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Immigration Clinic Students Halt Deportation of Torture Victim

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2L Immigration Clinic students Dana Turjman and Adam Hoock with their client.

2L Immigration Clinic students Dana Turjman and Adam Hoock with their client. (Photo: Miami Law) Full-Size Photo

Second-year Miami Law students and Immigration Clinic interns Adam Hoock and Dana Turjman successfully prevented the deportation of a businessman who was tortured in Mexico by government authorities.

The executive of a currency exchange company explained to the court how he was the victim of waterboarding, electric shocks, and injection of a toxic substance during an investigation of suspected money laundering activities. The evidence included live testimony, a medical evaluation, media reports, and a Mexican court document in which one of the torturers was identified.

At the end of a hearing at Krome Service Processing Center in November, Immigration Judge Denise Slavin granted relief under the Convention Against Torture, which prevents the deportation of people likely to suffer torture. After more than eight months in detention, the Clinic's client was released on Christmas Eve.

"When we were first assigned the case, Adam and I were shocked by what had happened to our client and overwhelmed by the prospect of handling his case," said Turjman. "Our client finally got his day in court and we are thrilled by the result."

The students prepared all aspects of the case from start to finish and conducted all hearings held in the case. "The stakes were incredibly high. Our client would surely have be tortured again if we had lost the case," said Rebecca Sharpless, Director of the Immigration Clinic. "Dana and Adam worked tirelessly to present the best case possible for their client."

"What happened to our client was a nightmare. The court heard and understood his story," said Hoock. "He can now begin the long process of putting the past behind him and reconstructing his life."

The Immigration Clinic is part of Miami Law's Clinical Program, which allows students to engage in the practice of law under attorney supervision. Students interested in joining a clinic can apply in the spring semester for the following year. Clinics are also offered during the summer. The online application process for all clinics will open on January 27.