Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett: Two Murder Trials, Two Hung Juries, $850K Settlement, Still Working for CBP

Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett was charged with murder for shooting an illegal immigrant as he surrendered.

The second jury apparently felt he was guilty but due a poor underlying investigation by the local sheriff they could not properly reach a guilty verdict.  According to the prosecutor, “They believed that he was guilty but many of them felt that the (sheriff’s) investigation was so poor that they just felt that they couldn’t vote guilty.”

According to the civil suit that was filed in federal court, Nicholas Corbett “expressed a hatred of Latinos and had a history of domestic violence and assaults”.  The civil suit was settled for $850,000.

Douglas Dispatch:  BP shooting investigation: Video shows agent making a dash (Mar 28 2007)

The video, released Tuesday by Cochise County Attorney Ed Rheinheimer in response to a public records request by the Herald/Review and the Arizona Daily Star, is the latest piece of evidence to cast doubt on the Border Patrol’s initial account of the shooting.

On Monday, Rheinheimer turned over to reporters nearly 300 pages of documents from an investigation by the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office. Among the evidence were memos from three field operations supervisors at the Border Patrol’s Naco Station who said Corbett told them he shot Dominguez-Rivera after he threatened him with a rock.

Douglas Dispatch:  Border Patrol agent told co-workers victim brandished rock  (Mar 30 2007)

“Corbett told him that he had seen (Dominguez-Rivera) bend down and pick up something,” Adney wrote in the report of her interview with Berg. Corbett had then left his vehicle and run around back, where he was confronted by Dominguez-Rivera.

“Corbett said that the subject had a rock in his hand and that he had his hand raised,” Adney continued. According to Berg, “Corbett did not actually say that he had shot the subject, he just stopped talking at that point.”

Douglas Dispatch:  Witnesses: Agent shot unarmed man while pushing him to ground  (Mar 31, 2007)

Sandra Vidal, her husband Jorge Dominguez-Rivera, and Jorge’s two brothers, Rene and Francisco Dominguez-Rivera, were running south through the Arizona desert toward the international boundary line, hoping to make it back into Mexico before being overtaken by a U.S. Border Patrol vehicle they had seen nearby.

As the vehicle circled tightly around them, spinning its wheels and cutting off their path back to Mexico, the three surviving members of the group said they could see the driver, now known to be Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett, pointing a gun, with his right hand, through a closed passenger-side window.

Sandra and Jorge said they remained on their knees and watched as Corbett ran up to Francisco, pistol in his right hand, yelling a long, unintelligible phrase in English.

They saw Corbett strike or push Francisco on the back of the neck as he was beginning to crouch down. As Francisco fell toward his knees, he started to raise his hands in the air “like he was giving up,” Sandra said.

Sandra noticed a significant size difference between the two men, and documents in the case file confirm that the 39-year-old Corbett measures 6 feet 4 inches and weighs 265 pounds, while Francisco, 22, stood 5 feet 5 inches and weighed 155 pounds.

Jorge reported that Corbett then struck Francisco with his left hand, while Sandra and Rene recalled he had switched the pistol to his left hand before striking Francisco with his right.

However, the three witnesses all agreed that Corbett was holding his pistol in his left hand when he pushed Francisco toward the ground from behind and shot him in the left side of his chest.

“Jorge stated that after Francisco was shot in the upper left armpit area, (he) made an ‘ugh’ sound and fell to the ground,” Adney wrote. “His eyes kind of rolled back and his tongue came out.”

Corbett then said something to Francisco, the witnesses said, but since he spoke in English, they weren’t sure what it was.

They believed he told him to get up.

MSNBC:  Border Patrol agent charged with murder (Apr 23 2007)

A U.S. Border Patrol agent was charged Monday with first-degree murder for shooting an illegal immigrant during a confrontation on the Arizona side of the border in January.

An investigation found that Agent Nicholas Corbett’s killing of Francisco Dominguez-Rivera of Puebla, Mexico, was not legally justified, said Cochise County’s top prosecutor, Ed Rheinheimer.

“We have concluded that the evidence shows that at the time he was shot, Mr. Dominguez-Rivera presented no threat to Agent Corbett,” Rheinheimer said.

Corbett was named in a criminal complaint that also charges him with second-degree murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide. Rheinheimer said that a judge will determine during a preliminary hearing which of the charges is best supported by the evidence.

ABC Local WPVI:  Border Patrol Agent Charged with Murder (Apr 23 2007)

A Border Patrol agent is facing murder charges in the shooting of an unarmed illegal immigrant.

In the days after the shooting, the border patrol said there had been a scuffle and the agent had “feared for his life.” However, prosecutors later released documents that show Corbett’s account did not match the forensic evidence or witness testimony.

Fox News: Border Patrol Agent Charged With Murder For Shooting Unarmed Illegal Immigrant (Apr 24 2007)

A Border Patrol agent was charged Monday with first-degree murder in the shooting of an unarmed illegal immigrant at the border in January.

“We have concluded that the evidence shows that at the time he was shot, Mr. Dominguez-Rivera presented no threat to agent Corbett,” Rheinheimer said.

New York Times:  Border Patrol Agent Charged With Murder  (Apr 24 2007)

A Border Patrol agent was charged Monday with first-degree murder in the shooting of an unarmed illegal immigrant at the border in JanuaryA Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a Mexican immigrant along the Arizona-Mexico border in January was charged Monday with first-degree murder and three related offenses.

Mr. Corbett declined to be interviewed by investigators from the Cochise County Sheriff’s Department but told supervisors at the Naco Border Patrol station that Mr. Dominguez Rivera had threatened him from across his truck with a rock, according to evidence released by the Cochise County attorney, Ed Rheinheimer, on March 26 after a public records request by local news organizations.

Mr. Rheinheimer said Monday that physical evidence and statements from other witnesses failed to support Mr. Corbett’s account.

 

CBS News:  Border Patrol Agent Charged With Murder (Apr 24 2007)

A U.S. Border Patrol agent was charged Monday with first-degree murder for shooting an illegal immigrant during a confrontation on the Arizona side of the border in January.

An investigation found that Agent Nicholas Corbett’s fatal shooting of Francisco Dominguez-Rivera, of Puebla, Mexico, was not legally justified, said Cochise County’s top prosecutor, Ed Rheinheimer.

“We have concluded that the evidence shows that at the time he was shot, Mr. Dominguez-Rivera presented no threat to Agent Corbett,” Rheinheimer said.

In the days that followed the incident, the Border Patrol said a scuffle had led to the shooting and the agent “feared for his life.”

More than 300 pages of documents later released by Rheinheimer’s office revealed that Corbett’s account of what led him to shoot and kill the unarmed Dominguez-Rivera did not match witness testimony or forensic evidence.

Tuscon Citizen:  Border Patrol agent who killled illegal migrant charged with murder (Apr 24 2007)

A Border Patrol agent was charged Monday with first-degree murder for shooting an illegal immigrant during a confrontation just north of the border in January.

An investigation found that Agent Nicholas Corbett’s killing of Francisco Dominguez-Rivera, of Puebla, Mexico, was not legally justified, Cochise County’s top prosecutor, Ed Rheinheimer, said in a statement.

“We have concluded that the evidence shows that at the time he was shot, Mr. Dominguez-Rivera presented no threat to Agent Corbett,” Rheinheimer said.

Corbett declined to be interviewed by investigators. He told other agents – whose accounts were part of the investigative file – that he came around the front of his sport utility vehicle, saw a man with a rock in his hand close to the rear of the vehicle and fired once when the man made a motion to throw it.

But three witnesses who were being apprehended along with Dominguez-Rivera, his two brothers and a sister-in-law, told investigators Corbett fired while pushing Dominguez-Rivera to the ground.

Douglas Dispatch:  Judge to give ruling in Corbett case today  (June 15 2007)

A prosecutor may ask that Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett be taken into custody or required to post bond if a judge finds at a hearing today that he can be tried for murder.

Alternatively, the prosecutors may leave the decision up to the judge, as they did at the initial appearance, when Vildosola released Corbett on his own recognizance provided he didn’t leave the state or possess firearms.

 L.A. Times:  Border death points to peril for both sides (July 2 2007)

According to court records, Corbett told supervisors that he had killed Francisco Javier Dominguez-Rivera, 22, with a single gunshot after the immigrant raised a rock to throw at him.

But the other immigrants — two brothers and a sister-in-law of Dominguez-Rivera — said that their relative had been empty-handed and that Corbett had pushed him to his knees before shooting him.

The Cochise County prosecutor has charged Corbett, 39, with murder — an unusual step, especially in a conservative county long affected by illegal immigration.

The judge could charge Corbett with a lesser count such as manslaughter at a preliminary hearing scheduled for August.

“We came to the conclusion that this is not a legally justified shooting,” said County Attorney Ed Rheinheimer, who says he has been inundated with angry e-mails since filing the charges in late April. “It’s an incident that has nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with the immigration issue.”

Reuters:  US border cop charged with murdering Mexican (Aug 7 2007)

A U.S. Border Patrol agent must stand trial for murder in the shooting of a Mexican man trying to enter the United States, an Arizona judge ruled Monday in a case that drew criticism from Mexico.

Agent Nicholas Corbett was charged in April with four counts of homicide in the Jan. 12 shooting of Francisco Dominguez Rivera shortly after he crossed the border illegally on a stretch of desert between Douglas and Naco.

Douglas Dispatch:  Judge allows murder charge against Corbett to proceed  (Aug 7 2007)

Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett can be tried in Cochise County Superior Court on a charge of second-degree murder, a justice of the peace ruled Monday.

However, after listening to testimony at a preliminary hearing, Justice of the Peace David Morales decided that the evidence did not support a more serious charge of first-degree murder, which supposes premeditation.

On April 23, Cochise County Attorney Ed Rheinheimer charged Corbett with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, negligent homicide and manslaughter in connection with the Jan. 12 shooting death of Francisco Javier Dominguez-Rivera, a 22-year-old Mexican national who had crossed the border illegally east of Naco.

Deputy County Attorney Gerald Till, the lead prosecutor in the case, said following Monday’s ruling that he was not disappointed to lose the first-degree murder charge.

Reuters:  U.S. border cop charged with murdering migrant (Aug 7 2007)

Agent Nicholas Corbett was charged in April on four counts of homicide in connection with the January 12 shooting death of Francisco Dominguez Rivera shortly after he crossed a stretch of desert border between Douglas and Naco.

Cochise County Justice of the Peace David Morales ruled on Monday the evidence supported lesser charges of second degree murder in the shooting, but tossed charges of first degree murder, which supposes premeditation.

Tuscon Citizen:  Border agent charged with murder still on the job (Aug 15 2007)

Facing trial on a murder charge, Border Patrol agent Nicholas Corbett still reports for work each day behind a desk at the agency’s Naco station.

Rather than placing him on paid leave, the Border Patrol has had Corbett on administrative duty, handling desk chores, since shortly after he fatally shot an illegal immigrant on Jan. 12.

The Border Patrol said it is normal to keep an accused officer on duty while awaiting trial. But a well-known Tucson lawyer who has defended Border Patrol agents said that’s not usually the case. And several major Arizona law enforcement agencies said they either fire officers accused of felonies or immediately place them on leave.

Border Patrol spokesmen in Washington and southern Arizona said standard practice is for an agent charged with a crime to continue working pending trial.

“He’s innocent until proven guilty,” said Washington spokesman Lloyd Easterling. “He is still able to come in and do any multitude of functions that are part of being a Border Patrol agent… pending the outcome of investigations or other proceedings.

“To my knowledge, that has always been Border Patrol policy.”

Tuscon Citizen:  Border agent pleads not guilty to slaying illegal immigrant (Aug 21 2007)

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett pleaded not guilty to a charge of fatally shooting an illegal immigrant in January.

Corbett has been on administrative desk duty at the patrol’s Naco station since the Jan. 12 shooting.

Tuscon News Now:  Agent’s Manslaughter Trial Underway (Feb 25 2008)

The high profile trial of a border patrol agent accused of killing an illegal immigrant begins in Tucson.

Nicholas Corbett is charged with second- degree murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide in the death of Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera.

He was shot in January of last year near Naco.

Corbett says he shot Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera in self defense.

Witnesses dispute that.

Douglas Dispatch:  Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett’s murder trial ready to start  (Feb 26 2008)

Some 13 months after a U.S. Border Patrol agent fatally shot an illegal immigrant near Naco, a jury in federal court in Tucson is going to decide if a crime was committed.

Nicholas Corbett, 40, is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide for killing Francisco Dominguez-Rivera, 22, of Mexico. He claims he acted in self defense.

During a recent phone interview from his home in Cuautla, Morelos, the victim’s father, Renato Dominguez, told Wick News Service in Mexico City that he and other members of his family hope to go to the trial, but it depends on whether the authorities can get permission for them.

He said the past year has been “very difficult” for the family. He said his son had a reputation for being “well-mannered” and he was not a “delinquent” or a “troublemaker.” He said it is hard to believe what Corbett did.

“The idea that a person can be a federal agent and behave like a psychopath is really incredible. They have the power in their hands, and they abuse their authority. In my point of view, this man was either demented or an abuser of authority, or a racist,” he said.

But Corbett’s attorneys say he acted in self-defense.

Reuters:  U.S. border agent murder trial begins (Feb 26 2008)

Jury selection began in U.S. District Court in Tucson, Ariz., to decide the fate of agent Nicholas Corbett, who faces second-degree murder charges for killing Francisco Dominguez Rivera in the southern Arizona desert.

Corbett, who has claimed through attorneys that he shot in self defense, is also charged with manslaughter and negligent homicide in connection with the January 12, 2007, incident.

Dominguez Rivera, 22, was fatally shot after crossing an isolated stretch of the border between Naco and Douglas with his two brothers and the girl friend of one of the brothers. Corbett said he shot after being threatened with a rock.

The incident drew an immediate rebuke by the Mexican government, with that country’s Foreign Ministry complaining of “disproportionate violence.” Diplomats at the Mexican Embassy in Washington called for a thorough investigation.

AZ Central:  Jury selection to start in Border Patrol agent’s trial (Feb 26 2008)

Jury selection starts Tuesday in the trial of a U.S. Border Patrol agent charged in the shooting death of an illegal immigrant.

Once jurors are seated, they’ll hear Cochise County special prosecutors seek to convict agent Nicholas Corbett on a single charge of second-degree murder, negligent homicide or manslaughter.

Douglas Dispatch:  Jury selected in BP agent murder case  (Feb 27 2008)

A jury was selected Tuesday to hear Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett’s murder trial in U.S. District Court.

Opening arguments and testimony are expected to start today.

Corbett is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide for shooting a Mexican named Francisco Dominguez-Rivera who illegally entered the United States near Naco last year in January.

USA Today:  Murder trial for border agent begins (Feb 27 2008)

A U.S. Border Patrol agent on trial for murder was threatened with a rock when he fatally shot an illegal immigrant in Arizona last year, his defense told a federal jury Wednesday. A prosecutor, meanwhile, claimed the immigrant did not provoke the attack.

“The victim was surrendering, going down on his knees, was hit from behind … and shot through the heart while surrendering,” special prosecutor Grant Woods told jurors during opening statements.

Agent Nicholas Corbett is charged with second-degree murder, negligent homicide and manslaughter for the January 2007 shooting near Naco, Ariz., southwest of Tucson and on the Mexico border. Jurors can convict on only one count.

The defense countered by telling the jury that Corbett was justified when he fired the fatal shot because 22-year-old Francisco Javier Dominguez of Puebla, Mexico, was threatening to “crush his head with a rock.”

USA Today:  Testimony begins in border agent’s trial (Feb 27 2008)

A U.S. Border Patrol agent on trial for murder was threatened with a rock when he fatally shot an illegal immigrant, his defense told a federal jury Wednesday, while a prosecutor claimed the man did not provoke the attack.

“The victim was surrendering, going down on his knees, was hit from behind … and shot through the heart while surrendering,” special prosecutor Grant Woods told jurors during opening statements.

Woods said that forensic and medical evidence, from ballistics information to the autopsy results, along with the witnesses’ testimony and a Border Patrol video would prove that the killing was not justifiable.

Agent Nicholas Corbett is charged with second-degree murder, negligent homicide and manslaughter for the January 2007 shooting near Naco, Ariz. Jurors can convict on only one count.

Tuscon Citizen:  Witness: Agent shot surrendering migrant (Feb 28 2008)

A man fatally shot last year by a U.S. Border Patrol agent was starting to kneel in the act of surrendering when he was hit in the back of his head or neck, pushed down and shot, his brother testified Wednesday.

Jorge Dominguez Rivera, 25, told a federal jury that his brother, Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera, did not threaten agent Nicholas Corbett with a rock, contrary to what Corbett’s lead attorney said in opening statements.

Douglas Dispatch:  Border Patrol agent’s trial gets under way in Tucson (Feb 28 2008)

Before the testimony, attorneys gave opening statements to the jury. The prosecution then called its first three witnesses to the stand, including a Border Patrol agent, a criminalist and one of the victim’s brothers.

Grant Woods, the lead special prosecutor, told the jury there is an “overwhelming” amount of evidence in this case, including testimony from three eyewitnesses, ballistics, forensics, autopsy results and video footage of the incident.

He said Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett claims to have fired the gun during a face-to-face confrontation with the victim, but the evidence will show the bullet entered the victim’s body in his left armpit and became lodged in his right lower abdomen. He said Corbett “lied” to try to justify what happened.

New York Time:  Border Patrol Agent’s Trial in Killing of Illegal Immigrant Starts in Arizona  (Feb 28 2008)

In a patch of desert just north of Mexico, what began as a relatively routine interception a year ago ended when a Border Patrol agent shot and killed an illegal immigrant at close range.

Whether the agent’s action was murder or self-defense is being resolved at a trial that began this week in the heated atmosphere over illegal immigration.

The agent, Nicholas W. Corbett, 40, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide for a shooting that prosecutors say was unprovoked as the immigrant, Francisco Javiér Domínguez, 22, was surrendering.

The prosecutor, Grant Woods, a former state attorney general, said Wednesday at the trial that Agent Corbett had lied to supervisors about what occurred. Scientific evidence, Mr. Woods said, overwhelmingly supported the accounts of Mr. Domínguez’s companions, all relatives.

“We all respect the Border Patrol and law enforcement, but you don’t kill somebody who is trying to surrender,” he told the jury.

Tuscon News Now:  Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett Takes the Stand Tuesday (Mar 4 2008)

Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett is on trial for killing an illegal immigrant, Francisco Dominguez, from Mexico. Corbett took the stand in his own defense, in federal court Tuesday.

According to Agent Corbett, he fired in self- defense.  As Corbett tells it, he was involved in what amounted to hand-to-hand combat with Dominguez outside Naco, Arizona last year. Corbett claims Dominguez had a rock and was about to hit him. Corbett testified he held the rock back with one hand and shot Dominguez with the other.

Prosecutors interrogated Corbett on the stand.

Reuters:  Judge declares mistrial of U.S. border agent (Mar 7 2008)

U.S. District Judge David C. Bury canceled the trial of Border Patrol agent Nicholas Corbett after the jury had failed to reach a verdict since starting deliberations on Tuesday, a court official said.

New York Times:  Border Agent’s Murder Trial Ends  (Mar 8 2008)

The case of a Border Patrol agent who faced charges of second-degree murder and other crimes in the shooting death of a Mexican immigrant last year resulted in a mistrial on Friday when a jury could not reach a verdict.

The mistrial illustrates the difficulty prosecutors have in trying to hold Border Patrol agents criminally accountable for on-duty actions. The only other agent tried on murder charges in recent decades was acquitted in 1994, also in Arizona.

Ed Rheinheimer, the district attorney in Cochise County, who brought the case, said the agent, Nicholas W. Corbett, would be retried. Mr. Rheinheimer said he would proceed despite criticism from constituents, some of them members of civilian border watch groups hostile to illegal immigrants.

Douglas Dispatch:  Jury can’t come to a decision in agent’s murder case; judge declares mistrial  (Mar 8 2008)

A U.S. District Court judge declared a mistrial Friday for Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett’s murder case after the jury said it was unable to decide on a verdict after about 23 hours of deliberations.

Cochise County Attorney Ed Rheinheimer said he intends to retry the case. Judge David Bury scheduled a new trial for April 22, but that date will likely be changed due to a conflict with a defense attorney.

On Thursday, the jurors sent the court a note stating they were at an “impasse,” but Bury told them to continue deliberations. On Friday at about 2:50 p.m., they sent another note stating they remained in an “unable to agree” status.

Bury polled members of the jury to see if they thought they could arrive at a unanimous verdict if they continued deliberations. Each person on the 12-member panel said, “No.”

Grant Woods, the lead special prosecutor, and Sean Chapman, the lead defense attorney, agreed a mistrial declaration would be appropriate. Bury said the jury was “deadlocked” and he granted the motion for mistrial.

AZ Central:  Delay sought in retrial of Border Patrol agent’s murder case (Mar 28 2008)

Lead defense attorney Sean Chapman filed a motion dated Tuesday asking that the April 22 federal court trial of Nicholas Corbett be reset for Sept. 9, citing trial conflicts.

Chapman said he “has multiple trial settings on cases that were previously delayed in order to try” the Corbett case the first time.

According to the motion, prosecutors joined in on the request.

Douglas Dispatch:  Corbett re-trial:  Depending on who you talk to, illegal immigrant described as a decent fellow and a gangster (Oct 1 2008)

[This Douglas Dispatch article has a lot of good background material.  I'd suggest reading the whole article instead of my quote.]

Francisco Javier Dominguez-Rivera, a Mexican who had illegally immigrated to the U.S., worked in a granola factory in Connecticut for about four years.

He returned home to visit his family in Morelos, Mexico, in December of 2006. He spent Christmas there. He made arrangements to bring his brothers, Rene and Jorge, and Jorge’s girlfriend, Sandra Guzman, back to the U.S. with him.

Dominguez-Rivera’s brother, Jorge, testified he was the first one who agreed to go with him. Then their brother, Rene, also said he wanted to go. Guzman also decided to join them. Neither the brothers nor the girlfriend had ever been to the United States before, Rene testified.

Dominguez-Rivera was well-mannered and had a reputation for being so in a number of places, according to his father, Renato Dominguez.

Dominguez-Rivera had a tattoo on his left hand that is commonly known as “La Vida Loca.” The tattoo consists of three dots in the shape of a triangle.

According to Corbett’s defense, the tattoo is considered an indicator of street gang affiliation. The defense was prepared during the first trial to call Border Patrol agent Carlos Zayas to testify regarding the significance of the tattoo, according to a court filing written in February by Chapman.

“Further, according to agent Zayas, gang members who are apprehended along the border tend to be more aggressive and violent during apprehension than illegal entrants who are not affiliated with gangs. Such evidence is highly relevant to this case, because agent Corbett has stated that the decedent was shot in self-defense when he tried to hit agent Corbett in the head with a large rock,” Chapman states.

Tony Morales, of the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s state gang task force in Douglas, told the Herald/Review recently the fact that a man has the “Mi Vida Loca” tattoo by itself does not mean he is involved with a gang.

“It takes more than just one tattoo to say somebody is a gang member,” he said, in general. “We have seen people that have done prison time and have that tattoo. We have seen people who just want it because of their crazy life — ‘Mi Vida Loca.’ ”

In general, Morales added, simply because a man is a gang member would not necessarily make him more difficult for a law enforcement official to deal with.

AZ Central:  U.S. border agent faces new trial in slaying (Oct 19 2008)

The retrial of U.S. Border Patrol agent Nicholas Corbett in Tucson is inflaming the divided passions about immigration and border security.

Corbett’s defenders say the case is about a man defending himself against a violent attacker in a dangerous place, and then being punished, for political reasons, for doing his job.

They say the confrontation that led to Corbett shooting an illegal immigrant is reason for stricter security and tighter immigration laws.

Prosecutors say the case has nothing to do with border issues. Rather, it’s about upholding the law to punish a man who abused his power to commit murder.

Human-rights activists also say the case represents an overly severe border policy that needs stricter oversight.

AZ Central:  Prosecutor describes shooting victim as ‘passive’ (Oct 22 2008)

A Border Patrol agent fatally shot a “peaceful and passive” illegal immigrant without provocation as he tried to surrender in 2007, a prosecutor told jurors Wednesday as the agent went on trial for a second time in the shooting.

At least five times during opening statements, special prosecutor Grant Woods alluded to the peaceful nature of Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera, who was killed about 100 yards north of the Mexican border by Agent Nicholas Corbett.

Dominguez “was not hotheaded,” said Woods, a former Arizona attorney general prosecuting the case in federal court. He said Corbett had lied in alleging that Dominguez threatened to smash his head with a rock, as well as in his explanation of the confrontation and how the shooting occurred.

Tuscon Citizen:  Jury gets case in fatal Border Patrol shooting (Oct 31 2008)

A federal jury began deliberations Thursday in the trial of a U.S. Border Patrol agent charged in the shooting death of an illegal immigrant last year.

Jurors in the second trial of Nicholas Corbett must determine whether he’s guilty or innocent of second-degree murder, manslaughter or negligent homicide in the January 2007 death of Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera of Puebla, Mexico.

USA Today:  Mistrial declared in Ariz. border agent’s retrial (Nov 4 2008)

A mistrial was declared Tuesday in the retrial of a Border Patrol agent accused of gunning down an illegal immigrant without provocation.Defense attorney Sean Chapman said he was disappointed the jury didn’t acquit U.S Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett of the charges against him, which included second-degree murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide. Prosecutors had asked jurors to convict Corbett on one of the charges.

“It’s our understanding in the jury note that was sent out it was actually 11 to 1 in favor of acquittal in this case, with one holdout,” Chapman said.

Fox News:  Mistrial Declared in Murder Case Against Border Agent  (Nov 5 2008)

A mistrial was declared after a jury deadlocked Tuesday in the case of a Border Patrol agent accused of gunning down an illegal immigrant without provocation.

Jurors couldn’t reach a verdict against U.S Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett on three possible charges: second-degree murder, manslaughter or negligent homicide. His first trial in March also ended with the jury deadlocked

….

Defense attorney Sean Chapman says he’s disappointed the jury didn’t acquit.

“It’s our understanding in the jury note that was sent out it was actually 11 to 1 in favor of acquittal in this case, with one holdout,” Chapman said.

International Business Times:  Family sues border agent in Ariz. fatal shooting (Dec 11 2008)

The parents of an illegal immigrant who was fatally shot by a Border Patrol agent have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit.

The suit was filed Tuesday in Tucson federal court against Nicholas Corbett. It says he expressed a hatred of Latinos and had a history of domestic violence and assaults.

AZ Central:  Unanswered questions remain for Ariz. border agent (Dec 12 2008)

Prosecutors have formally asked to have murder charges dropped against a U.S. Border Patrol agent who shot an illegal immigrant, but his future remains clouded.

Nicholas Corbett has been assigned to desk duty since the Jan. 12, 2007, shooting death of Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera of Puebla, Mexico.

There’s no immediate word whether he’ll be reassigned to field duty.

Corbett also faces a civil suit filed by the Dominguez family. He was killed in a confrontation hours after he had crossed the border.

Seattle Times:  Unanswered questions remain for Ariz. border agent  (Dec 13 2008)

Border Patrol officials aren’t saying yet whether Corbett, 41, will resume active field patrol duties or will be given some other assignment.

“I don’t think that decision has been made yet,” said Dove Crawford, a spokeswoman for the patrol’s Tucson sector. “But I know that they (officials) will review his status.”

Crawford also said that because of the manner in which the charges were dismissed, the patrol will not make a statement about its internal investigation of the shooting.

The special prosecutor in charge of the case for Cochise County, former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, …  cited comments from some jurors who spoke with the county attorney after the second trial ended last month.

“They believed that he was guilty but many of them felt that the (sheriff’s) investigation was so poor that they just felt that they couldn’t vote guilty,” Wood said.

Immigration Buzz:  Charges dropped against Nicholas Corbett (Jan 21 2009)

A judge has formally ruled that a border patrol agent will not be tried again for the death of an illegal alien. Nicholas Corbett was put on trial twice last year in Tucson. Both trials ended with hung juries. If new evidence comes up, charges could be refiled.

Sierra Vista Herald:  Judge dismisses portions of civil lawsuit against Border Patrol agent (Sept 14 2010)

A U.S. District Judge in federal court in Tucson recently issued an order to dismiss portions of the civil case against Border Patrol agent Nicholas Corbett.

Judge David Bury’s order is dated Wednesday, although it was not filed until Friday. It adopts information from a report and recommendation that was written by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernardo Velasco on Aug. 5.

Sierra Vista Herald:  Judge dismisses BP civil case following settlement:   Federal government will pay $850,000 to family of slain illegal migrant, as civil lawsuit is dismissed (Sept 14 2011)

A federal judge in Tucson has dismissed the civil case against Border Patrol agent Nicholas Corbett, as a result of notification to the court that the case has been settled.

Corbett fatally shot Francisco Javier Dominguez-Rivera, 22, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, along the U.S.-Mexico border between Douglas and Naco in January of 2007.

In a court document dated Tuesday, Judge David Bury dismissed the case without prejudice, meaning the case could be re-filed. He also ordered that the parties shall file the appropriate dismissal documents within 60 days.

[i.e. due to the pending settlement the lawsuit is moot.]

ABC 15:  $850K settlement in border killing case (Sept 8 2011)

The family of an illegal immigrant fatally shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent in 2007 has reached an $850,000 settlement in a civil case against the federal government and the agent.

Court records filed Friday in federal court in Tucson says a settlement agreement was reached by the family of Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera and the other parties.

Tuscon Sentinel: $850k settlement for family of slain illegal immigrant:  Feds, BP agent who shot man settle with family of Francisco Dominguez (Sept 8 2011)

The family of a slain illegal immigrant has agreed to an $850,000 settlement in a case against federal government and the Border Patrol agent who fatally shot the man in 2007, court records indicate.

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One Response to Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett: Two Murder Trials, Two Hung Juries, $850K Settlement, Still Working for CBP

  1. Pingback: Murder of Mexican citizen by US Border Patrol in Laredo, quickly escalating into international incident – Mexico Trucker Online

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