Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Robin Nunn and her colleagues at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP help win asylum for a Honduran human rights activist. Ana Patricia Centeno Caceres, a social and human rights activist from Honduras, was persecuted in her native country on account of her sexual orientation, and because she fought the discrimination of women, gay men, and lesbians. She fled Honduras after being harassed, threatened, and sexually assaulted. Once in the United States, Ms. Centeno, unable to afford the high cost of private counsel, contacted Human Rights First for legal assistance. After an in-depth intake interview, HRF accepted her case into its asylum legal representation program. HRF assigned Ms. Centeno's case to Robin Nunn and her colleagues at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Before joining Sullivan & Cromwell LLP as an Associate Attorney, Ms. Nunn clerked at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. During her clerkship, it became strikingly evident to Ms. Nunn that pro se asylum seekers were rarely successful. Ms. Nunn felt that it was fundamentally unfair that a person facing such severe and dire consequences would not have access to appointed counsel. Over the course of two and a half years, Ms. Nunn and four of her colleagues diligently worked on Ms. Centeno's case. The five pro bono attorneys gathered evidence of the hostile environment toward gays in Honduras, secured an expert witness, and after three separate merits hearings in immigration court the immigration judge granted Ms. Centeno's asylum claim. Unfortunately, this was not the end of Ms. Centeno's ordeal, as the DHS attorney appealed the immigration judge's grant of asylum. The pro bono attorneys continued to work on Ms. Centeno's behalf, appealing her case to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Ms. Centeno finally won a grant of asylum in the United States in May 2009.