Hernandez v Mesa

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Hernandez v Mesa

Hernandez v Mesa is a lawsuit about a 15-year-old Mexican teen (Adrian Hernandez) who was murdered by an American border patrol cop, Jesus Mesa. Hernandez and his classmates took turns hitting the fence that divides Mexico and the United States while playing on a culvert along the Rio Grande. Mesa arrived during the play, detained Hernandez's colleagues at the American borderline while Hernandez fled and took shelter at the Paso Del Norte Bridge (Howe 1). Mesa fired at Hernandez when he was on the American side of the line, killing him. Half a year after his demise, Hernandez's parents brought charges against Mesa in a Texan federal district court alleging that he contravened the Fifth and Fourth Amendments of the American Constitution by failing to be rational while handling the situation.

The Constitution Issues

The mentioned case addressed three major constitution issues. The first was whether the assertions of the Fourth Amendment regarding the use of lethal force were applicable beyond the American border and how law courts ought to make the determination. The other issue concerned whether immunity might be granted based on aspects such as the casualty's legal status, which was undiscovered by the border officer during the incident (Howe 1). The final issue was whether Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, which holds that law enforcement personnel are answerable if their actions infringe a person's statutory rights, correctly affirmed the plaintiff's claims in the case.

Divergent Viewpoints

Each side involved in this case offered divergent viewpoints from each other. While suing Mesa at the federal court for killing their son, Hernandez's parents (the plaintiffs) reasoned that the federal agent had infringed the Fifth and Fourth Amendments of the American Constitution by failing to use rational force when handling the incident and using lethal force (Howe 1). On the other hand, the defendant (Mesa) dismissed the plaintiffs' assertions and claimed that Hernandez never had constitutional protection since he was a foreigner without any attachments to American who was standing in Mexico at the time of his killing.

Supreme Judge's Argument

As a supreme judge involved in the case, I would argue that the plaintiffs could depend on Bivens when suing the plaintiff. Hernandez v Mesa is similar to Bivens because it arises across an international border, which in this case was a special border-related area. In my view, the Fourth Amendment protected Hernandez at the time of his shooting. Even though he was standing on the Mexican side, his position should not be dispositive. This is true when a few factors are considered. For instance, Mesa was a law-enforcement agent and a commission to which America contributes money to run the culvert. Besides, ruling that the Fourth Amendment never protected Hernandez is likely to result in anomalous outcomes. Notably, Mesa would be liable for killing Hernandez if the victim was on the American side of the culvert, but not if he was a few meters on the Mexican side of the drain, even if everything was the same.

The Dissent

In Hernandez v. Mesa, the court dissented with the district court's ruling that Mesa was immune from the plaintiffs' Fifth Amendment claims. In making the verdict, the court mentioned that Hernandez was a Mexican who had no links with America. However, they noted that the facts were irrelevant to Mesa's immunity from prosecution since he only realized that Hernandez was a Mexican after the incident. Independently, Justice Clarence mentioned that the plaintiffs could not rely on the Bivens since their situation dissimilar to those that arose in Bivens. By contrast, Justice Breyer and Ginsburg mentioned that the Fourth Amendment protected Hernandez despite being on the Mexican side. The judges concluded that Hernandez's location (standing alone) ought not to be dispositive.

Works Cited

"Hernandez v. Mesa." Oyez, www.oyez.org/cases/2016/15-118. Accessed 29 Jun. 2017.

Howe, Amy. “Opinion analysis: Court sends cross-border shooting lawsuit back to lower court.” SCOTUSblog, www.scotusblog.com/2017/06/opinion-analysis-court-sends-cross-border-shooting-lawsuit-back-lower-court/. Accessed 29 Jun. 2017.

January 18, 2023

Education World


Learning Americas

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Case Study Teenagers Mexico

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