Issue December 2010

December 2010

SJC rules on public construction bidding laws

On May 10, 2010, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) issued a decision which interpreted the application of the commonwealth's public construction competitive bidding laws to a situation in which a public university contracted with a private party for the development and maintenance of a newly constructed dormitory, by entering into a long-term lease.

Tidelands, submerged lands and public rights:

In a unanimous, populist decision that navigates closer to immortality the public's rights in current and former tidelands, Joseph V. Arno v. Commonwealth,1 required the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to consider the interplay between the commonwealth's system of land registration2 and the public's longstanding rights in geographic areas known as tidelands.

Taking a second look at children’s asylum claims

In a surprising reversal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit recently vacated its April 6, 2010 decision1 in Mejilla-Romero v. Holder upholding the denial of asylum to a child. At a panel rehearing Aug. 6, 2010, the court remanded the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) with instructions to reconsider its decision de novo in light of its failure to apply child-sensitive administrative guidelines and international norms for adjudicating children's asylum claims.2 The two panel decisions mark the first time the First Circuit has invoked the guidelines.

Obtaining an FBI criminal background check

Attorneys, especially those in the immigration field, need to review their client's criminal history in a thorough manner. Clients are incomplete reporters of their criminal history, and it is not unknown to "forget" a previous removal case. This lack of accurate information can lead to an attorney placing the client in an untenable position by applying for a benefit the attorney believes the client is eligible for based on the information at hand.