I’m generally not a fan of presidential pardons, due to the fact that they can be abused so readily. However there are cases where our justice system fails, innocent people suffer, and a pardon can help set things right. It is hard to find better examples of individuals who deserve a pardon more than Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Antonio Compean. These men were sent to prison for shooting a drug smugger, who they believed was armed, and who had become violent before attempting to escape across the border with Mexico. While in prison, these men have suffered severe beatings at the hands of jailed illegal immigrants, and have had to endured solitary confinement (for their own safety). The drug smuggler, on the other hand, was granted immunity and sued the Border Patrol for supposedly violating his civil rights.
I am a strong supporter of civil rights, and that I do not condone police misconduct. I’ve been rather critical of police departments that use excessive force. However I see no such misconduct or civil rights violation here. Instead, we have a criminal who was smuggling hundreds of pounds of drugs into this country, and who attacked Border Patrol agents who were trying to apprehend him. The agents were doing their jobs, and feared for their safety. Their judgment in such situations should be paid a good deal of deference by judges and jurors who are sitting in the safety of a courtroom. These men deserve medals, not a jail cells.
Gun Owners of America sent out the following email, with more information on how this unjust situation can be redressed.
Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Gun Owners Foundation (GOF) already has filed not one, but two friend
of the court briefs for Ignacio Ramos and Jose Antonio Compean. In
those briefs, GOF has pointed out to the Fifth Circuit Court of
Appeals that the 10-year conviction of the two agents is for a crime
which doesn’t exist.
The two agents were convicted of the “Discharge of a Firearm in
Relation to a Crime of Violence” — something which is not an
offense, rather it is a sentencing enhancement after the government
has established illegal gun possession, use or carrying.
Of course, if the Feds had gone for that kind of charge, they would
have run into the problem that the agents were required to possess,
use and carry guns on them while on duty. That is why the US
Attorney, Johnny Sutton, went for, and succeeded, in making up an
offense that would not force him to explain away that the agents are
required to be armed.
One of the reasons the Border Patrol requires agents to be armed is
so they can use their guns against armed drug smugglers such as
Even if the Supreme Court reverses this injustice done to Ramos and
Compean, they could expect to sit in jail for upwards of another two
years — for a crime that was impossible for them to commit.
GOF was a friend of the court in a similar case before the Supreme
Court. Our position was upheld nine-to-nothing. It involved a drug
dealer who took a gun in payment for a bag of dope. The Feds gave
him many extra years because he supposedly had “used” a gun in a
crime. The Supreme Court agreed that such a view was ridiculous and
clearly not the intent of the law. The Fifth Circuit has simply
overlooked these fatal flaws in the government’s case.
George Bush is thinking about his legacy. We have a chance to
convince him that his legacy is on the verge of staining his
reputation with the miscarriage of justice perpetrated by the federal
prosecutor, Johnny Sutton. Keep in mind that Sutton lied to the
trial court and to the appeals court about Aldrete’s connections with
the drug trade. He also concealed from the jury that he was paying
Aldrete for his testimony against the agents.
Hopefully, President Bush does not want to be known as one who stood
by while innocent men — and the wives and children — suffered
because of a blatant injustice.
All gun owners should be alarmed at what the government has done to
these two agents. If they will do this to police officers, we cannot
assume they will treat the rest of the population any better. The
two GOF briefs are at:
ACTION: Please use the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at
http://gunowners.org/activism.htm to send an e-mail (see sample
below) to President Bush to ask him to pardon these two men whose
only crime was to uphold the law.
—– Pre-written letter —–
Dear President Bush:
I am shocked that Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean are still in
jail. Their conviction on the ten-year count was fraudulent. There
is no such crime as “firing a gun in a federal crime.” That is only
an enhancement for other felony charges — for example, reckless
Essentially, Ramos and Compean — to get this sentencing enhancement
— would have had to illegally possess their firearms and recklessly
endanger the drug smuggler they shot. But isn’t the possession of
firearms part of their job description?
Please pardon these men in time for Christmas.
A tip of my hat to Anders, for pointing out the effort to get pardsons for Ramos and Compean.