On Apr. 7, 2010, a 15-year-old boy named Sergio Hernandez Guereca was shot and killed by Jesus Mesa, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. The scene took place at the U.S.-Mexico border, with Hernandez standing on the Mexican side and Mesa on the American end. Since Sergio's death, the Hernandez family has been on a mission to see Mesa face legal consequences for his actions. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard the case of Sergio Hernandez, the first case to be heard by the highest U.S. court under the Trump administration.
The primary legal issue surrounding Hernandez's death is the location in which it took place. Since the teen was on Mexican soil when he was struck, his family has had to sue for their right to sue Mesa. Lower courts dismissed their filings, arguing that persons outside U.S. territory are not protected by the American Constitution. However, reports have characterized the Supreme Court as "divided" on the case. Should the ruling end in a tie, the decision arrived to by the lower court would be upheld.
Not much is known about Hernandez. The account his friends and family have provided is that of a regular teen boy who, through bad luck, found himself in a terrible predicament. At the time of his death, Hernandez had allegedly been with three of his friends playing a game in which they'd run up to the fence separating the U.S. from Mexico, touch it, and quickly run back. Mesa allegedly grabbed the arm of one of Hernandez's friends, prompting Hernandez and another friend to hide behind a pillar. Hernandez was reportedly shot after he peered at Mesa from behind said pillar.
Mesa's lawyers initially claimed that Hernandez had been throwing rocks at their client and that Mesa had pulled the trigger in self-defense. A cellphone video capturing the incident disproved this, however.
"They don't want his name slaughtered throughout the media," said the family's lawyer. "We want our day in court to show — not just in court but worldwide — that this was a young kid, 15 years of age, who was, like you said, at the wrong place at the wrong time, and who was not involved in these criminal activities that some people are saying he was involved in."
The U.S. government has so far chosen to support Mesa; the Mexican government placed charges on him, but since he was never extradited, it never convicted him. The case comes at a time when the relationship between the United States and Mexico are particularly strained as a result of President Trump's insistence in building a wall separating the two countries.
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