Better late than never:
On his last full day in office, President Bush commuted the controversial sentences of two former Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting a Mexican drug runner in 2005.
The imprisonment of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean had sparked outcry from critics who said the men were just doing their jobs and were punished too harshly. They had been sentenced to 11- and 12-year sentences, respectively.
Their sentences will now expire on March 20 of this year.
Ramos and Compean were sentenced in connection with the shooting of Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, who was shot in the buttocks while trying to flee along the Texas border. He admitted smuggling several hundred pounds of marijuana on the day he was shot and pleaded guilty last year to drug charges related to two other smuggling attempts.
The pair’s case ignited debate across the country, as a chorus of organizations and members of Congress — many of them Republican — argued that the men were just doing their jobs. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., was particularly outspoken on the issue, at one time describing Ramos and Compean as “unjustly convicted men who never should have been prosecuted in the first place.”
Rohrabacher applauded Bush on Monday, telling FOXNews.com “his own stubbornness was overcome by better parts of his own soul.”
“The order … reaffirms our faith that the system works, if indeed the American people are willing to work at it,” he said.
Nearly the entire congressional delegation from Texas and other lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle pleaded with Bush to grant them clemency. Conservatives hailed Bush’s decision Monday.
“The whole thing was ridiculous from beginning to end, and two years was way too long for them to serve,” said radio talk show host Laura Ingraham. “Conservatives are very happy across the country.”
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said in a written statement that Bush had “responded to the calls for compassion that came from across the country and made the right decision in granting these two men commutations.”
The border agents argued during their trials that they believed Davila was armed and that they shot him in self defense. The prosecutor in the case said there was no evidence linking the smuggler to the van that contained the marijuana. The prosecutor also said the border agents didn’t report the shooting and tampered with evidence by picking up several spent shell casings.
The agents were fired after their convictions on several charges, including assault with a dangerous weapon and with serious bodily injury, violation of civil rights and obstruction of justice. All their convictions, except obstruction of justice, were upheld on appeal.
The whole case was bullshit to begin with. The “obstruction” involved following orders they received from their supervisor, including instructions to police up the shell casings.
They were maliciously prosecuted and falsely imprisoned for doing their jobs. The scumbag they (literally) shot in the ass, Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, is a known smuggler with a very long criminal record.
He’s been re-arrested on more trafficking charges and is currently in jail. Big surprise.
At least Compean and Ramos can get on with their lives. I wouldn’t go back to the Border Patrol, if I were them. Especially since the illegals get more rights than the law enforcers.
It’s bad enough our border leaks like a sieve, and that the agents asssigned to protect it are understaffed, overworked, and harassed by over-zealous US attorneys looking for 15 minutes of fame.
As a result, many border agents are reluctant to aggressively pursue illegals other fleeing criminals, thanks to the prosecutorial misconduct of the assholes at the “Department of Justice”. They never seem to go after the right lawbreakers…like Bubba Clinton, for instance.
I expect to hear wailing and gnashing of teeth from all the “La Raza” , “MEChA”, and “Aztlan” dipshits in 3….2….1….