Saturday, February 5, 2011

Court upholds verdict against Arizona rancher who detained illegal immigrants on his land

Court upholds verdict against Arizona rancher who detained illegal immigrants on his land - Los Angeles Times

A federal appeals court has upheld a controversial verdict that an Arizona rancher must pay $87,000 to four illegal immigrants he detained at gunpoint while they were crossing his property.

The ruling Thursday from a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco found that the 2009 civil judgment against rancher Roger Barnett was proper and that the jury should not have been instructed that they could find Barnett acted in self-defense.

"Appellant himself conceded on the stand, however, that none of the plaintiffs were armed or threatened him in any other way," the judges wrote in their ruling. "As a result, the evidence adduced at trial did not support a self-defense instruction."

This is the second verdict against Barnett, whose attempts to keep illegal immigrants off his land in southeastern Arizona have won him praise and condemnation. In 2008, the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a nearly $100,000 judgment against the rancher for detaining a family of Latino U.S. citizens — including two children — at gunpoint.

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