November 8, 2000
(EOIR Response in italics)
(1) I-130 Visa Petitions. In light of the recent backlogs of adjudicating spousal visa petitions by the INS, it may be more practical for the Immigration Judges to have jurisdiction over I-130 Visa Petitions filed after the Beneficiary-Respondent is in deportation proceedings. With time delays taking over a period of one to three years, many of the I-130 Petitions are transferred to the local district offices for an interview. With time delays, the INS trial attorneys are not willing to grant continuances until adjudication of the visa petition. The refusal to grant continuances occurs with marriages before and after proceedings commence. Further, families are fearful of being separated by the ten-year bar imposed under INA § 212(a)(9)(B)(II). These are harsh consequences and create genuine hardship issues on the families involved.
AILA would like to propose amending the regulations to allow the Immigration Judge the authority to adjudicate the I-130 Visa Petition, since it is the underlying petition which the Immigration Judge can grant adjustment of status under § 245(a). This would promote judicial efficiency (unnecessary hearing time of other forms of relief which may be available to the Respondent) and save money. Would EOIR be open to such an amendment to the regulations?
The Office of the Chief Immigration Judge (OCIJ) is aware of this issue and is currently evaluating the situation. Although the evaluation has not yet been completed, the OCIJ expects to consider various options to help improve the situation, including, but not limited to, possible regulatory changes.
(2) So far 13 practitioners have been suspended under the new professional conduct regulations. Those suspensions were based on disciplinary actions in other jurisdictions. While AILA shares EOIR's desire to maintain a high standard of practice before the Immigration Courts and the Board, AILA must ensure that "zealous representation" is not chilled. With those issues in mind, what criteria will EOIR OGC use in initiating, pursuing and terminating investigations based on complaints filed directly with EOIR, and what criteria will be used in deciding whether or not to issue a NID (Notice of Intent to Discipline)?
EOIR will initiate disciplinary inquiries only if, based upon a complaint and any necessary follow-up (such as requesting a copy of a retainer or receipt, evidencing proof of payment) it appears that on the face of the complaint, taking all allegations to be true, a violation of one or more of the rules occurred.
Complaints which on their face do not appear to implicate EOIR's disciplinary rules, will be closed out, or where appropriate, referred to the admitting state(s), without notice to the attorney. We are particularly sensitive to the notion that some complaints might be groundless or marginal at best, and we will not contact an attorney where such circumstances are evident (and furthermore, where the attorney might be required to contact their malpractice insurer in the event of notice of such a disciplinary complaint, potentially causing loss of coverage or increased rates).
Complaints which appear on their face to allege facts implicating one or more of the grounds set forth in EOIR's disciplinary rules would in most cases be "docketed" for formal "preliminary inquiry" (8 C.F.R. § 3.104(b)). Following this internal procedure ("docketing"), we would provide the attorney with a copy of the complaint and request his or her response. After securing the attorney's response, the complainant would be sent a copy, requesting a reply. Responses and replies will be required within strict time periods, unless otherwise extended upon request and for good cause.
With the complaint, response, and reply before us (this would constitute the preliminary inquiry "report", separate from any independently conducted fact-finding or investigation), we would have the discretion to either (1) dismiss the complaint for lack of sufficient proof (clear, convincing, and unequivocal evidence), with a copy of the dismissal to the complainant and a "cc" to the attorney; (2) negotiate an informal resolution or issue a warning letter or informal admonition where we had sufficient proof to issue a Notice of Intent to Discipline ("NID"), but in our view the misconduct was minor or; (3) in cases of serious rule violations, where we had sufficient proof to sustain the charge ("sufficient prima facie evidence," 8 C.F.R. § 3.105(a)) and/or could not negotiate a settlement, issue a Notice of Intent to Discipline and proceed formally before the Board.
(3) Certificates of Service by INS: AILA members report that INS Trial Attorneys will indicate date X on a Certificate of Service, meaning the date the document is physically placed by the attorney in the office "Out" box, then to be enveloped, postmarked or franked, and placed in the mail by office staff. Yet receipt of the document by opposing counsel reveals that the document was, in fact, mailed on date Y, which is often many days later from date X. Complaints have been filed with local INS District Counsels, OPR and INS General Counsel, as yet to no effect. Other than raising this as an issue before the Board in the course of briefing an appeal, what can Respondents' counsel do? What is EOIR's role in policing both sides' compliance with certificate of service issues?
This question is one that should be properly addressed to the INS. With regard to a case before the Immigration Court, the attorney can object to the document as improperly served, and the Immigration Judge can determine what action to take, if any, to resolve the issue. With regard to an appeal, the Board may receive arguments and rule on the effect the alleged certification practice may have on the due process rights of the alien to effective representation or to effectively represent himself in the particular case.
(4) 5-Day Clock for Payment of VD Bond: Under INA § 240B(b)(3) the posting of a voluntary departure bond is mandatory. Under 8 C.F.R. § 240.26(c)(3) the bond must be posted within 5 business days of the IJ's grant of VD. Under 8 C.F.R. § 240.14 and § 3.39, an IJ's order becomes final upon waiver of appeal or upon expiration of the time to appeal if no appeal is taken, whichever occurs first. If an appeal on the merits is taken, the IJ's order (including the grant of VD) is not yet final. Yet most IJs insist that the VD bond must be paid within 5 days regardless of the filing of any appeal. Given that appeals, including judicial review, can last for many years, it makes no sense, practically or legally, for the INS to hang on to VD bond monies for years while an appeal is pending. What is EOIR's view or position on this issue? Is the issue under discussion between EOIR and INS?
The regulation located at 8 C.F.R. § 240.26(c)(3) (2000) expressly requires that the voluntary departure bond be posted within 5 business days of the Immigration Judge's order, and failure to do so will automatically vacate the voluntary departure order. An appeal to the Board has no effect on this requirement.
(5) 150-page documentary evidence rule: The Seattle IJs have proposed a 150-page limit on documentary evidence. The Washington state AILA chapter has gone through a formal protest process, to no avail at the local level. The proposal is now with Chief Judge Creppy for review. AILA's protest documents are on file with that proposal. When is Chief Judge Creppy expected to rule on this issue? Given that no other Immigration Court (and, as far as AILA knows, no other court or administrative tribunal in the country) has proposed to limit evidence, what is EOIR's view on the issue?
The OCIJ is currently evaluating the Seattle proposed local rules. The OCIJ is aware of AILA's concerns, as they have been clearly and thoroughly articulated by the Seattle AILA chapter. The OCIJ emphasizes that both AILA and the Seattle Immigration Court's concerns will be given due consideration.
(6) In one case now before the Board, a West Coast IJ, on his own motion and over the objection of both the Respondent and the INS, called a witness for live testimony. Under Board case law IJs are given some latitude to develop the record. But when a witness or a document is introduced by the IJ over the objection of both parties, hasn't the IJ simply gone too far? What is EOIR's view on this topic?
If the parties object to a particular action by an Immigration Judge, such objection should be properly made on the record at the time it occurs, and should be addressed at the appellate level.
(7) Many of our members have complained that unopposed motions often take over a year for the Board to reach. In many cases, an unopposed remand is sought before the briefing schedule is set, and the lack of a decision on the remand results in the necessity of the parties briefing issues that would likely be mooted by the requested remand. Does the Board maintain a distinct docket for "fast track" consideration of uncontested matters such Motions to Reopen or Motions to Remand? If so, how should we call attention to these matters so as to reach the "fast track?" If not, why not?
The Board recognizes that unopposed motions to reopen following Board decisions have not been adjudicated expeditiously on occasion. We have taken steps to remedy this. Current unopposed motions are now handled through our Streamlining Pilot Project. Under this project, unopposed motions, as soon as they are received by the Clerk's Office and the ROP is retrieved, are screened by the streamlining team and given expeditious streamlining treatment by a single Board Member, where appropriate. (Prior to the Pilot Project, the Clerk's Office had already instituted a screening program by which unopposed Board motions to reopen were expeditiously forwarded for single Board Member review and adjudication.)
These are new procedures that do not cover motions received before their implementation. If counsel is aware of an unopposed motion that has not been adjudicated following a lengthy period of time, he or she should file a motion to expedite. Such a motion will notify the Clerk's Office so that they may retrieve the ROP for processing through the Streamlining Pilot Project.
Unopposed motions to remand and unopposed motions to reopen following a Board decision are viewed differently. Although unopposed, motions to remand are treated as part of the appeal, and are not reviewed by Board Members until after the briefing schedule has concluded. Briefs are necessary because it is not until the brief is received from the INS that the Board knows the aspects of the appeal the INS opposes, which may include the alien's request for a remand. In a case appeal, the party is not obligated to respond to the motion to remand except through briefing. It is our experience that the INS usually files any opposition or affirmative non-opposition to a remand through its responsive brief. However, if the motion to remand remains unopposed following the time for briefing, the motion is given expedited treatment through the Streamlining Pilot Project.
(8) Electronic Filing. Can you tell us what is the status of the EOIR's proposal to permit electronic filing?
EOIR is currently discussing means to implement an electronic process that protects the rights of aliens and practitioners. The Board is developing a pilot program for allowing electronic filing of certain documents by the parties. It is still in the early stages of development and some tentative understandings have been reached. The pilot program will include Seattle and Baltimore. A third city is under consideration. The documents which can be filed electronically include the EOIR-27, EOIR-28, and EOIR-33/BIA. Briefs may also be filed electronically.
(9) On several occasions, members have reported receiving notices from the Board Clerk's Office concerning submissions that did not "make it" into the record. Generally, these notices have come after the Board has decided the cases, which leads us to believe the submissions were not available to the Board members in reaching their decisions. Obviously, we are concerned. What causes this, what steps if any have been taken to correct the problem, and what can we do to help insure that the submissions we send are promptly received into the record?
On occasion, a submission may not be associated with the record before the Board issues a decision in a case. This most often occurs when a document is received by the Clerk's Office and the record is already with the legal staff or a Board Member, particularly where the submission is made the same day or the day before the Board's decision is issued. The Board has a system by which any document received by the Clerk's Office after the ROP has already gone to the legal staff is expeditiously forwarded and is noted in the database with an admonishment that the decision should not be issued until the particular document has been associated and reviewed. We continue to monitor this process.
(10) We continue to have severe problems resulting from delays by the INS in filing charging documents with the Immigration Courts, compounded by the fact that INS does not notify the respondent or counsel when the NTA is filed even where months or a year has passed since the respondent was served. Attorneys cannot file an EOIR-28 entering appearance with the court until the Court's file is created. Respondents often move after the NTA is served but before it is filed, and have no way of insuring that the Immigration Court will have their current addresses. The regulations require proof that the NTA has been served on the opposing party. 8 C.F.R. § 3.14. They also require that all exhibits and other documents filed for consideration by the court be "simultaneously served by the presenting party on the opposing party." 8 C.F.R. § 3.32(a). INS apparently believes that these requirements are met when the respondent was initially served and there is no need for them to serve respondent or counsel again when the document is filed with the Court.
(a) Is there a time limit on how "fresh" an NTA must be before an Immigration Court will accept it? Could EOIR adopt one, say, requiring that the NTA must have been served upon the respondent no more than 30 days before its filing?
(b) Under EOIR regulations, is it proper for the INS to file the NTA with the Court without simultaneously serving it upon the opposing party?
(c) Assuming that simultaneous service is required and not attempted by the INS, would termination of the proceedings be proper as a means of enforcing the requirement? If not, what lesser alternatives are available to insure timely notification upon the respondent and counsel?
The regulations addressing service and filing of Notices to Appear (NTAs) located at 8 C.F.R. § 3. 13 & § 3.14 (2000) are silent as to simultaneous "service" to the alien and "filing" of the document with the Immigration Court. This is an issue of prosecutorial discretion that should be properly addressed to the INS. With respect to the change of address issue, the NTA clearly states that the alien must keep the Immigration Court informed of his or her current address.
(11) We continue to have severe problems with INS moving detained respondents to the ends of the earth after they have retained counsel. We know that venue may be changed by the IJ and that this may be of partial assistance to at least keep the hearing site local. However, even if the hearings are conducted locally, the separation of respondent from counsel between hearings greatly complicates and delays preparation of the case, which impairs efficient and fair consideration by the IJ. Is there anything else that can be done to correct this problem?
This question is one that should be properly addressed to the INS.
(12) On previous occasions, we have discussed procedures available for expressing concerns about sitting IJs. Is there any way AILA can contribute input on IJ candidates during the selection process?
The OCIJ has spent many years developing an Immigration Judge selection process that is balanced, fair, effective and offers a meaningful evaluation of Immigration Judge candidates. The current process is successful, and the OCIJ is fully satisfied with it and does not believe that any changes are necessary at this time.
(13) We understand that there are three new Board Members. Please tell us about them and, if convenient, we would love to meet them at our meeting on Nov. 8.
The new Board Members are Noel Brennan, who arrived in July of this year, and Cecelia Espenoza and Juan Osuna, both of whom arrived in August. Attached is a press release dated July 31, 2000 on these three appointments.
(14) Please update us on the activities of the Pro Bono Coordinator. Have any changes been undertaken to increase the availability of representation on important cases at the Board level?
We have developed a pilot program with Steve Lang, the Pro Bono Coordinator, to increase representation of detained aliens in important cases before the Board. A Fact Sheet dated November 7, 2000, is available on EOIR's pro bono webpage. The program should be instituted shortly, after operational details are resolved. Under the plan, attorneys from pro bono organizations will be screening certain categories of detained cases, selected from a database report run by the EOIR pro bono coordinator, in which briefing schedules have been set. The categories include INS appeals, cases certified to the Board by the Immigration Judge, and other categories selected by pro bono organizations which can be identified by customized reports. The extent of the screened categories will depend on the level of pro bono participation in the pilot program.
The screening attorneys will review the ROPs at the Clerk's Office and draft summaries of cases deemed to be important. These summaries will be sent by e-mail to a project coordinator (outside of EOIR), who will post the summaries electronically for review by participating pro bono representatives. If a representative wishes to accept a case, he or she will notify the project coordinator, who will then send an EOIR-27 and an information sheet to the detained alien, explaining the purpose of the pro bono program. If the alien desires representation, he or she will sign the form and mail it directly to the representative. The representative must file the EOIR-27 before the initial 30-day briefing period for the alien expires. When received, the Clerk's Office will reset the briefing schedule, and send a copy of the ROP and the transcript to the representative. The pilot program will last approximately six months and will be evaluated at the end of that time period.
(15) We have been receiving some decisions from the Board that have involved unexpected procedures. For example, opposed motions to reopen or reconsider panel decisions have been decided by a single member. One member reports having an appeal dismissed by the Board after a briefing schedule was set, but before any briefs were due or filed, and without any indication that the appeal was being dismissed summarily for cause under 8 C.F.R. § 3.1(d)(2).
(a) Aside from ruling on unopposed motions and the new "affirmance without opinion" cases, what other actions are authorized for a single Board member? Are these powers authorized by regulation, or delegated from the Chairman? If delegated, may we be provided with any memoranda or other documentation confirming the delegation so that our members will know what to expect?
(b) Where an EOIR-26 Notice of Appeal indicates that a brief will be filed, the case is transcribed and a briefing schedule set, is it proper for a Board panel to dismiss the appeal before the briefs are due? Under what circumstances? May we be provided any memoranda or other documentation concerning this practice so that our members will know what to avoid?
(a) Single Board Member review of certain cases is authorized both by regulation and by the Chairman's direction. Pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 3.1(d)(2)(ii) the Chairman may provide for summary dismissal of appeals under § 3.1(d)(2)(i) by a single Board Member. The Chairman has so directed and has designated the Board Members who have this authority.
Under § 3.1(a), a single Board Member may adjudicate an unopposed motion, a motion to withdraw an appeal, an INS motion to remand in a visa petition case, a remand required because of a missing or defective transcript, or other procedural or ministerial issues as provided by the Chairman. The Chairman may also designate certain categories of cases to be appropriate for summary affirmance without opinion by a single Board Member. The Chairman has designated certain procedural or ministerial issues for single-Board Member adjudication, and has also designated categories of cases that may be affirmed without opinion by a single Board Member. The Chairman has also designated which Board Members are authorized to affirm without opinion, and which are authorized to adjudicate the designated procedural or ministerial issues. Attached is a copy of the Board's memorandum dated August 28, 2000 (PDF), designating the categories of cases subject to single-Board Member adjudication and the Board Members authorized to carry out these designations. Also attached is a copy of the Board's memorandum dated November 1, 2000 (PDF), further describing the categories of cases appropriate for affirmance without opinion.
(b) It is not the usual practice of the Board to dismiss an appeal before expiration of the briefing schedule. There is no official policy or directive as to when it may be appropriate to do so. The Board cannot comment on the propriety of doing so in a particular set of circumstances absent further information. Again, a party who believes that the Board has acted incorrectly may file a motion to reconsider.
(16) On September 1, 2000, AILA and nine other organizations filed joint comments on the Proposed "Soriano" Rule [§212(c) Relief for Certain Aliens in Deportation Proceedings Before April 24, 1996, 65 Fed. Reg. 44,476 (July 18, 2000)]. When might we expect EOIR's response to comments? What is the current projected time frame for the Soriano Rule? What additional information from AILA would be helpful now?
Comments to the Proposed "Soriano" Rule are currently under consideration by the Department.
(17) Recently, TeleVideo merit hearings were conducted in Cleveland, Ohio. Several cases were in reference to asylum claims which require a finding of credibility of the Applicant by the IJ. The claims further involved physically visible injuries and/or markings upon the Applicant's person. What safeguards are being implemented by EOIR with respect to the Applicant's procedural and due process rights being promoted during the hearing process? Television viewing is an artificial means of judging an Applicant's credibility and forms illusionary and perhaps distorted realities. Further, is it possible that the Applicants can request a merit hearing in person? Should not distance and remote locations be factors in utilizing this artificial hearing process?
EOIR is working on improving the quality of the equipment and augmenting the technology to further enhance the hearing process. To the extent that AILA is concerned about the Immigration Judge's assessment of visible physical injuries, the OCIJ would note that there are numerous methods of entering such evidence into the record, such as verbally describing the injuries or submitting photographs.
(18) Despite recent expansion, it appears that demand has once again caught up with EOIR's "800" telephone docket line. It is very difficult and often impossible to get through during business hours.
(a) Are there any plans for further expansion of the docket line to alleviate the bottleneck?
(b) Is it possible for the same docket information to be available through the EOIR website?
(a) The number of calls received on the 1-800 line has increased threefold in the last year. Last year we increased the number of lines from 16 to 24; the maximum number our current hardware can hold. We are procuring new hardware (servers and telephone interface boards) and are developing the specifications which will move us from the current analog system to one using digital lines thus allowing more lines and better monitoring. This should be completed by March 2001.
(b) We are working to develop an Internet page which will allow the public to access the same info that is currently available on the 1-800 line. Estimated completion of the Internet page is next year.
(19) The "certification" process under 8 C.F.R. § 3.1(c) and § 3.7 seems shrouded in mystery. Will EOIR reveal procedures beyond the bare letter of the regulations? Will EOIR release (and/or post to its website) statistics regarding how many cases are on certification?
The regulations are quite specific regarding the procedures for certifying a case to the Board, including provisions for notice to the parties and the filing of briefs. These are the procedures EOIR follows. It is unclear what other specific matters interest AILA regarding the certification process. There were 127 cases certified to the Board by Immigration Judges in fiscal year 2000 and of those, 66 remain pending. This number also includes cases which were remanded to the Immigration Judge with instructions to certify the case back to the Board after the reason for the remand was accomplished. With respect to cases certified to the Attorney General, the Board's role is to forward the recordand serve the Attorney General's decision. Any other procedures are determined by the Attorney General. There are only a small number of such cases currently pending.
The regulation located at 8 C.F.R. § 3.1(c) permits the Immigration Judge to certify a decision to the Board, and is quite specific regarding the procedures for certifying, including provisions for notice to the parties and the filing of briefs. The OCIJ leaves it to the individual Immigration Judge's discretion to determine when an issue warrants certification to the Board.
(20) In asylum cases, IJs frequently require document authentication and consequently trial attorneys send documents to embassies abroad for this purpose. This practice presents many problems. First, it causes serious confidentiality problems, as the embassy personnel may (or perhaps must) contact the home country government regarding the documents. Second, the home-country information may be of questionable reliability. Third, frequently the embassies initially find that genuine documents are fraudulent, but if the attorney pursues the issue and re-sends the documents, the documents previously found fraudulent are found genuine. While we appreciate the need for authentication of documents, we would ask EOIR to adopt methods that do not compromise the asylum applicant's confidentiality and present other problems.
This question is one that should be properly addressed to the INS. The OCIJ notes, however, that to the extent United States Embassies are used to authenticate documents, we presume that the State Department is sensitive to any asylum confidentiality issues that may arise.
(21) We would appreciate some information on how the "record" before the Board is compiled, what is considered a part of the "record," and how we may have access to it, if necessary.
(a) If documents are submitted to the IJ during a hearing and, for whatever reason, the IJ decides not to admit or consider them, are they in the record received by the Board? Assuming they are, does the Board review these documents as part of its de novo review of the IJ's decision?
(b) In some cases, IJs have been known to remove documents from the record and return them to counsel when the IJ has decided not to admit or consider them. Is this proper? How can counsel preserve the issues for appeal where the IJ insists on doing this?
(c) Are there regulations or internal guidelines describing how the appellate record is compiled, and what must be contained in it? If these guidelines are not in the regulations or otherwise publicized, may we receive copies for dissemination to our membership?
(d) How may an attorney who was not representing the respondent before the IJ obtain copies of the "appellate record," aside from the transcript of testimony that is routinely prepared and served?
(e) In cases such as motions to reopen where no transcript is prepared, how may an attorney obtain a copy of the cassette tapes from the record?
(a) & (b) The Board does not require that Immigration Judges associate with the record documents that were not admitted or considered at the hearing. While some judges do accept the documents for identification purposes only and associate them with the record, others do not. However, if counsel wishes to raise the rejection of the evidence as an issue on appeal, he or she may make a proffer before the Board of the evidence that was sought to be admitted, and the Board will rule on the merits of the judge's rejection. If the Board finds that the evidence should have been admitted, it may remand the record for its inclusion, and for the entry of a new decision by the Immigration Judge.
(c) The regulations concerning the contents of the record may be found at 8 C.F.R. § 240.9. The Board does not have internal guidelines regarding compilation of the appellate record, other than the order in which certain standard documents are to be physically placed in the file.
(d) An attorney representing an alien on appeal, but who did not represent him or her before the Immigration Court, may come to the Clerk's Office to view the record. He or she may also make a request for documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The Clerk's Office does not otherwise make copies of the record, other than the transcript of the hearing and the Immigration Judge's decision. We point out that the alien should have copies of the record in any event. He or she should have copies of documents he or she presented, and the INS is required under 8 C.F.R. § 3.32 to serve on the alien copies of all documents it submits during the proceedings. If the alien was represented by prior counsel during the Immigration Court proceeding, that attorney has an ethical responsibility to turn over all documents to the new attorney.
(e) In cases of a motion to reopen where no transcript is prepared, counsel may listen to the hearing tapes at the Immigration Court. The Board does not provide copies of tapes. If counsel wants a transcript of the underlying proceeding, counsel may make such a request to the Board, explaining why the transcript is necessary.
(22) Discovery issues with FOIA delays
FOIA is an attorney's only means of obtaining documents from INS. INS is taking an exceedingly long time in processing FOIA requests and generally will not expedite for cases in proceedings. IJs are generally reluctant to continue cases to await service of the FOIA request by INS. This is a serious problem, as it impairs effective representation. What can EOIR do to help with this situation?
This question is one that should be properly addressed to the INS.
(23) A respondent has the opportunity to present evidence in his or her own behalf. 8 C.F.R. 250.10. Further "the immigration Judge shall not accept an admission of removability from an unrepresented respondent who is incompetent or under the age of 16 and is not represented by an attorney or legal representative, near relative, legal guardian, or friend
In light of the Elian Gonzalaez issue, AILA members have valid concerns that the INS may seek to permit asylum claims from minors. Any comments?
This question should be directed to the INS. EOIR cannot comment on the appropriateness of the INS's actions in this regard.
(24)In many cities, teams of evaluators were sent out to evaluate the courtroom practice, take comments from the private bar, address issues and concerns of local attorneys. With this information, they were to make evaluations on the practice and procedure of specific courts. What, if anything, occurred after these evaluations? Was any actions required to be taken within the court systems? Is AILA privy to comments received and actions, if any, taken on their reports?
The purpose of the Immigration Court Evaluations is to ensure that the Chief Immigration Judge is in compliance with 8 C.F.R. § 3.9 (2000). Consequently, the primary purpose of the evaluations is to provide for an internal review of the Immigration Courts. Each member of the Court Evaluation Team is given a copy of the comments submitted by members of the private bar. These comments are fully considered by the Court Evaluation Team during the individual court evaluations. Morever, members of the private bar who submit comments are given the opportunity to meet with the Court Evaluation Team. Further, the Court Evaluation Team schedules meetings with the local AILA representative to discuss any concerns.