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U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on border shooting of Mexican teenager


  • Maria Guadalupe Huereca, left, and Sergio Adrian Hernandez, look at the coffin of their son, 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, during his 2010 wake in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The U.S. Supreme Court Feb. 21 heard oral arguments on whether Sergio's parents have the right to sue a U.S. Border Patrol agent who fired across the U.S.-Mexican border and killed their son. (CNS photo/Jesus Alcazar, EPA)
  • The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington is seen Jan. 31. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Supreme Court took on a U.S-Mexico border issue Feb. 21 when it examined if the parents of a Mexican teenager can sue the U.S. border agent who shot and killed their son.

During the oral arguments, the justices seemed divided over who was responsible for the action. Some of the justices stressed that it was a U.S. concern since the teen was shot by a U.S. agent; other justices said that since the 15-year-old died on the Mexican side of the border, the case should stay out of the U.S. courts.

The case involves the 2010 shooting Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca in the concrete culvert of the dry riverbed of the Rio Grande River separating El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Robert Hilliard, attorney for the victim's parents, told the court that the teenager was "barely across the border, unthreatening and unarmed" when agent Jesus Mesa shot him from across the concrete culvert.

The boy's family said they have been denied justice in U.S. courts since their son collapsed and died on the Mexican side of the border and was out of reach of U.S. constitutional protections.

After a number of court reversals, they are now seeking a Supreme Court ruling to allow them to bring a suit to Texas against the border agent. On the other side of the issue, the agent's attorneys and the U.S. government say it is not a U.S. issue and even warned that it could have broader implications.

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