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Judge Charles M. Honeyman
FY 2018 - 2023, Philadelphia Immigration Court

Published Oct 19, 2023

Judge Honeyman was appointed as an Immigration Judge in September 1995. Prior to his appointment to the Immigration Court in Philadelphia in March 2001, he served as an Immigration Judge at the Immigration Court in New York City from September1995 to March 2001. Judge Honeyman received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Roanoke College in 1971, a Master of Arts degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1975, a Masters of Public Policy degree from the University of Michigan in 1977, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Baltimore in 1981. From 1992 to 1995, he was a partner with Cohen & Honeyman Immigration Attorneys in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 1988 to 1992, he worked as an associate immigration attorney for Dechert, Price & Rhoads, also in Philadelphia. From 1986 to 1988, he was as an associate immigration attorney for Abrahams & Loewenstein in Philadelphia. Judge Honeyman was a partner with Gershberg, Honeyman & Pearl Immigration Attorneys from 1985 to 1986 in Baltimore, Maryland. Prior to that, from 1981 to 1985, he was an associate immigration attorney for Gordon & Heneson, also in Baltimore. He worked as an adjunct professor for Villanova University Law School in the fall of 1988 and 1989. Judge Honeyman is a member of the Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey Bars.

Deciding Asylum Cases

Detailed data on decisions by Judge Honeyman were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2018 through 2023. During this period, court records show that Judge Honeyman decided 271 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, he granted asylum for 154, granted 5 other types of relief, and denied relief to 112. Converted to percentage terms, Honeyman denied 41.3 percent and granted 58.6 percent of asylum cases (including forms of relief other than asylum).

Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Honeyman's denial rate each fiscal year over this recent period. (Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)

Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied

Nationwide Comparisons

Compared to Judge Honeyman's denial rate of 41.3 percent, Immigration Court judges across the country denied 60.6 percent of asylum claims during this same period. Judges at the Philadelphia Immigration Court where Judge Honeyman decided these cases denied asylum 54.7 percent of the time. See Figure 2.

Judge Honeyman's asylum grant and denial rates are compared with other judges serving on the same court in this table. Note that when an Immigration Judge serves on more than one court during the same period, separate Immigration Judge reports are created for any Court in which the judge rendered at least 100 asylum decisions.

Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)

Why Do Denial Rates Vary Among Judges?

Although denial rates are shaped by each Judge's judicial philosophy, denial rates are also shaped by other factors, such as the types of cases on the Judge's docket, the detained status of immigrant respondents, current immigration policies, and other factors beyond an individual Judge's control. For example, TRAC has previously found that legal representation and the nationality of the asylum seeker are just two factors that appear to impact asylum decision outcomes.

The composition of cases may differ significantly between Immigration Courts in the country. Within a single Court when cases are randomly assigned to judges sitting on that Court, each Judge should have roughly a similar composition of cases given a sufficient number of asylum cases. Then variations in asylum decisions among Judges on the same Immigration Court would appear to reflect, at least in part, the judicial philosophy that the Judge brings to the bench. However, if judges within a Court are assigned to specialized dockets or hearing locations, then case compositions are likely to continue to differ and can contribute to differences in asylum denial rates.


When asylum seekers are not represented by an attorney, almost all of them (80%) are denied asylum. In contrast, a significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful. In the case of Judge Honeyman, 11.8% were not represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole, about 15.7% of asylum seekers are not represented.

Figure 3: Asylum Seeker Had Representation


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.

The largest group of asylum seekers appearing before Judge Honeyman came from Guatemala. Individuals from this country made up 26.6% of his caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Honeyman were: El Salvador (12.9%), Honduras (9.6%), China (7.0%), Mexico (5.5%). 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 (16.6%), Guatemala (15.1%), Honduras (13.8%), Mexico (9.2%), China (6.8%), India (5.1%), Venezuela (3.2%), Ecuador (3.1%), Cuba (2.4%), Nicaragua (2.3%), Brazil (2.0%), Colombia (1.4%), Cameroon (1.4%).

Figure 4: Asylum Decisions by Nationality
TRAC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit data research center affiliated with the Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Whitman School of Management, both at Syracuse University. For more information, to subscribe, or to donate, contact trac@syr.edu or call 315-443-3563.