New Mexico court orders new trial in excessive force case

Judges gavel

SANTA FE (AP) – The New Mexico Court of Appeals is ordering a new trial in a civil case against the city of Clovis and three police officers accused of using excessive force in restraining a man in 2006.

The court ruled this week that a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the estate of Juventino Hernandez of Mexico should be heard again.

Among the arguments, the court said Hispanics were unconstitutionally excluded from the jury when defense lawyers were allowed to use peremptory strikes against prospective Hispanic jurors.

The defendants argued their selections were racially neutral, but the appeals court says the challenges indicted a pattern.

The lawsuit accused the officers of hog-tying Hernandez after he suffered a psychotic episode and attacked them while they responded to a family’s call for help.

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