A federal appeals court was set to hear arguments Wednesday over whether a federal border patrol agent can be sued in U.S. courts for shooting across the border and killing a Mexican teenager in 2010.
The case is again before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans. That court sided with agent Jesus Mesa in 2015 but was told to take another look at constitutional issues in the case by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mesa was on the Texas side of the Mexican border when he shot 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca in June 2010. Exactly what happened has been in dispute, including whether the teen was throwing rocks.
Among issues in the case are whether the teen, a Mexican on Mexican soil, could claim violation of rights to due process under the Fifth Amendment and the right of “the people to be secure in their person” under the Fourth Amendment. Attorneys have also argued over whether Mesa, as a federal agent, has immunity from lawsuits in the case.
Both sides in the Mesa case are expected to argue over how a June decision by the Supreme Court affects their case. That 6-2 ruling held that Muslim men detained in harsh conditions in a Brooklyn jail after the Sept. 11 attacks can’t sue top U.S. law enforcement officials.
The death of Hernandez Guereca is one of two that have resulted in recent high-profile court cases. Parents of another teenager, killed in Nogales, Mexico, by a federal agent in a cross-border shooting have filed a pending civil rights lawsuit.
That case also has resulted in criminal charges. Prosecutors are pursuing second-degree murder charges against Agent Lonnie Swartz in the death of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, 16. Swartz was on the Arizona side of the border when he shot the teenager.
Source: Associated Press