Rancher + Illegal Immigrants + Show of Force = New Case for Supremes

Remember the rancher who was sued by 16 illegal immigrants? The 9th Circuit has upheld the lower court’s decision against the rancher:

A federal appeals court has upheld $78,000 in damages to illegal immigrants who were held at gunpoint by a rancher in the southern Arizona desert, a case that prompted death threats against a federal judge who was fatally shot last month in Tucson.

The case is not so much about the judge (Judge Roll, who was killed in the attack on Representative Giffords) but that the angle which this particular story works. Back the hard data, now:

The jury rejected the civil rights claims but awarded damages to four plaintiffs, all women, for assault, infliction of emotional distress and punitive damages for malicious conduct. Barnett argued in his appeal that Roll should have let the jury decide whether he had acted in self-defense.

“When he came across them, he didn’t know who they were,” attorney John Kaufmann said Friday. “They could have been coyotes (immigrant smugglers) or drug smugglers. When he didn’t know who was coming upon, he had the right to pull the weapon.”

But the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld Roll’s refusal to present the self-defense issue to the jury.

No civil rights claim, but here is some punishment for being a frightening person man. What? Leaving aside the ludicrousness the idea that one person might feel sufficiently concerned for himself when faced with 16 people (who were unlawfully in his country and on/near his properly) that he would arm himself to equalize matters, there is the whole question of criminals profiting from their crimes? If they were here illegally, as no one seems to question, how are they able to benefit from this judgment financially since by so doing they receive reward for criminal behavior?

Then again, maybe I should just call the ABA’s new hotline and get the answer for that one.