Senate Committee on the Judiciary Holds Hearing on Ramos and Compean Prosecution
Today, Judicial Watch attended the Senate Committee on the Judiciary “Hearing to Examine the Prosecution of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.” The hearing follows months of public and political outcry against the incarceration of the Border Patrol agents and refusal of the Bush Administration to issue a pardon.
(Ramos and his partner, Compean, were guarding the Mexican border near El Paso in February 2005 when they intercepted a van loaded with 743 pounds of marijuana. The admitted drug smuggler, an illegal immigrant named Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, tried to flee and one of the agents shot him in the buttocks after seeing something shiny in Davila’s hand.
Federal prosecutors later went to Mexico and offered the drug dealer immunity to testify against the Border Patrol agents who were subsequently convicted on charges of causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm and violating the drug smuggler’s civil rights. The agents were sentenced to 11 and 12-year prison terms.)
According to testimony at the Senate hearing, despite their excellent commendations and impeccable service, Ramos and Compean were used as an example to other Border Patrol agents and received extraordinarily long jail sentences as the result of a law originally instituted to keep drug smugglers from carrying and firing weapons – a law that hardly seems applicable to U.S. law enforcement officers faced with a potentially dangerous drug smuggler.
Davila, “criminal member of a drug cartel” was given special immunity by the prosecution, the conditions of which he broke. The immunity offered to Davila was subject to Davila’s cooperation during trial, as well as providing information to the U.S. regarding the drug cartel itself. Davila ultimately refused to provide the information and required by the immunity agreement and contradicted the sworn testimony of another Border Patrol agent during the trial. U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton could not explain to the Judiciary Committee members why Davila’s immunity was not revoked, or why Davila was not prosecuted for perjury.
Davila’s immunity agreement also included a type of visitor “visa” which permitted Davila to cross the border without any supervision. This raises a larger issue — one the prosecution seemed reluctant to address: just how many times did Davila enter the U.S. unhindered and what did he bring with him? And who is responsible for such a distinct lack of oversight?
Essentially, this criminal illegal alien’s word was taken over that of two Border Patrol agents, who were vilified by prosecutors and thrown in jail for defending our border. According to testimony at the trial, Ramos and Compean, at most, should have received a 5-day suspension for failing to follow proper procedures in reporting the incident. Instead, these men were jailed and, subsequently, violently attacked by illegal alien inmates. That Ramos and Compean were treated as the “bad guys” (as U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton so eloquently called them) is an affront to our nation’s sovereignty, security and justice system. That they are being refused a pardon, is a disgrace.
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