US v. Nicholson, 08-6347, concerned a defendant's second appeal of the district court's second denial of his petition for habeas relief, claiming that he was deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel because his lawyer had an actual conflict of interest. In reversing the denial and remanding the matter for resentencing, the court held that defendant is entitled to section 2255 relief because a self-defense departure motion was inherently in conflict with interests of counsel's other client, and thus, defendant has proven the necessary link between the counsel's conflict of interest and his failure to move for a self-defense departure. Furthermore, the government's suggestion that defendant's habeas corpus petition is moot because he has no chance of successfully pursuing a self-defense departure on resentencing is rejected.
Lin v. Holder, 09-1269, concerned a Chinese citizen's petition for review of the BIA's denial of his application for asylum and related relief, arising from events involving China's one-child policy. In granting the petition, the court held that the IJ's adverse credibility determination was erroneously predicated on unrelated facts derived from another case, which is manifestly contrary to law and constitutes an abuse of discretion, and this was not harmless error.