Border Wrongful-Death Suit May Need Supreme Court Resolution


Attorneys for Araceli Rodriguez filed a wrongful-death lawsuit yesterday against the Border Patrol agent or agents who killed her son 21 months ago. The Arizona Republic says that in that time, mourning has turned into mounting anger as U.S. officials have denied or ignored her requests demanding to know who shot her son and why. The suit, which does not ask for specific damages, faces high legal hurdles. Resolution “could take many years,” said one of her attorneys, Lee Gelernt, of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The case, which involves shots fired from U.S. soil that killed a youth in another country, raises questions about whether and when U.S. constitutional protections extend beyond U.S. borders. Those questions may have to be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court,. The family of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez has worked hard to keep his death from fading away. Helped by civil-rights groups on both sides of the border, they have held vigils and marches and painted candles on the border fence in his memory.

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