Free At Last?
President Bush made the right wing happy with his commutation of border patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. The two shot an unarmed man in the back as he was running away from them, fleeing across the Rio Grande. At the time, Compean and Ramas didn’t know he was a drug dealer.
Compean and Ramos were convicted of shooting admitted drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete Davila in the buttocks as he fled an abandoned van full of marijuana. They argued at trial that they thought Davila was armed and that they shot in self-defense, but the prosecutor said no evidence linked the van to Davila and that the agents didn’t report the shooting and tampered with evidence by picking up several spent shell casings.
They were fired after their convictions, and all charges but obstruction of justice were upheld on appeal.
Compeon received a 12 year sentence and Ramos 11 years. They were found guilty of assault with a dangerous weapon, defacing a crime scene and violating Davila’s rights. They tried to cover up the shooting and were given three years of supervised release after their terms would end and fined $2000 each.
These are not pardons, but rather commutations, meaning they stay convicted of their crimes, but they get out of prison March 20, and must pay fines and have supervised releases.
Even so, one former Justice Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of criticizing the president, decried the commutations today. “These men were totally unrepentant, there was obstruction of justice, they shot a man in the back. I am speechless. These are terrible clemency cases,” he said.Click here for reuse options!
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