Hernández v. Mesa and Police Liability for Youth Homicides Before and After the Death of Michael Brown
Criminal Law Bulletin
In a five-to-four decision announced in February of 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the parents of an unarmed fifteen-year-old Mexican national killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent in a cross-border shooting, cannot sue for damages in U.S. civil court. Here, we critique the majority and dissenting opinions and attempt to reconcile the strikingly different approach each used to resolve the case. Using a publicly available data set, we examine the homicide in Hernández v. Mesa, against the circumstances and context in which underage youth were killed by police within the United States over a five year period before, during and after the death of Michael Brown. The circumstances of the 121 cases suggest a greater need for police accountability if the justice system is to remain true to the protective “child saving” ideology that launched the founding of the juvenile court.
Original Publication Citation
Jones-Brown, D., Ruffin, J., Blount-Hill, K.-L., Dawson, A., & Cottrell, C. J. (2020). Hernández v. Mesa and police liability for youth homicides before and after the death of Michael Brown. Criminal Law Bulletin, 56(5), 833-871
Jones-Brown, Delores; Ruffin, Joshua; Blount-Hill, Kwan-Lamar; Dawson, Akiv; and Cottrell, Cicely J., "Hernández v. Mesa and Police Liability for Youth Homicides Before and After the Death of Michael Brown" (2020). Sociology & Criminal Justice Faculty Publications. 47.
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