Nethercott loses lawsuit reversal

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Casey Nethercott tried to convince a Cochise County Superior Court Judge to reverse a Texas court judgment Wednesday that caused him to lose his 70 acre ranch near Douglas.

He was forced to sell the ranch to meet a court ordered judgment. The money was used to pay illegal immigrants he was accused of assaulting.

He was hoping a new Arizona state law would mean his case would be thrown out.  But according to the judge, the new law, didn't go far enough back in time.

Nethercott represented himself during the short hearing.

"This should never have been done, this is illegal, unwarranted and if it happened again in another courtroom, those lawyers could possibly be arrested for what they did," said Nethercott.

Nethercott was part of a border-patrol vigilante group called Ranch Rescue.

He stopped two illegal immigrants in Texas who alleged Nethercott threatened and pistol whipped them.

Nethercott was never convicted of those crimes, but was sent to a Texas prison for unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

In 2005, Nethercott lost his ranch after the two illegal immigrants filed a lawsuit against him.

Nethercott was in court Tuesday because Arizona voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2006 to prevent anyone in the country illegally from collecting punitive damages in a legal case, no matter what happens to them.

Last month, Governor Jan Brewer added to the law making it retroactive to 2004.

Nethercott used that in court.

After hearing his case, the judge ruled against Nethercott.

"The law simply didn't apply to his facts," said attorney Ryan Jana Flagler.

Flagler is an attorney representing the Southern Poverty Law Center, the group that helped the immigrants in the lawsuit.

"There are multiple grounds that Mr. Nethercott's judgment didn't apply.  First of all the cause of action against him accrued in 2003 in Texas, also it was a Texas court that awarded those judgments," said Flagler.  "Under full faith and credit, this state has to honor the judgment that was given in Texas."