She’s currently a member of that particular social group and that she would have a welfare appear based on her membership in that particular social group and that she’s no longer a young woman in Brazil without parental protection.
Moving on to women, family members and senior. The court finds that nuclear family is about particular social group. It’s not a matter of LEA and other first cases including Deborah Macau. With respect to this case, the court will find that the respondent does not fit within the particular social group outlined by the respondent in that LEA directs the immigration judge to conduct an analysis of the relationship to determine whether it satisfies the requirements of the case.
And, in fact, it does not a set specific parameters like must be nuclear family, can’t be too attenuated. It simply says it has to be done on factual case by case basis, in this court case, the court will find that. But then the relationship between the response and senior was not so innate as to constitute a nuclear family as contemplated by LEA or even family as contemplated by LEA and the alternative, that society would not recognize the relationship between them and it’s not immutable.
And therefore the court will find that that particular social group fails. With respect to Brazilian women viewed as property this essentially particularly social group and matter of ARCG, court is bound to fault that was overruled a matter of AB. The court is bound to follow well matter AB in this case, and is not persuaded by case law cited by the respondent In this case the court will find out that’s not about particular social group under the controlling case law.
With respect to Brazilian women, the court will find that this is a valid particular social group, notwithstanding the department’s arguments and First Circuit cases in opposition. The respondent abusers saw her as a woman in Brazil who lacked rights, who lacked protection from the government. This was corroborated by the expert testimony at the hearing today as well as the statements in the campaign and of the current president.
With respect to the federal government’s lack of support for Brazilian women in the society. The court will find the respondent was indeed a member of this particular social group, and that she indeed was persecuted on account of this particular social group. And that the abuser targeted her because he felt that he could exert his power and control over her and her children.
Court does not find it, that it is too amorphous or too overly broad. In this case, it is stated with Harry. And there’s the background evidence in the case indicates that Brazilian women are recognized as a discrete entity within society. With respect to government action, the court will find the respondent did not meet her burden to show that the government is unwilling to protect her, but sessions provides that in the alternative, she can show destructively that the government is unable.
And the court will find that there’s considerable evidence in the record for the government’s ability and against the government’s ability to protect the respondent. And the court will find the respondent, her standard was only to show a preponderance and the court will find that she has met the standard preponderance of the evidence that the government would be unable to control her.
The court is persuaded in that predominantly by the testimony expert opinion of the expert witness. The fact that 22% of domestic violence complaints lead to investigations, the various police reports in this case, even the arrests of the respondent’s abuser did not demonstrate the government was able to protect her.
Based on that the court will find that the respondent was a victim of past persecution. Next, the government will find that the department met its burden of proof to rebut that assumption of welfare issues that she’s entitled to. The court will find that the respondent’s internal relocation within the country of Brazil is both reasonable and it would be safe to do so.
The evidence that forms this finding focuses certainly on, the expert witness testified that the respondent’s status as a drug dealer would somehow enable him to find the respondent were she to relocate. However, there’s insufficient evidence in the record and that’s too attenuated based on the evidence in the record.
It’s unclear what level in the drug trafficking trade he was, whether he was a low level dealer, whether he has connections internationally, what sort of financial resources or communication resources or other resources would be available to a higher level drug kingpin, if you will. Furthermore, the respondent has lived in other places within the country.
It’s a large country with a population of over 200 million people. The respondent has relatives in other areas of the country, respondent’s abusers in Rio outside of the state of Minas Gerais, and as the expert testified. There’s domestic violence resources in larger cities, including Belo Horizonte the capital of Minas Gerais including women’s police stations and other necessary resources.
And based on all that the court will find that the government has successfully rebutted respondent’s presumption of a well-founded fear. Finally, now the court will find that, notwithstanding the absence of a well-founded fear, in this case, the response is entitled to grant of humanitarian asylum, essentially a Chen grant, based on compelling reasons to the past persecution.
The past persecution in this case was severe. It was prolonged. It was cruel and it had both immediate and long lasting effects on the respondent. From the respondent’s own testimony to the medical evidence both from mental health records as well as from physical records. The depression and panic attacks that she suffers from today, the pain and physical affects that she feels from the intentional car crash in 2010.
The numerous marital rapes, beatings and gunpoint threats rise to the level that contemplated by the board and matter of Chen.
And based on that the court will grant humanitarian asylum even in the absence of a well founded fear of future persecution. The court is not going to reach the applications for withholding of protection under the Convention Against Torture.
She had won asylum. The government had a month to appeal, but would never challenge the ruling.
“We tried to keep our cool until we left the courtroom,” Guerrero remembers.
Once outside, the emotion poured out of them as they hugged one another. “We were all in tears,” says Sherman-Stokes. A picture shows them all beaming, Maria standing in the middle holding a pink paper flower. Sherman-Stokes took everyone out for a celebratory lunch at nearby Piperi Mediterranean Grill.
Later, through an interpreter, Maria reflected on the case and what mattered most to her: “I got to tell my story. My story is true and the judge believed me.”
She had trusted her BU legal team from the start, she said. “They made me feel comfortable. They always made sure I understood everything.”
Hard road ahead
Maria’s life in the United States remains complicated. She is juggling the rent on her basement apartment with her debt to the coyote. She lost her job with the cleaning crew because of some health problems and is cleaning houses on her own while looking for steady work. And yet she is hopeful for her children, who are doing well in school.
The work of the BU law students, now graduates, still pro bono on behalf of the Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program, isn’t quite done; they have helped Maria apply for a green card, which would make her a permanent resident of the United States. Once she has the green card, allowing her to live and work here permanently, she can think about the next hurdle—becoming a citizen.
The drawn-out battle for Maria’s asylum left the students with a deep appreciation for their teacher’s work. “I aspire to be like Sarah,” Cardwell says. “She’s fighting for her clients and she genuinely cares. When you genuinely care, people can tell. It takes things to another level.” (In May 2020, Sherman-Stokes was awarded BU’s highest teaching honor, the 2020 Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching.)
Cardwell, Guerrero, and Loeffelholz have landed jobs as public-interest immigration lawyers. The case helped them answer the question Sherman-Stokes had asked at the beginning of the school year. What kind of lawyer did they want to be?
Now they know.
Amazing story. I’m very proud of the BU law students. It’s a great thing for BU to give students in training the opportunity to learn while working on a real life problem helps people. This also occurs in BU’s metrobridge project where undergrads can work on applied community projects.
Thanks so much for appreciating these amazing BU law students. I’d love to know more about the metro bridge project if you have time to send me a quick note. I’m email@example.com.
Thank you for this wonderful and uplifting story. Thank you.
What a wonderful, detailed series of articles. Thank you for publishing the story, very proud of the team and of being part of BU.