Court upholds 2009 ruling vs. Arizona rancher
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a 2009 ruling against Arizona rancher Roger Barnett, forcing him to pay about $87,000 in damages related to his assault of illegal immigrants on his ranch in 2004.
The court ruled Thursday that Barnett was not entitled to claim self defense because he admitted that none of the illegal immigrants had threatened or attacked him.
In February 2009, a federal jury issued a split verdict in a case against Barnett stemming from the 2004 incident. The jury found that he didn’t violate the group’s civil rights and that he wasn’t liable on claims of battery and false imprisonment.
The late U.S. District Judge John Roll, who was one of six killed in the Jan. 8 mass shooting in Tucson, presided over the February 2009 trial. He received death threats and was under around-the-clock protection while hearing the case.
This is the second ruling against Barnett upheld by an appeals court. In February 2008, the Arizona Court of Appeals refused to throw out a jury verdict of guilty from November 2006 — and a nearly $100,000 monetary award — against Barnett in another civil case in which a jury concluded he falsely imprisoned members of a Douglas family.
In that case, Barnett held a family of Latino U.S. citizens at gunpoint, screaming racial slurs at them and threatened to kill them all, including two girls aged 9 and 11, according to a press release from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
The organization said the 9th Circuit decision sends an important message that “vigilantes” do not have a right to harass illegal immigrants.
Barnett is credited with helping to start the Minuteman movement in Arizona in the late 1990s when he began patrolling ranch lands near Douglas, looking to stop illegal immigrants. Barnett has said he’s detained thousands of border crossers on property he owns or leases near Douglas in the last decade and then turning them over to Border Patrol officials.
If you do a Google search for Roger Barnett, his brother Donald, and/or his wife Barbara, you will see that they are considered heroes in certain circles, like Stormfront.