U.S. Supreme Court to decide on border shooting case involving Arizona agent

Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, 15, of Mexico was fatally shot from across the border by a U.S. Border Patrol agent in June 2010.
/Facebook photo, Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca page

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide whether Border Patrol agents can be sued by the survivors of those who they shoot and kill on the other side of the border.

In a brief order, the justices said they want to hear arguments about whether federal courts can wade in on cases where the death occurred outside the United States – cases in which courts generally have no jurisdiction – if there are allegations that a “rogue” federal law enforcement officer violated the victim’s rights and there is no other legal remedy available to the family.

Officially, the case the justices are using to decide the issue involves a 2010 incident where Jesus Mesa Jr., a Border Patrol agent, shot and killed 15-year-old Sergio Andrian Hernandez Guereca. Mesa was on the United States side of the border in El Paso; Hernandez was on the other side of a culvert in Mexico.

But whatever the justices rule also will determine whether Aracelli Rodriguez can pursue her claim in federal court in Arizona following the 2012 shooting death of her son, Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez.

As in the Texas case, the teen, 16 at the time, was in Mexico when Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz shot him by firing through the fence at Nogales.

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