The First Circuit admonished the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) for failing to exercise its discretion. The petitioner sought reopening after two attorneys (both later disciplined for their unethical representation of clients) provided him ineffective assistance of counsel, resulting in the entry of an in absentia order of removal when he was approximately 30 minutes late to a hearing. Though the Immigration Judge and the Board both agreed that the petitioner had received in effective assistance of counsel sufficient to toll the filing deadline for the motion to reopen, they declined to reopen because the petitioner had received notice of the proper time of his hearing. The court doubted whether being 30 minutes late was really grounds for an in absentia, but noted that attorney's failure to inform the judge of the client's appearance (after the judge indicated a willingness to reopen the case if the petitioner appeared later that morning) was an exceptional circumstance.
The full text of Murillo-Robles v. Lynch can be found here: