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


After he was treated and released, he was taken into custody by Border Patrol agents and charged with immigration violations.

Images of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez's face on a wall in Nogales.

Border Patrol says that they will continue to warn against the dangers of undocumented immigrants crossing into the United States through "dangerous environmental conditions".

A Court of Appeals had ruled that the border patrol agent, Mesa, had qualified immunity, which means he can not be sued.

Hernandez's parents sued Mesa for damages, claiming that he violated their son's rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. USA authorities have asserted that Mesa shot Hernandez in self-defense.

In a petition to the Supreme Court, the family said of the federal appeals court decision: "If left standing, the 5th Circuit's decision will create a unique no-man's land - a law-free zone in which US agents can kill innocent civilians with impunity". Power given to law enforcement by the Constitution will be checked and reviewed, and, if excessive force is used, there will be constitutional consequences. "When they draw their weapons and aim across our border, they now know that this is not a free-killing zone".

That leaves the question of whether the teen's family can sue the U.S. Border Patrol agent who fired across the Rio Grande and killed him unanswered. Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, a 15-year-old Mexican national, was with a group of friends in the cement culvert that separate El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Hernandez ran across the culvert and stood by a pillar on the Mexican side.

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Mesa was entitled to qualified immunity.

The El Paso Times reports ( ) Border Patrol Agent Lorenzo Hernandez told authorities he was helping his mother at her food truck on June 9 when two men asked for a ride after their vehicle broke down.

The Hernandez family sued, but the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately found that Sergio could not claim a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights because he "had no "significant voluntary connection" to the U.S. and was "on Mexican soil at the time he was shot".

The Supreme Court said the 5th Circuit should evaluate the Bivens question based on its June 19 decision finding that immigrants detained after the September 11 attacks had no implied right of action to sue for alleged constitutional violations.

But the Supreme Court ruled that the circuit court was wrong to say Mesa had immunity, saying there was no way for Mesa to know before he fired that Hernandez was not a US citizen or on USA soil when he was killed.

The Supreme Court on Monday also ordered two other cases that touch upon immigrant rights to be argued for a second time in the fall so that Gorsuch can participate, likely breaking a tie vote.

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