Skip to comments.Two reports clash on agents - study also fails to back what House members were told (Ramos/Compean)
Posted on 02/08/2007 10:21:37 AM PST by calcowgirl
A new Department of Homeland Security report about two Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting a drug smuggler directly contradicts key conclusions reached by the department's own investigator on the case.
The report also does not support assertions about the agents made by the department's Office of Inspector General to several members of Congress during a private meeting last fall.
The Report of Investigation, written Nov. 20 - 21 months after the shooting - and released Wednesday, concludes that nine other agents at the scene of the shooting did not know it had taken place and thus were not responsible for reporting it.
The report states that Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean shot smuggler Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, then tried to cover up the incident by failing to file a report. It also asserts that the other agents on the scene were not aware shots had been fired.
All the names - other than Ramos, Compean and Aldrete- Davila - of those at the shooting scene, as well as several pages of the Border Patrol's firearms policy, were blacked out in the report.
"Subsequently, the DHS OIG investigation found no evidence to suggest that (names redacted) had any knowledge of an assault on a BP agent, nor did (names redacted) have any knowledge of a reportable shooting incident ...," the report states.
But that finding directly contradicts a Department of Homeland Security memo written March 12, 2005 - less than a month after the Feb. 17, 2005, shooting - by Christopher Sanchez, the original investigating officer for the Homeland Security Inspector General's Office.
In the memo, one of several confidential Homeland Security documents about the incident obtained by The Sun's sister newspaper based in Ontario, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Sanchez wrote that all the Border Patrol agents on scene, including two supervisors, knew about the shooting when it happened and failed to report it.
"Investigation disclosed that the following Border Patrol agents were at the location of the shooting incident, assisted in destroying evidence of the shooting, and/or knew/heard about the shooting: Oscar Juarez, Arturo Vasquez, Jose Mendoza, David Jaquez, Lance Medrano, Lorenzo Yrigoyen, Rene Mendez, Robert Arnold, and Jonathan Richards," Sanchez wrote.
Richards and Arnold were the supervisors on scene.
Further, Border Patrol firearms policy prohibits agents involved in a shooting from filing a written report on the incident, as reported earlier this week.
The policy requires that supervisors or investigators file the report within three hours of the incident.
"Ensure that supervisory personnel ... are aware that employees involved in a shooting incident shall not be required or allowed to submit a written statement of the circumstances surrounding the incident," according to the firearms policy.
The report released Wednesday also fails to support assertions made about Compean and Ramos by Office of Inspector General officials to four members of Congress during a private meeting in September.
At that meeting, OIG employees speaking on behalf of Inspector General Richard Skinner told the congressmen that the agents "were out to shoot Mexicans" the day they shot Aldrete-Davila, and that the smuggler posed no threat to them.
Nothing in the new report backs up either of those assertions.
On Monday, Skinner, in testimony before the House Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee, admitted under oath that the congressmen were given false information about the agents by high-ranking members of his department.
Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, one of the four congressmen, on Wednesday demanded the resignation of all investigators and Office of Inspector General officials who misled the congressmen.
According to Culberson's office, Elizabeth Redman, assistant inspector general for investigations under Skinner, made the allegations to House members and promised that evidence against the agents would be provided.
Inspector General Congresssional Liaison Tamara Faulkner also was at the September meeting on behalf of Skinner.
Neither Redman nor Faulkner could be reached for comment Wednesday.
Skinner also was questioned Wednesday at a House Homeland Security subcommittee on Management, Oversight and Investigations hearing by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who also was at the September meeting. Skinner apologized to McCaul for the OIG employees' unsupported statements about the agents.
McCaul has called for a congressional hearing into the matter.
"While I appreciated Mr. Skinner's accepting his office's mistakes, the fact remains that members of Congress were, at the very least, misled, and at most outright lied to," McCaul said. "Hearings need to be held about this, and more questions need answering."
TJ Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said the report released by the Inspector General's Office should not be trusted now that Skinner has admitted his office deceived the congressmen.
"This report is a transparent attempt to justify the government's inexcusable prosecution of two innocent law-enforcement officers," Bonner said. "Rather than being an objective recitation of facts, it is interspersed with innuendo, misrepresentations, and outright lies."
Compean and Ramos were convicted in March of shooting Aldrete-Davila in the buttocks, violating his civil rights and attempting to cover up their actions. They were sentenced to 12 and 11 years, respectively, in federal prison.
Aldrete-Davila was found to be driving a van with nearly $1 million of marijuana. He is suing the Border Patrol for $5 million.
It would be helpful if the jurors at some point in the deliberations sent a note to the judge that they were deadlocked. It would even better that the court had to send the jury an instruction that is called a "dynamite charge." Without the above, it will be difficult to prevail on a point of error regarding the '3 JURORS'.IMHO.
It would be helpful if the jurors at some point in the deliberations sent a note to the judge that they were deadlocked. It would even better that the court had to send the jury an instruction that is called a "dynamite charge." Without the above, it will be difficult to prevail on a point of error regarding the '3 JURORS'.IMHO. I would like a stronger affidavit then I have seen. It still worth pursuing.
I have no idea if Cardone is PO'd and I don't know anything about her. I've pulled most all of the docs available on Pacer, and looked pretty closely at the docket. This judge cut no slack for the defense from day one. Defense motion, motion, motion... deny, deny, deny. Prosecution motion to exclude, motion to seal, motion to in limine.... grant, grant, grant. With so many sealed proceedings and docs, it's hard to tell what the heck is going on.
As to legal defense fund, see below:
(snip -- headers, etc.)
Comes now Ignacio Ramos, Jr., by and through his undersigned attorney, and moves this Court to grant this motion and find Defendant to be indigent and allow him to proceed in forma pauperis in this appeal, and would show the Court the following:
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully requested that this Court grant this motion, and allow Mr. Ramos to proceed in this appeal in forma pauperis, without payment of costs, including the transcript.
(snip... Signatures, etc. )
Doc # Filed Description 140 3/6/2006 Court's Charge/Instructions to Jury 141 3/6/2006 Jury Note (Sealed) 142 3/6/2006 Minutes - Miscellaneous -- 3/6/2006 Minutes - Miscellaneous 143 3/7/2006 Jury Note (Sealed) -- 3/7/2006 Remark (No Doc #) -- 3/7/2006 Remark (No Doc #) 144 3/7/2006 Jury Note (Sealed) -- 3/7/2006 Minutes - Miscellaneous 145 3/7/2006 Jury Note (Sealed) 146 3/7/2006 Minutes - Miscellaneous 147 3/8/2006 Jury Note (Sealed) 148 3/8/2006 Jury Verdict - Compean (Unredacted Jury Verdict sealed) 149 3/8/2006 Jury Verdict - Ramos (Unredacted Jury Verdict sealed) 150 3/8/2006 Minutes - Miscellaneous
Thanks for the info. And thanks for putting KB on the ping--I meant to do that but obviously forgot.
On another note, Ramos appealed to the 5th circuit the judges order denying his request to remain free on bond pending appeal. Any idea how long that process usually takes?
I hate to hazard a guess. It is unusual for the appellate court reverse the trial court on this type ruling. I think the 5th will want to see the transcript first, or maybe the PSI which should have a factual discussion and recommendations on release pending appeal, such as amount of bond or restrictions on the release like an ankle bracelet. I would guess the time between when the 5th receives the transcript and clerk's record and the time for the appellant's briefs are to be filed with the court is when they will issue the decision.
Well, I feel confident that when it comes to this subject, you know a whole lot more than me! I will defer to your take, with one question that doesn't make sense to me.
Why would the court SEAL jury requests to retire for the day? Or any purely administrative matter? I would think they would seal the jury instructions long before they would seal anything like that (which they didn't).
The sealing of the notes is normal. I'm not sure of the precedent, but it customary at least here in Texas. The defense attorney is notified of the note and it's contents so they are aware if there is any potential problems. The jury instructions and charge are usually fairly generic and based on a template of instructions based on instructions that have been previously approved of by the appellate courts so that there is not the problem of potential error. Use the template and plug in the counts and allegations. I'm sure that was the situation in this case. I'm not aware of a case where the jury instruction and charge was sealed.