• March 03, 2017

Source: Vice News Tonight

Justices Weigh Agent’s Cross-Border Shooting of Mexican Teenager
  • March 03, 2017

Source: The New York Times by Adam Liptak

WASHINGTON — In a case that could further roil relations with Mexico, the Supreme Court considered on Tuesday whether the parents of a 15-year-old Mexican boy killed by an American border guard may sue in United States courts.

The teenager, Sergio Hernández Guereca, was on the Mexican side of the border when the guard, Jesus Mesa Jr., standing about 60 feet away in United States territory, shot him in the head.

A lawyer for the youth’s parents faced two kinds of hurdles at Tuesday’s argument. Even justices sympathetic to the parents appeared to be worried about the implications of a ruling in their favor, which would extend constitutional protections beyond the nation’s borders. And some justices suggested that any solution should come from Congress rather than the courts.

The lawyer, Robert C. Hilliard, said he sought only a narrow ruling. The Constitution applies abroad, he said, only when the challenged conduct starts in the United States, when the killer and the victim are both civilians, when the constitutional right at issue is the right to life, and when the foreign government supports the suit. Continue reading the main story

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Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said that this test as proposed by Mr. Hilliard was opportunistic rather than principled. “That’s a test that, surprisingly, fits the exact facts of your case,” he said with a note of sarcasm.

The chief justice said a ruling in the parents’ favor could have implications in many areas, including “a drone strike in Iraq where the plane is piloted from Nevada.”

Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the parents had “a very sympathetic case.” But he said it was hard to rule in their favor without considering the decision’s implications for many other cases.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. pressed Mr. Hilliard along those lines. “You need to give us a principle that is workable,” Justice Alito said.

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  • March 02, 2017

Explore our interactive map to learn more about the U.S. Border Patrol’s use of lethal force against unarmed victims, alleged rock-throwers and those running for their lives.