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Supreme Court Sends Cross-Border Shooting Case Back To Lower Court

Maria Guadalupe Guereca, 60, visits a grave of her son Sergio Hernandez Guereca during a Jardines del Recuerdo tomb in Juarez, Mexico, progressing this year. Her son was shot by a U.S. representative opposite a limit in 2010.

Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images


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Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

Maria Guadalupe Guereca, 60, visits a grave of her son Sergio Hernandez Guereca during a Jardines del Recuerdo tomb in Juarez, Mexico, progressing this year. Her son was shot by a U.S. representative opposite a limit in 2010.

Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

Can a family of a slain Mexican teen sue a sovereign representative who shot him across a U.S.-Mexico limit for damages? The U.S. Supreme Court did not answer this doubt on Monday, instead opting to send a box behind to a reduce court.

The box centers on a incomparable question: either a Constitution extends insurance to an particular who is killed on unfamiliar soil, even yet that chairman is station usually a few yards outward a United States.

It also tests a long-held doctrine, called a Bivens action, in that plaintiffs are available to sue sovereign officials for violation inherent law. But that doctrine had never been practical outward a bounds of a United States.

In verbal arguments in February, some justices were endangered that creation U.S. agents probable for their actions taken in a unfamiliar republic could be extended to, say, a residence full of noncombatants killed by a U.S. worker strike in Pakistan.

Bob Hilliard, a Texas profession for a Mexican teen’s family, argued that a preference could be crafted in such a approach as to usually residence a legally deceptive U.S.-Mexico borderlands, where this lethal sharpened took place.

In 2010, some Mexican youths were personification a diversion of hastily opposite a petrify riverbed between El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, to hold a U.S. limit fence. A Border Patrol agent, Jesus Mesa Jr., arrived on a bicycle and incarcerated one of a youths. Claiming he was a aim of stone throwers, Mesa — who was station on a U.S. side — pulled his handgun and shot 15-year-old Sergio Hernandez Guereca in a conduct as he peeked out from behind a petrify post on a Juarez side of a general culvert.

Supreme Court To Decide If Mexican Nationals May Sue For Border Shooting

The family claimed a representative disregarded Hernandez’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights opposite lethal force, even yet he was a noncitizen. Hilliard, a Corpus Christi counsel representing Hernandez’s family, warned opposite formulating “a singular no-man’s land — a law-free section in that U.S. agents can kill trusting civilians with impunity.”

The FBI privileged Agent Mesa of wrongdoing, and a supervision has shielded his shield from polite lawsuits.

Hernandez had been arrested twice in a U.S. for tellurian bootlegging and expelled since he was a juvenile, though a representative didn’t know that when he shot him underneath a left eye.

A Court of Appeals had ruled that a Border Patrol agent, Mesa, had competent immunity, that means he can't be sued. But in today’s opinion, a justices vacated that ruling.

The Supreme Court pronounced a reduce justice done a mistake when it found Mesa had competent immunity. The reduce court’s motive stressed that Hernandez was not a U.S. citizen, that a justices contend that Mesa did not know when he shot him.

The justice also settled that another box that it motionless final week, Ziglar v. Abbasi, could have temperament on Hernandez v. Mesa, that a reduce justice would not have considered.

The final preference has a intensity to impact not usually a Hernandez family, though several other Mexican families who were watchful to record polite suits opposite sovereign officers for cross-border shootings of their desired ones.

The Border Patrol altered a use-of-force policies in a arise of Hernandez’s genocide and other argumentative cross-border shootings of purported stone throwers. Agents are now urged, if during all possible, to pierce out of operation of thrown projectiles.