A law firm representing the parents of a Mexican man killed by Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett recently submitted a $7.5 million claim notice, which is a prelude to filing a lawsuit, against him and the government.
Meanwhile, a personal lawsuit against Corbett is expected to be filed separately today in federal court in Tucson.
The federal tort claim, dated Dec. 2, is brought against Corbett for causing wrongful death, and against the Homeland Security Department, Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Justice Department for negligently employing Corbett.
“Agent Corbett, while acting within the course and scope of his agency with the United States Border Patrol, negligently and/or wrongfully shot and killed decedent. At the time of the shooting, decedent showed no resistance to agent Corbett’s demands and was on his knees in a submissive position,” states the document.
The claim seeks a total of $7.5 million, including $2.75 million for the victim’s father Renato Ariza Dominguez, $2.75 million for the victim’s mother Maria Clara Leonor Rivera Cordero, and $2 million for the estate of the deceased.
The document alleges that witness statements as well as the autopsy and ballistic analysis contradict Corbett’s version of the story. It says the death could have been avoided if Corbett was not negligent or did not act wrongfully.
The document also states the government should have known Corbett was involved in numerous incidents of misconduct that made him an inappropriate person to be a Border Patrol agent, such as assaulting a man in Pennsylvania, committing domestic violence and voicing his hatred of Mexicans.The assault and domestic violence claims did not result in convictions.
Corbett went on trial twice this year in federal court in Tucson on criminal charges of negligent homicide, manslaughter and second-degree murder for the death of Dominguez-Rivera, an illegal immigrant, near Naco on Jan. 12, 2007.
Both trials resulted in mistrials due to hung juries. Prosecutors have not officially decided whether or not they will take the case to trial a third time.
During the trials, Corbett claimed he shot Dominguez-Rivera in an act of self-defense to prevent the victim from smashing his head with a rock.
On Monday, Sean Chapman, the lead defense attorney representing Corbett in the criminal case, said “I have no comment” regarding the federal tort claim.
Bud Tuffly, president of the Local 2544 National Border Patrol Council in Tucson, said he could not comment specifically on the document because he has not seen it, but he said the union will continue to support Corbett.
“We will stand behind him 100 percent and we will defend him through this civil action as well,” he said. “We are not going to back down.”
Federal government officials named in the tort claim could not be reached for comment on Monday, including Annmarie Highsmith, associate chief counsel for the Homeland Security Department’s Customs and Border Protection.
On Monday, attorney Federico Castelan Sayre, of the law firm in Santa Ana, Calif., that submitted the federal tort claim, said a lawsuit for negligent hiring and supervision eventually will be filed. For now, the parties involved are given a period of six months in which to respond to the claim, he added.
Also, Sayre said, a civil rights lawsuit will be filed against Corbett today in U.S. District Court in Tucson in a way that allows federal officers to be sued in the same fashion as state officers. He said that filing is “basically receiving the final touches.” Rick Gonzales, a Tuscon attorney, will be the local counsel, with assistance by Sayre.
Sayre, who was born and raised in Tucson and graduated from the University of Arizona, practices law in California. He represented Rodney King against the City of Los Angeles, which resulted in a $3.8 million verdict, and has worked with Gonzales in the past.
Remember OJ Simpson? The burden of proof murder is much less in a civil action than in a criminal trial. Although in the case of this murdering coward, testimony and forensic evidence suggested the lying bastard Corbett was guilty of murdering in cold blood, Javier Francisco Rivera. The breakdown in the system was the jurors in both instances who violated their oath as jurors to look at the evidence with fairness and impartiality. This time, the result will be different. Wonder how Corbett feels now at the prospect of working for the family of the man he murdered for the rest of his life? Oh wait a minute! This coward will probably seek reassignment to Florida or another state where he can protect his assets, just as OJ Simpson did!
35 years in the trucking business and living in Mexico for the past 15 years, make me uniquely qualified to offer my insight and opinion into the Mexican trucking industry and other border issues. A contributor to SiriuxXM Road Dog Channel 106 and to the award winning Lockridge Report, Mexico Trucker Online continues to publish the unvarnished truth about the subjects we cover.