Published Oct 19, 2023
Judge Maggard was appointed as an immigration judge in April 2009. He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1982 from Western Kentucky University; a masters of public administration in 1987 from Golden Gate University; a juris doctorate in 1990 from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law; and a master of laws degree in 1999 from the George Washington University. From July 2006 to April 2009, Judge Maggard served as an assistant chief counsel, ICE, DHS, in San Francisco. From July 1985 to July 2006, he served in the Air Force in many capacities including military judge, regional counsel, deputy regional counsel, deputy chief circuit defense counsel, area defense counsel, chief, military justice, and a member of the adjunct faculty at the Air Force Judge Advocate's School. He is a member of the California Bar.
Detailed data on decisions by Judge Maggard were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2018 through 2023. During this period, court records show that Judge Maggard decided 314 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, he granted asylum for 299, granted 2 other types of relief, and denied relief to 13. Converted to percentage terms, Maggard denied 4.1 percent and granted 95.8 percent of asylum cases (including forms of relief other than asylum).
Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Maggard's denial rate each fiscal year over this recent period. (Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)
Compared to Judge Maggard's denial rate of 4.1 percent, Immigration Court judges across the country denied 60.6 percent of asylum claims during this same period. Judges at the Sacramento Immigration Court where Judge Maggard decided these cases denied asylum 36.6 percent of the time. See Figure 2.
Judge Maggard'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.
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 Maggard, 4.5% were not represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole, about 15.7% 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.
The largest group of asylum seekers appearing before Judge Maggard came from Russia. Individuals from this country made up 43.3% of his caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Maggard were: India (16.2%), Mexico (9.9%), El Salvador (8.0%), Honduras (3.8%). 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%).