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Cross-Border Shooting Gets SCOTUS Look

May 28, 2019, 1:36 PM

The Supreme Court added to its already politically charged docket for next term by agreeing to hear a cross-border dispute involving the shooting death of a Mexican teenager by the U.S. Border Patrol.

The justices will consider whether the family of Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca, 15, can sue over his death in 2010.

His family says he was shot by border agent Jesus Mesa Jr. while playing a game that involved running into U.S. territory and then back to Mexico. Mesa fired from the U.S. side of the border, while Hernandez was on Mexican soil.

Lower federal courts have disagreed on whether such a suit is possible. A Texas-based federal court said Hernandez’s case couldn’t go forward, while a California-based one said a similar suit could be pursued.

Another cross-border shooting of a teenager by a different border agent in 2012 was also brought before the court, but the justices didn’t say whether they would hear the case. It’s likely the court will hold that one until the Hernandez dispute is decided next term.

Other hot-button cases up for review in the term beginning in October include the scope of anti-discrimination protections for LGBT workers and the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The case is Hernandez v. Mesa, U.S., No. 17-1678, granted 5/28/19

To contact the reporter on this story: Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at