Judge Denise A. Marks Lane
FY 2015 - 2020, Miami Immigration Court
Judge Lane was appointed as an Immigration Judge in September 1994. She received a Bachelor
of Arts degree from Howard University in 1983, and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown
University Law Center in 1986. From 1989 to 1994, Judge Lane served as a staff attorney with
the Board of Immigration Appeals, Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), in
Falls Church, Virginia, before being appointed as an Immigration Judge. From 1987 to 1989,
she worked as a trial attorney for the former Immigration and Naturalization Service in
New York. Judge Lane also served as a judicial law clerk, Office of the Chief Immigration
Judge, EOIR, from 1986 to 1987. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar.
Deciding Asylum Cases
Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied
Detailed data on Judge Marks Lane decisions were examined for the period covering
fiscal years 2015 through 2020. During this period, Judge
Marks Lane is recorded as deciding 556 asylum claims on their merits. Of these,
she granted 66, gave no conditional grants, and denied 490.
Converted to percentage terms, Marks Lane denied 88.1 percent and granted (including
conditional grants) 11.9 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Marks Lane's
denial rate fiscal year-by-year over this recent period.
(Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)
Compared to Judge Marks Lane's denial rate of 88.1 percent, nationally
during this same period, immigration court judges denied 66.7 percent
of asylum claims. In the Miami Immigration Court where Judge Marks Lane
was based, judges there denied asylum 88.5 percent of the time. See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)
Judge Marks Lane can also be ranked compared to each of the 526 individual immigration judges
serving during this period who rendered at least one hundred decisions in a city's immigration court. If judges were ranked
from 1 to 526 - where 1 represented the highest denial percent and 526
represented the lowest - Judge Marks Lane here receives a rank of 149. That is 148
judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 377 denied asylum at the same
rate or less often. Ranks are tallied separately for each immigration court. Should a judge serve on more than one court
during this period, separate ranks would be assigned in any court that the judge rendered at least 100 asylum decisions in.
Why Do Denial Rates Vary Among Judges?
Denial rates reflect in part the differing composition of cases assigned to
different immigration judges. For example, being represented in court and the nationality
of the asylum seeker appear to often impact decision outcome. Decisions also appear to
reflect in part the personal perspective that the judge brings to the bench.
Figure 3: Asylum Seeker Had Representation
If an asylum seeker is not represented by an
attorney, almost all (88%) of them are denied asylum. In contrast, a
significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful.
In the case of Judge Marks Lane, 8.8% were not
represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole,
about 19% of asylum seekers are not represented.
Asylum seekers are a
diverse group. Over one hundred different nationalities had at least one hundred
individuals claiming asylum decided during this period. As might be expected,
immigration courts located in different parts of the country tend to have
proportionately larger shares from some countries than from others. And, given
the required legal grounds for a successful asylum claim, asylum seekers
from some nations tend to be more successful than others.
Figure 4: Asylum Decisions by Nationality
For Judge Marks Lane, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before her came
from Honduras. Individuals from this nation made up 33.8 % of her caseload.
Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Marks Lane were:
Guatemala (27 %), Haiti (10.1%), Venezuela (9%), El Salvador (7.6%).
See Figure 4.
In the nation as a whole during this same period, major nationalities of asylum
seekers, in descending order of frequency, were El Salvador (18.1%), Guatemala (15.1%), Honduras (14.7%), Mexico (11.8%), China (10.2%), India (3.7%), Cuba (2.5%), Haiti (1.8%), Cameroon (1.5%), Venezuela (1.3%), Nepal (1.3%), Nicaragua (1.1%), Bangladesh (1.0%).