HERNANDEZ v. MESA HEADED BACK TO THE UNITED STATE SUPREME COURT
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (May 28, 2019) Bob Hilliard announced today that, for the second time, the United States Supreme Court has granted his request on behalf of his client to determine if a Mexican citizen standing in Mexico has protections against being wrongly shot by a border patrol agent standing in the United States.
Fifteen-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca an unarmed teenager, was playing with his friends in a cement culvert near the U.S./Mexico border and was shot in the head in June 2010 by U.S. Border Patrol, agent, Jesus Mesa, Jr. The Hernandez family is represented by Bob Hilliard, Steve Shadowen and Stephen Vladeck.
Said Bob Hilliard, the lead attorney representing the Hernandez family, “The justices knew that they must once again tackle this issue head on, and it appears they have decided that this time it’s time. The 5th circuit’s circuitous opinion offers no clarity or consistency for either side—and the deadly practice of agents, standing in the United States and shooting innocent kids across the border must be stopped. It’s never right. It’s never constitutional. This is one of those times when morality and our U.S. constitution line up perfectly.”
The lower courts dismissed the Hernández family’s claims. In a divided en banc decision, the Fifth Circuit held that the Hernández family could not assert a claim under the Fourth Amendment because Hernández was a Mexican citizen who was on Mexican territory at the time of the shooting. Hernández’s family appealed this decision to the Supreme Court. On October 11, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and asked the parties to brief the additional question of whether the Hernandez family has a right to sue for damages under Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). The Court heard oral argument on February 21, 2017 and on June 26, 2017, the Court issued a per curiam opinion, sending the case back to the Fifth Circuit to reconsider the Bivens question in light of the Court’s decision earlier in the Term in Ziglar v. Abbasi.
On Marcy 19, 2019 the full Fifth Circuit affirmed the lower courts’ dismissal of the case thereby declining to expand the ability for individual federal officials to be sued for damages and ruling against allowing a family to sue a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent who shot and killed the Mexican teen.
Today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the issue again, so as to determine when the plaintiffs plausibly allege that a rogue federal law-enforcement officer violated clearly established Fourth and Fifth amendment rights for which there is no alternative legal remedy, whether the federal courts can and should recognize a damages claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
Hilliard Martinez Gonzales LLP (HMG) specializes in mass torts, personal injury, product liability, commercial and business litigation, and wrongful death. Hilliard Martinez Gonzales LLP has been successfully representing clients in the United States and Mexico since 1986. Bob Hilliard obtained the Largest Verdict in the country in 2012 and the #1 verdict in Texas, he currently is co-lead counsel in the single biggest litigation in US history, GM’s ignition switch defect litigation, currently pending in the Southern District of New York.
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