Attorney Zulu Ali, founder and principal of the Law Offices of Zulu Ali & Associates, LLP, the largest Black-owned law firm in California’s Inland Empire, won a landmark decision establishing the standard to present claims under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which he argued before the United States Court of Appeals on behalf of his client, Eric Blancos Hermosillo, a foreign national, in the case of Eric Hermosillo v. United States Attorney General Merrick Garland.

On September 14, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided in a published 2-1 decision that after reinstatement of a 1999 removal order, Blancas Hermosillo expressed a fear of returning to his country of origin prompting an asylum officer to conduct a reasonable fear screening interview to determine whether Blancas Hermosillo should be allowed to establish his claims at a hearing before a Judge on his application for relief under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. 

Consequently, Blancas Hermosillo was denied a hearing and never had the opportunity to fully present his case in light of his expression of fear. The court agreed with attorney Ali and remanded the case with instructions to provide a hearing under the United Nations Convention Against Torture before a judge. The decision establishes the standard as to the right to present a claim under the United Nations Convention Against Torture before a judge.

Attorney Ali comments: “I have been arguing this position for years with stern opposition. Persons seeking protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, like my client, Mr. Blancos Hermosillo, have long been denied their rights. They get cut off right out of the gate with no remedy just to face death with no real options. This win shows what you can do with the right passion, consistency, faith, and hard work. My staff did a great job in assisting me in this case. Justice delayed is still Justice”.