Well if you enjoy abusing undocumented Immigrants as they cross the Arizona desert, have at it, apparently you won’t have to worry about a civil judgment for punitive damages according to Arizona’s fiftieth legislature.
Jim Weiers a Republican legislator out of Phoenix had a hell of an idea, let’s create a law that will erase one guys judgment in Arizona and let’s bury it in a cosmetology bill (HB2191) as a striker. But for that, the law would have to turn back the clock seven years. According to Weiers the law just corrects an oopsie that was made when prop 102 an Arizona initiative denying undocumented Immigrants the ability to collect punitive damages was not made retroactive.
The language that appeared on the ballot:
A person who wins a civil lawsuit may receive two types of damages-compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the injured party for the injuries sustained by making good or replacing the loss caused by the injury. Punitive damages are awarded in excess of compensatory damages to punish the person sued for a serious wrong and to discourage others from engaging in similar wrongful conduct.
Proposition 102 would prohibit a person who wins a civil lawsuit from receiving punitive damages if the person is present in this state in violation of federal immigration law related to improper entry.
I ask you, since when do we in good conscience, utilize voter initiatives or state mandated laws to wipe out judgments rendered by our courts against one person?
Well according to Weiers prop 102 should have done just that. I’m not sure when, or if, Weiers met with Barnett, but one would think that at some time or another Barnett cried his heart out to Weiers and/or others about how he had been unjustly found guilty of abusing Immigrants and that as a result of such, he had a judgment pending for $77,000.00.
It’s not like Barnett’s an angel or new at this Immigrant abusing game. He and his brother have been chasing Immigrants on rented Federal land and public roads for years. They boast that they have accosted and held thousands in their career as alleged vigilantes and private border guards while on their excursions that some call Mexican hunts.
Just imagine, Barnett’s brother Don worked as a deputy sheriff during the 70′s and 80′s. Lord have mercy! Can you imagine what a guy like him did with a badge and a gun did during his patrols?
In an interview with High Country News in 2000, Don Barnett, Roger’s brother and hunting partner displays his animosity towards Immigrants.
Like many border natives, he remembers when citizens of both countries casually crossed la linea, to drink or shop or work. The Mexicans were different in those days, Barnett says. “They acted like human beings. I guess they had respect then,” he tells me. “Now they’re trespassing. They’re animals.”
When “ranchers” become so desensitized, that they call women, children, and unarmed men animals, for crossing the border looking for employment, you can only imagine how they treat those same Immigrants while in their custody.
Back in 2000 Sheriff Larry Devers weighed in on the Barnett brothers. His comments clearly display the power these ranchers and tow truck owners have over local law enforcement.
The sheriff of Cochise County may have the best perspective on the whole strange trip. Along with Cochise County Attorney Chris Roll, Larry Dever has been criticized for the government’s failure to prosecute the Barnetts. At times, the sheriff sounds like he views the Barnetts as unofficial deputies. But Dever, like other officials, also says that nobody wants to move against the Barnetts unless the case is bulletproof. The Barnetts have been careful so far about not stepping too far over the line – or at least careful not to leave evidence when they do, he says.
Unofficial deputies? Well, the Barnetts admit that they have impersonated border patrol by wearing uniforms almost identical to those worn by border patrol, but with their own minuteman logo. Here’s a clip from that same 2000 interview with High Country News.
Barnett says he and his brother have never drawn their guns when they’ve rounded up border crossers on their land. But they do wear patches that look exactly like those worn by Border Patrol agents, the only difference being that the Barnetts’ patches say “Patriot Patrol.” Understandably, the migrants often believe the brothers are U.S. federales. On one occasion, Roger reportedly threw one of the migrants to the ground and threatened him. More than once, the brothers have taken their activities beyond the confines of the ranch to capture migrants traveling on a nearby public road.
Remember, this was in the year 2000. Eleven years later these seasoned vigilantes not only hunt down Immigrants, but they’re capable of erasing judgments by using legislators to do their dirty work.
What has Arizona become? Apparently Casey Nethercott another vigilante thought he could get in on the action after having been convicted criminally on Federal charges related to a pistol whipping and abuse incident similar to Roger Barnett’s case that actually landed him in prison for two years and caused him to lose his ranch based on a judgment rendered against him to the tune of $850,000.00.
Nethercott recently petitioned a Cochise county judge to nullify the judgment rendered against him in 2005. The judge shot down Nethercotts attempt to take advantage of the retroactive law. Apparently the law is meant to help one man, and only one man, Roger Barnett. Arizona’s famous alleged pistol whipper and Immigrant abuser.
Carlos E. Galindo is a radio talk show host & political analyst conducting radio shows in both English and Spanish on four radio stations in Arizona. Mr. Galindo is a weekly contributor to KPFK 98.7 FM Los Angeles and has appeared on CNN, Univision and Telemundo as a political analyst. Mr. Galindo is also an Op-Ed columnist on Prensa Hispana Arizona. www.nospinonair.com/http://www.carlosgalindo.com
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