Tuesday, July 17, 2007

U.S. House Hearings On Compean & Ramos Case

At the U.S. House hearings on the Ramos and Compean case, T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council testified in detail what happened at the scene of the shooting and the subsequent prosecution. Reading his statement demonstrates how truly bizarre this case is. Think about it...two agents shoot the smuggler they say pointed a gun at them. The smuggler gets away by fleeing into Mexico. There is nothing to suggest the smuggler isn't armed. Funny thing, when the prosecutor tracks him down and informs him that he is sending to jail the very agents who shot him, the smuggler claims he had no gun when he was shot. In other words, it's the known smuggler's word against two agents, and the smuggler has a chance to punish those who would otherwise arrest him. Is it possible that the drug smuggler has a credibility problem? Of course not. It's the agents who are guilty unless they can prove the drug smuggler had a gun that he carried home to Mexico.

Well, it doesn't sound like the House leadership is buying U.S. Attorney Sutton's version of events. According to the IBD, Diane Feinstein explained the purpose of the hearings was to "examine the facts of the Ramos and Compean cases, the appropriateness of the charges brought against them and the very heavy sentences they received."
The IBD also stated: As she noted in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., requesting the hearings, "These men were given sentences that some individuals convicted of murder would not receive." Sentences, we might add, based on the suppression of evidence and the government's reliance on and coddling of a repeat drug-runner.

Likewise, Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee criticized the 12- and 11-year prison sentences: And they strongly questioned federal prosecutors' decision to charge the pair with using a weapon during the commission of a crime — a 10-year penalty that most often is used against drug dealers and other criminals, not law enforcement officers obliged to carry guns as part of their jobs. This really is a case of prosecutorial ... overreaction in charging," said Feinstein. She chaired the hearing, which was attended by the wives of the ex-agents and other relatives. The senators bored in on some of the case's most nagging questions: Why the drug smuggler, who had been driving a van with a million-dollar payload of marijuana, was given immunity to testify against Ramos and Compean; why the trafficker was given unfettered permission to cross into the United States after the agents were charged; and whether he used that border-crossing privilege to bring in another million-dollar marijuana haul just months after the February 2005 incident near El Paso. "The public sees two Border Patrol agents serving long prison sentences while an admitted drug smuggler goes free," Cornyn said, adding that he has "serious concerns about the judgment calls made during the prosecution of this case."

It would be hard to imaglne this hearing not helping the Compean and Ramos cases in the push for presidential pardons.

5 comments:

roger said...

There is another side of this story...the side based on evidence and our law...not the politics brought in by border hawks and the border patrol union who hope to expand their power and protect their own. This is about the rule of law...something so many border hawks throw around as sacred and now dismiss when it doesn't suit them.

http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/txw/press_releases/2006/Sutton%20statement%20re%20compean%20and%20ramos%20conviction.pdf

Read what the evidence was and what happened at this trial. Published by OUR Department of Justice.

We can talk about whether the sentence is too tough, like Feinstein does, and about the utility of sentencing guidelines, but these men are criminals. Convicted criminals and anything that the border patrol union prez has to say about it is totally irrelevant. The only relevant thing is what happened in that trial, what those jurors saw, what the judge did when applying our law. If they made a mistake in our law. Let the men appeal.

They do not deserve a pardon for what they did...even if it was LATER discovered that the person was a drug dealer.

Anonymous said...

There were facts withheld from the jury and several of them say they would have judged otherwise had they known them. Additionally, could it possibly be true that the perp was lying??? WHY would he have paused and looked back just feet from his escape? That alone convinces me he had a REASON. To make a cell phone call? Not likely when two cars were visibly waiting for him. To shoot his puruers is a more logical explanation. But, hey, it will come down to the individual's need to justify their outlook on life. Mine is that it is reasonable to assume that drug dealers are lawbreakers and will behave that way in these circumstances and that law officers abide by the rules and will behave that way in most circumstances.

roger said...

Anon,

If what you say was true and there were facts withheld, and that these facts can be produced, then that is what an appeal if for. If it is reversed on appeal, I will accept what our justice system delivers.

Anonymous said...

Good. And I believe that the Senate has done a wise thing in requesting a commutaion of the sentence which would allow the agents to continue to pursue their case on appeal. Their's would not be the first case Sutton will have lost on appeal.
Further, the House is pursuing the reasons for the aggressive tactics of the prosecution by looking into the possibility of undue influence by a foreign power. (well, sort of a power).

Anonymous said...

Roger, read the links and you will learn why these convictions should be overturned. Three jurors, in sworn statements, said they would have voted "not guilty" had the judge not insisted on a unanimous verdict. Sutton lied and was caught lying. Sutton paid off the smuggler to testify and waged a smear campaign against the agents for which he was heavily criticized and forced to withdraw. This is not a case where 100 citizens watched a police officer beat a man that was casually crossing the street. It is a case where a drug smuggler caught in the act was fleeing across the border and turned to shoot two agents (as drug smugglers often do) at which the agents wisely opened fire to protect themselves. Sutton, who has is infamous for illegal and unethical practices used to take down law enforcement personnel, happened to see this as an opportunity when the smuggler's brother who is familiar with Sutton's reputation, called Sutton to help him go after these two.