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Vol. 15 Issue No. 8 | February 25 – March 3, 2009

Douglas Rancher did not violate illegal aliens’ civil rights

By Linda Bentley | February 25, 2009

Attorney’s great grandfather was Cave Creek’s first justice of the peace

TUCSON – Last Tuesday, jurors found in favor of Roger Barnett on all civil rights claims filed against him by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) on behalf of 16 illegal aliens Barnett found trespassing on his ranch in Douglas.

All claims against Barnett’s wife Barbara and his brother Donald were dismissed as were all claims of conspiracy.

However, the jury did find in favor of plaintiffs on four counts of assault and four counts of intentional infliction of emotional distress and in each instance where the jury awarded compensatory damages, they also found the plaintiffs to be 25 percent at fault.

Of the $77, 804 awarded, $60,000 was in punitive damages for the claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Although MALDEF filed a motion to allow 12 of the plaintiffs who failed to testify to be represented in absentia, including Gerardo Gonzales, a deported convicted felon who would not have been able to obtain permission to enter the country, their motion was denied by U.S. District Judge John M. Roll.

According to Attorney David T. Hardy, Barnett will appeal the two counts won by the plaintiffs. Hardy said he is also looking into the possibility of filing for attorney’s fees, which after years of discovery, investigation, motions and trial, the plaintiffs failed to prove a single claim against either Donald, who was not even present the day of the incident, or Barbara Barnett.

When Hardy learned Sonoran News was in Cave Creek, he said his great grandfather was the first justice of the peace of Cave Creek and sent a link to his website that told the following humorous story that might provide further insight into how the town gained a reputation of being too tough to govern:

“The Hardys have been providing speedy justice in Arizona since 1871, when an outlaw named Nathaniel Hickman fled justice in Ft. Lyons, Colorado and escaped to Arizona.

“Under the alias of Charles W. Hardy, Hickman became a prosperous rancher in Cave Creek. He married Sarah Young, widow of Phoenix’s first J.P. James Ansley Young, and later was elected Cave Creek’s first justice of the peace. Charles Hardy left one clue to his actual identity – a cattle brand with his real initials.

“The outlaw jurist Hickman/Hardy held court at the Phoenix Mine, with perhaps a bit of a firm hand: A turn-of-the century doctor writes of a ‘rancher Hardy,’ a fast gun who terrified him with recollections of how crime had been dealt with in his time, and it is strange that the state archives have no returns from that court. Times were dangerous – the Pleasant Valley Range War, which killed dozens, was at its peak (It had been started by the deputy assigned to Hardy’s court). Perhaps there was reason to leave the court’s proceedings undocumented.

“Hardy, or should we say Hickman, died in Yuma in 1913. Eighty years after his death, we found his Civil War pension application – he had served in the 49th Illinois Infantry from Nashville, Illinois – and discovered that the family name was a criminal alias.”

Hardy, whose work currently focuses on firearms and first and second amendment issues, had a book published in 2001 about the 1993 tragedy at Waco titled, “This is not an assault.”

As a former government attorney, Hardy, whose lawsuit forced government agencies to divulge incriminating documents and tapes surrounding the Waco incident, was able to completely debunk the “fairy tale” about Waco as it was presented by federal government officials.