Hunt for Justice by Cynthia Hunt
I thought I had misread The Washington Times headline:
“16 Illegals Sue Arizona Rancher:
Claim Violation of Rights as They Cross His Land”
It gets worse.
The 16 illegal immigrants sued Arizona rancher Roger Barnett for $32 million. They claimed he violated their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint as they illegally crossed his land. The invading illegals said the incident caused them emotional distress.
Now really hold on.
The jury awarded four of the female illegal immigrants $73,000 for four claims of assault and emotional distress.
“I couldn’t believe it,” 64-year-old Barnett told me in a phone interview. “Americans need to get involved. It’s going to be frightening. Pay attention to what’s happening in our country.”
Rancher’s Attorney Believes Mexican Government Money Behind Lawsuit
The Rancher’s attorney, David T. Hardy, says we will see more lawsuits whenever ranchers become too successful at stopping the illegal traffic on their land. Barnett has caught and turned over 12,000 illegal immigrants who were trespassing on his land to border patrol. (picture shows a group of 60 illegal immigrants Barnett found on his land and turned over to border patrol)
“It’s pretty obvious that MALDEF (The Mexican American Legal and Education Fund) targeted Roger because he was so prominent on border issues,” Hardy said.
But Hardy told me something even more disturbing in our interview: “I suspect the Mexican government may have been behind this as well because of the enormous amount of money spent.”
Illegals’ 9 Attorneys Versus American’s 2
Hardy says he and one assistant defended Barnett while the illegal immigrants had nine attorneys on their case. For that small two-person defense team, Barnett has had to spend a large chunk of his own money to pay his almost $100,000 in legal bills.
Also, whoever was behind the lawsuit had to locate all 16 illegal immigrants and get them to testify long after the incident. Do you have any concept how hard that would be?
As a reporter, I covered the railroad serial killer, Angel Maturino Resendiz, as he crossed the border into Texas again and again to kill. He was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List and our government failed to detect him even when he was caught by Border Patrol in 1999. Things have improved some since then, but as a journalist I can tell you it would take power from the Mexican government to track down this many illegal immigrants months after they were deported by Border Patrol. Some would go home, but many would cross back into the United States to work in the shadows of our broken system.
Rancher Says Illegals Killed His Cows, Trashed his Property & Left Dead Behind
Barnett says he is the real victim here. He said illegals dump plastic on his land and, before he can stop it, his cows eat the plastic. He has watched four die a painful death after eating the illegals’ trash. (picture shows trash dumped by illegal immigrants on Barnett's ranch)
Barnett and his wife had refurbished a mobile home and put it on the middle of their large ranch to use as a getaway home. Illegals broke into the home and built a fire on the floor, even though there was a working propane stove. Instead of using the bathroom, they defecated on the floors.
The most disturbing thing to Barnett is that when one illegal dies crossing on his ranch, the rest just leave the body there. “We get phone calls from people from Mexico looking for the bodies of loved ones,” Barnett said.
Why in the World Did a Federal Judge Allow this Lawsuit to Continue?
The relatively few Americans who have heard about this case were outraged that a judge allowed it to proceed. But even Barnett’s attorney Hardy says U.S. laws forced the judge to allow the lawsuit. He says a 1787 law extended federal courts to illegal immigrants, and in 1866, Congress outlawed discrimination against aliens. Barnett says these outdated laws are not the real problem. He cannot believe the federal government, in 2009, isn’t protecting our borders.
“Our government has let myself and citizens down. They haven’t performed their duties like they should. It’s mind boggling they don’t get more serious,” the aging rancher says.
Who Are The Illegals Who Sued the Rancher?
•One man admitted he has illegally entered the United States 8 times. U.S. records document 5 of those.
•Another man had been convicted of felony drug distribution.
•The defense proved the illegal immigrants had been robbed and sexually assaulted by Mexican bandits as they tried to cross the border. They didn’t sue the bandits who committed those terrible crimes. They sued the rancher who stopped them on his land. (picture shows one of the many large quanities of marijuana found with illegal immigrants Barnett has stopped on his ranch).
The Rancher & His Gun & His Appeal
Hardy, a well known Second Amendment expert, says Barnett was well within the laws to pull his gun on the 16 aliens. The law says you may pull a gun when you think you may be in danger, and he says any reasonable American would pull a gun when they ran into 16 illegal aliens.
Hardy says the judge did not give the jury this instruction on self-defense. He expects the $73,000 awarded to 4 illegal immigrants to be turned over on appeal. The attorney says he has bigger concerns about this case. He is convinced our nation has stopped protecting its citizens, and he's concerned the media is failing in its job to tell Americans what is happening on our borders.
“I found the media coverage mystifying. No local papers showed up. The AP reporter showed up the last day,” Hardy said.
What Do You Americans Think?
As a journalist, I’ve lived in Texas for the last decade. I’ve covered stories where homeowners have shot people on their property at night and been legally cleared as they were protecting themselves against an intruder. The so-called Castle Doctrine laws are very protective of a homeowner protecting his life and property so when I read this case I was truly shocked that an American had to spend a small fortune to defend himself against a case that all the facts show was orchestrated.
Every allegation the illegals made the rancher was able to disprove. They told the jury wild stories about their emotional injuries left by this man, yet they had no proof of any of it. The Border Patrol says Barnett was calm when they found him as he usually is when turning over a group. Yet these illegals claimed they had post-traumatic stress disorder from the few minutes Barnett had them. The illegals claimed Barnett told them things in Spanish that he doesn’t even know the words to say.
Barnett says he will continue to protect his land. His wife Barbara rarely stays by herself in their ranch home because of the illegals that our government fails to stop. Barnett continues to drive across his ranch looking for the illegal immigrants who are ruining his land. He carries water with him as they often need help.
Barnett cannot believe the great United States is not protecting its borders.
He cannot believe he had to spend a fortune defending himself against a lawsuit by illegal immigrants and now must rely on a defense fund to help him.
He cannot believe that he has to continue to protect his own ranch as great risk to himself.
He worries about this nation and gave me this warning, “If they don’t to something really quickly, this country is lost.”