Sitting en banc, the Ninth Circuit reviewed its previous case law on who bears the burden of demonstrating that internal relocation is not possible when an application requests deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture. The court recognized that its previous decisions in Hasan v. Ashcroft, Lemus-Galvan v. Mukasey, and Singh v. Gonzales suggested that an applicant must demonstrate that internal relocation is impossible before being granted deferral of removal. It also recognized that its decision in Perez-Ramirez v. Holder, which applied the same burden shifting scheme that applies in asylum cases, suggested that once an application demonstrates past torture, the Government bears the burden of proving that internal relocation is reasonable. Recognizing that the regulations governing deferral of removal direct an adjudicator to consider all relevant evidence, including evidence of the possibility of internal relocation, the court rejected both of these lines of cases, stating that the regulations do "not place a burden on an applicant to demonstrate that relocation within the proposed country of removal is impossible because the IJ must consider all relevant evidence; no one factor is determinative. Nor do the regulations shift the burden to the government because they state that the applicant carries the overall burden of proof. To the extent that Hasan, Lemus-Galvan, Singh, and Perez-Ramirez conflict with the plain text of the regulations, they are hereby overruled."
The court also addressed whether the applicant's removal from the United States could moot the petition for review, but found sufficient evidence that the applicant was still present in the United States (namely, that he had renewed his driver's license) to determine that the case was not moot, as the applicant still had an interest in being granted deferral of removal.
The full text of Maldonado v. Holder can be found here: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2015/03/27/09-71491.pdf