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Ruling On Border Patrol Agent's Immunity Claim At Texas Border Has Arizona Impact

The U.S. Supreme Court is balking at a lower appeals court’s approval of an immunity claim by a Border Patrol agent who killed a 15-year-old boy on the Mexico side of the U.S. border outside of El Paso, Texas. 

It directly impacts a similar case in Arizona where the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has waited to hear the Supreme Court’s decision. 

In 2010, Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz fired more than a dozen shots across the Nogales border into Mexico at 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez.

Swartz claimed the boy was throwing rocks at the agent when he opened fire.

But, an autopsy report showed the teen was shot 11 times in the back of the head as he was turned away from the officer.

Swartz has admitted to the shooting, but his attorney has borrowed the same argument of immunity as in the Texas Border Patrol shooting.

In that case, the lower court had ruled the victim’s family rights for a wrongful death claim was not valid because the Rodriguez was a Mexican national, standing on Mexican soil when he was shot, and with no significant connection to the U.S.

The U.S. Supreme Court justices called that assumption legally baseless and sent the lower court back to review its own decision.

Until it re-emerges in October, or possibly later, Arizona’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will likely wait on making its decision.

Holliday Moore is a native Arizonan and veteran journalist who joined KJZZ’s news team in January 2017.Moore graduated from Arizona State University after double majoring in mass communications and marketing/management. She spent her first two decades reporting for television news, beginning in small markets and working up to congressional correspondent in Washington, D.C., for a political news service.Family commitments in Arizona brought her back to the Southwest, where she covered legislative and court beats for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV and the infamous Four Corner Manhunt as KREZ-TV’s managing editor.Back home in Phoenix, she developed ABC15’s “Democracy Project,” now instituted at all Scripps’ news stations nationwide. Her work garnered “Best Practices” recognition by the Poynter Institute and the prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.Her television reports, from sports to cultural issues, earned her multiple Emmy and Associated Press nominations, including a Rocky Mountain Emmy for her Hopi Partition Land Act coverage.As she started a family, Moore started her own media production agency, producing magazine-style travel stories for the Emmy-winning Arizona Highways Television show while working part time for a Valley radio station. She is convinced radio is where visual, sound, and print are merging through deeper storytelling. In her relatively short time with radio network affiliates, she has won four Edward R. Murrow Awards and multiple nominations from other professional news societies.Moore now teaches advanced broadcast writing to the next generation of reporters at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where a high percentage have gone on to receive national awards for their work in her class. She enjoys being back home near childhood friends and sharing the beautiful Arizona desert with her husband and young son.