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Court Divided Over Shooting of Mexican Teen at Border

Image: Court Divided Over Shooting of Mexican Teen at Border

Attorney Bob Hilliard, representing the family of Mexican teenager Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, speaks in front of the U.S. Supreme Court after presenting his argument on Feb. 21, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 Feb 2017 09:23 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided Tuesday over the shooting of a Mexican teenager who was killed across the border by a U.S. border agent in 2010.

Border agent Jesus Mesa was in El Paso when he shot and killed Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca, 15, who was on the Mexican side of the border, USA Today reported. Lower U.S. courts have ruled that Hernández and his parents lacked constitutional protection since the youth was in Mexico.

The Hernández family, who live in the border town of Juarez adjacent to El Paso, said their son was playing a game along the border when he was shot by the border agent, Bloomberg reported. The FBI had charged that youths were throwing rocks at agents, according to Bloomberg.

The parents charged that they should be able to sue Mesa under the U.S. Constitution's Fourth and Fifth Amendments, but U.S. officials declined to prosecute Mesa. The Obama administration rejected a previous request to extradite the border agent to Mexico.

USA Today reported that the liberal justices on the court appeared sympathetic to the family's predicament during oral arguments.

Conservative justices on the court, though, warned that carving out an exception for the teen could invite other claims by foreign nationals, including those seeking redress to U.S. drone strikes outside the country, USA Today reported.

Reuters reported that Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who has been the swing vote in numerous pivotal court cases, suggested that the resolution on how to compensate victims of cross-border shootings should lie with the U.S. and Mexican governments.

"You've indicated that there's a problem all along the border. Why doesn't that counsel us that this is one of the most sensitive areas of foreign affairs where the political branches should discuss with Mexico what the solution ought to be?" Kennedy asked the Hernandez family's lawyer, Robert Hilliard, according to Reuters.

Chief Justice John Roberts also questioned Hilliard on how a ruling in favor of the family would affect U.S. military operations overseas.

"How do you analyze the case of a drone strike in Iraq where the plane is piloted from Nevada? Why wouldn't the same analysis apply in that case?" Roberts asked Hilliard, according to Reuters.

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The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided Tuesday over the shooting of a Mexican teenager who was killed across the border by a U.S. border agent in 2010.
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2017-23-22
Wednesday, 22 Feb 2017 09:23 AM
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