He Shot Boy Across Mexico Border; Case Heads to SCOTUS

Can foreigners have their day in American courts?
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 20, 2017 12:19 PM CST
SCOTUS Weighs US Agent Who Shot Boy Across Mexico Border
In this Feb. 14, 2017 photo, The Supreme Court is seen at day's end in Washington. The Supreme Court on Tuesday is hearing an appeal to a case involving a 2010 shooting of a Mexican boy by a U.S. Border Patrol Agent.    (J. Scott Applewhite)

Sixty feet and the US-Mexico border separated the unarmed, 15-year-old Mexican boy and the US Border Patrol agent who killed him with a gunshot to the head in 2010. US officials chose not to prosecute Agent Jesus Mesa Jr., and the Obama administration refused to extradite him so that he could face criminal charges in Mexico. When the parents of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca tried to sue Mesa in an American court for violating their son's rights, federal judges dismissed their claims, reports the AP. The Supreme Court on Tuesday is hearing the parents' appeal, which their lawyers say is their last hope for justice. The legal issues are different, but the case resembles the court battle over President Trump's travel ban in one sense: Courts are weighing whether foreigners can have their day in US courts.

Sergio's family says he was messing around with friends that day, playing a game in which they ran down a culvert from the Mexican side and up the US side to touch an 18-foot fence. Mesa arrived and detained one person while the others scampered back across. He shot Sergio as the boy ran toward a bridge pillar. Mesa and other agents who arrived rode away, without checking on the boy or offering medical aid, the family says. Had Sergio been shot a few feet north, he would have been on American soil and US courts would be open to his family, said Robert Hilliard, the family's lawyer. The Trump administration, like its predecessor, is arguing that the location of Hernandez's death, in Mexico, should be the end of the story. The right to sue "should not be extended to aliens injured abroad," the government said in its court filing. (More US-Mexico border stories.)

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