Skip to comments.Convicted border agents finding a lot of supporters (Letters to Judge are welcome)
Posted on 08/13/2006 10:13:29 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
A conservative grass-roots organization has gathered nearly 40,000 signatures since Wednesday on a petition to be sent to President Bush on behalf of two Border Patrol agents convicted of violating a drug smuggler's civil rights.
Two of the jurors who convicted the agents also are expressing misgivings about the verdict, saying they were pressured by other jury members and the prosecution to reach a quick decision in the case.
Grassfire, a nonprofit organization that uses online petitions to affect legislation, has created a special Web link and letter to President Bush for Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, who were convicted on numerous counts of violating Mexican national Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila's civil rights during a pursuit on Feb. 17, 2005.
Steve Elliott, president of Grassfire, could not be reached Saturday for comment. The petition letter, which is posted on www.grassfire.org, is expected to be sent to the president when it reaches 100,000 signatures.
"As a citizen of the United States, I am outraged to learn that two U.S. Border agents are facing 20-year prison terms for doing their jobs -- pursuing illegal aliens who cross our border -- and I'm calling on you to officially pardon them for their actions," the letter states.
Thousands of letters have also poured in from across the nation to various support organizations for the Ramos and Compean families. Friends of the Border Patrol, a Chino-based nonprofit organization chaired by Andy Ramirez, is accepting donations for Ramos' defense fund. The National Border Patrol Council also has set up a Border Agents Ramos and Compean Defense Fund. TJ Bonner, president of the union, said the union donated $10,000 to begin the fund.
On Friday, two of the 12 jurors who convicted the agents said pressure from the prosecution and possible misconduct involving other jurors may have led to the conviction.
In an interview with the Daily Bulletin Saturday, a juror who asked to be identified only as Claudia said she was the last holdout on the jury before the guilty verdicts were handed down.
"I've had nightmares about the family since the day of the verdict," Claudia said. "I want to do whatever I can to support the families. I'm not at peace."
Ramos, 37, and Compean, 28, were convicted of assault with serious bodily injury; assault with a deadly weapon; discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence; and a civil rights violation. Aldrete-Davila, the Mexican national the agents were pursuing, was in possession of more than $1 million worth of marijuana, which he had brought into the United States through the small town of Fabens, Texas.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Kanof, who successfully prosecuted both men, argued during the trial that it was not the agents' job to pursue Davila in the first place.
Compean and Ramos also were convicted of four counts and two counts, respectively, of obstruction of justice for not reporting that their weapons had been fired.
The El Paso U.S. Probation Office recommended to Judge Kathleen Cardone that each man get 20 years.
Claudia and another juror, Bob Grouley, who teaches special-needs students, said the guidelines provided to the jury were at times difficult to understand and that several of the guidelines regarding the convictions were open to interpretation.
Both added that several of the jurors, including the foreman, pressured colleagues to go with a guilty verdict because spring break was a week away and they didn't want to be stuck in a long deliberation. Grouley said the foreman told the jurors, several of whom were holding out, that Judge Cardone would not accept a hung jury.
The foreman, whose name is being withheld, could not be reached for comment.
Grouley said he contacted Mary Stillenger, Ramos's attorney, several weeks after the trial was over to let her know he was not comfortable with the verdict.
"We had to go by the judge's orders, but this punishment doesn't fit the crime," Grouley said.
Kanof, who could not be reached for comment Saturday, said in an earlier interview with the Daily Bulletin that she questioned the jury after the verdict and that all members said they were satisfied with the verdict.
Texas U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton also released a statement on Friday in support of the conviction.
Monica Ramos, Ignacio's wife, said she doesn't blame the jurors who are speaking out, and is grateful for the recent wave of support for her husband.
"We look at these e-mails ... just the simplest of words have changed us and given us hope," said Ramos, who is dreading her husband's Aug. 22 sentencing date. "So many people from all across the country have cared enough about us that they have written us and prayed for us."
Signed. This is outrageous.
Signed. Absolutely outrageous. A drug smuggler 'who had his rights abused' had to be tracked down by Homeland Security and given immunity to provide his testimony? This has got to be the only country in the world which would do such a thing.
Thank you for this post and keeping the spotlight on this miscarriage of justice. I have signed the petition.
I read on another posting that it is possible that the drug dealer who was given immunity to testify against the US Agents may also be given US citizenship down the road. Any wonder why people outside the Beltway to not trust this government to structure a "comprehensive" illegal immigration plan.
This statement seems to indicate she wanted a conviction because she was like the Border Patrol. The fact is Border Patrol Agent are allowed to pursue suspects.
Interestingly enough all the Border Patrol Agents that have recently been caught smuggling or helping the cartels have recieved less jail time. Supervisors McClaren and Aviles from El Centro Sector were recently caught taken smugglers from detention and releasing them. They gave up names of agents and recieved hundreds of thousands of dollars. They were sentenced to five years, were allowed to keep their homes in exchange for restitution. These guys get ten years, yeah now that's justice /sarc.
An EPT (from which we cannot post) article on 8/10/06 mentions that Andy Ramirez, from the San Diego based Friends of the Border Patrol, will be testifying at the House immigration hearing to take place in El Paso Aug. 17 and plans to tell the story of the two border patrol agents.
Maybe then someone else will cover it?
I hear ya.. The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and Sara Carter and a few other rags and some at FR seem to be the only ones trying to get the word out.
FYI.......Lou Dobbs has been all over this case and has promised to continue helping these agents get publicity and hopefully some justice. The arrogance of these fed'l prosecutors over what should have been at the most most an administrative action is reprehensible.
I did find some interesting tidbits in the old El Paso Times articles. Ramos was offered various plea deals, but declined all of them believing he did nothing wrong. The last offer was to serve one year in prison and pay all of the drug smugglers medical expenses.
Those medical expenses were probably not small. While Sara Carter mentions only being shot "in the buttocks," the EPT reports at various times that his urethra was "severed," "ruptured," or "shattered" and had to be "rebuilt."
The defense also presented evidence that the drug smuggler was not hit in the back, as some allege (medical records showing the angle of the bullet's entry). The defense also attempted to expose other agents who had relatives or friends "on the other side of the law."
Not good (imo) for Compean, the EPT reported that he picked up only nine of his shell casings at first and later sent another border agent back to retrieve the other five. The agent testified that he threw them in a canal. Lots of covering up going on.
I'm glad to hear Dobbs is on it.
Something went very, very wrong here.
Doing their jobs? The agents shot the guy as he was running away (toward Mexico). They knew he was unarmed because he had already tried to surrender. When one of their shots finally hit the guy and he fell to the ground, the agents walked away. For all they knew, the guy could have been bleeding to death, but they just left him there and headed back north. Then they hid evidence of what happened and failed to report it. That's not their job.
Do they deserve 20 years?
btw, I saw the prosecutor on Fox last night discussing the case.
This is a lesson everyone can learn from.
If you're on a jury, NEVER vote against what you are absolutely convinced of.
Do not give in, do not back track, do not change your mind unless you are convinced by the evidence and the law, to the contrary.
Keep in mind, Jury Nullification can work, but the word needs to get out that the Jury is THE final judge on the law.
Signed and send the link and email to Burns, Rehburg and Baucus of Montana.
I don't know. What's the usual sentence for shooting a person? 20 years seems reasonable to me.