CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (June 22, 2015) Today, three powerhouse law firms, Hilliard Munoz Gonzales, LLP, Hilliard & Shadowen, LLP and Gupta Wessler PLLC asked the United States Supreme Court to review the Fifth Circuit’s decision holding that a U.S. Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a Mexican teenager standing in Mexico from across the U.S. border had qualified immunity and could not be sued by the teen’s family.
Lawyers at Corpus Christi, Texas based Hilliard Munoz & Gonzalez, and at Austin, Texas based Hilliard & Shadowen LLP applaud the decision issued today by the federal district court in San Diego, California regarding the U.S. Border Patrol’s unlawful Rocking Policy. Under that policy, border patrol agents along the southern border were permitted to treat the alleged throwing of rocks at them as lethal force, regardless of the circumstances, and to shoot to kill in return.
Today the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a U.S. Border Patrol agent could not have reasonably known that it was wrong to shoot and kill an unarmed, unthreatening Mexican teenager who was standing just across the border in Mexico.
H&S and its affiliate HMG filed suit on behalf
of the family of Guillermo Arevalo Pedraza who died on September 3, 2012 on the
border between Nuevo Laredo, Mexico and Laredo, Texas. Mr. Arevalo was shot by
US Border Patrol agents from a boat on the Rio Grande River. At the time of the shooting, Mr. Arevalo was
barbecuing with his family at Nuevo Laredo Park on the sandy banks of the
Mexican side of the border. He was left
to die in the arms of his young daughter as the gunmen who opened fire into the
crowd of picnickers fled the scene.
Bob Hilliard and Steve Shadowen, principals at Texas law firm Hilliard Muñoz Gonzales LLP, and Hilliard Shadowen, LLP win a historic civil rights victory for the family of a 15-year-old boy killed by United States Border Patrol agents in El Paso. In a ruling today by the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, the court rejected the Border Patrol’s claim of immunity for its agents who fired the fatal shots across the border into Mexico.
Bowing to pressure from Congress, human rights organizations, and human rights litigation (including from Hilliard & Shadowen), the U.S. Border Patrol recently announced that it has amended its use-of-force policy to prohibit treating alleged rock-throwing as per se lethal force in response to which agents could shoot to kill.