The Ninth Circuit has reversed the agency’s denial of a continuance to allow the petitioner to update his fingerprints, in light of his attorney’s erroneous advice that his fingerprints were still up-to-date, even though the judge had advised the petitioner at the prior hearing that he needed to update his fingerprints.

“[I]f an alien fails to provide updated fingerprints to DHS ‘because of an attorney,’ the alien’s reliance on the lawyer’s advice may constitute the requisite ‘good cause’ for a continuance under 8 C.F.R. § 1003.29. Here, because the lawyer’s bad advice post-dated the IJ’s instructions, Petitioner’s reliance on the later advice was especially reasonable. For example, the fingerprint requirements might have changed since his last hearing, including by lengthening the period during which fingerprints were valid or by allowing the California Department of Justice to send fingerprints to DHS. If the lawyer’s bad advice had preceded the IJ’s instructions, we might reach a different result.”

The full text of Pleitez-Lopez v. Barr can be found here: