A panel of three federal judges have affirmed a decision last year by U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler to toss out a $40 million lawsuit filed by the family of Marcelo Lucero, who was killed in a 2008 hate crime. The suit accused Suffolk County and the Suffolk County Police Department of an “indifferent and unconstitutional failure” to protect immigrants.
The process server hired by the estate’s attorneys had mistakenly served a state court building, not the county clerk as required by law, and Wexler last year declined to extend the time limit to fix that problem, according to Newsday.
An attorney for the Lucero family called the decision “disappointing,” and said, “it does not change the failures of Suffolk County in protecting Hispanic members of its community.”
Ecuadorian immigrant and Patchogue resident Marcelo Lucero was attacked and killed by seven teens in 2008, the result of a night of “beaner-hopping,” which was a common practice among local teens.
The convicted killer, Jeff Conroy, is serving a 25-year prison sentence after being convicted by a jury of first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime. The other six defendants are serving sentences ranging from 5 to 8 years.
Deputized is a documentary analyzing the factors that led to Lucero’s death. A combination of issues, including the anti-immigrant rhetoric of former County Executive Steve Levy, contributed to the climate of fear that immigrants experienced, culminating in Lucero’s killing.