Posted: Feb 7, 2011 1:57 PM
Updated: Feb 7, 2011 1:58 PM
TUCSON - A Cochise County rancher found liable on eight civil claims after he allegedly held a group of illegal immigrant at gunpoint and threatened them has been denied an appeal to overturn the verdicts against him.
Roger Barnett, 66, was ordered to pay more than $70,000 in damages in February 2009, after a jury found him guilty of four counts of assault against illegal immigrants - he allegedly pointed his gun at them, causing them "severe emotional distress," the jury found.
In 2004, Barnett came upon a group of 16 illegal immigrants - they claim he unlawfully detained them at gunpoint and threatened them. Barnett's defense lawyer says that he did so out of self-defense.
"The testimony showed Roger had been told by federal agents his life was in danger from the drug cartels," said his attorney, David Hardy. "He's outnumbered 20-to-1 in the desert, he doesn't know if they're smugglers or not."
In the rejection of his appeal, the three 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judges argued that because Barnett admitted that no one in the group was armed, a self-defense claim could not be considered.
"(Barnett) himself conceded on the stand, however, that none of the plaintiffs were armed or threatened him in any other way," the appellate judges wrote. That, they said, makes any claim of self-defense unwarranted.
Click here to submit a news tip to us!
Become a Facebook Fan!
Help those in need this holiday season
Win! Win! Win!
Wise Local Marketing!
Get news, weather and more on your smartphone and tablet!
Get texts for news, traffic, deals and more!
Sign up on KVOA.com for newsletters, exclusive deals, and more!
What's happening on News 4 @ 4
Stories and videos with Kristi's Kids
Check out the latest events FC Tucson has scheduled.
Let us help grow your business
Digital Channel 4.2
What's on KVOA and when!
Contact info for our department heads
KVOA's on air personalities!
Work at News 4 Tucson
Complete feeds of all KVOA.com stories
FCC Public File of Records, Reports, and More