Skip to comments.No Pardon Promise for Ex-Border Patrol Agents
Posted on 07/19/2007 6:39:50 PM PDT by Rodney King
No Pardon Promise for Ex-Border Patrol Agents By Fred Lucas CNSNews.com Staff Writer July 19, 2007
(1st Add: Adds background.)
(CNSNews.com) - President George W. Bush Thursday praised the federal prosecutor who was grilled two days earlier by a Senate panel for his role in the conviction of two U.S. Border Patrol agents for the shooting a drug dealer.
Taking questions from members of the Nashville, Tenn., Chamber of Commerce after a speech, Bush declined to promise to pardon the two agents, as a growing number of lawmakers are urging.
"I'm not going to make that kind of promise in a forum like this," Bush said. "Obviously I am interested in facts. I know the prosecutor very well, Johnny Sutton. He's a dear friend of mine from Texas. He's a fair guy. He is an even-handed guy."
Sutton has a long association with the president. Between 1995 and 2000, he served as then Texas Gov. George W. Bush's criminal justice policy director.
Before he was appointed to the post of U.S. attorney, Sutton served as a policy coordinator in the Bush-Cheney transition team when the president was first elected.
Bush spoke for the first time in months regarding the controversial case of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, sentenced to 11 and 12 years respectively in federal prison for shooting a fleeing drug smuggler in the buttocks in February 2005 and then trying to cover up the shooting. Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, a Mexican national, was attempting to smuggle 743 pounds of marijuana into the country.
On Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent Bush a letter asking him to commute the sentence. A bill in the House, with more than 100 co-sponsors, is calling for a congressional pardon.
Bush gave no sign Thursday that he was feeling the heat over the episode.
"I know this is an emotional issue, but people need to look at the facts," he said. "These men were convicted by a jury of their peers after listening to the facts as my friend, Johnny Sutton, presented them. But anyway, no, I won't make you that promise."
Sutton, who has borne the brunt of public anger over the Ramos-Compean case, offered Aldrete-Davila immunity from prosecution for trying to smuggle the drugs into the U.S., in return for the Mexican's testimony against the two border agents.
In an interview with Cybercast News Service early this year, Sutton attributed public sentiment to distorted media coverage of the affair.
He faced fire from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday during a hearing examining the case.
Senators criticized him specifically for bringing a firearms charge that has a mandatory 10-year-minimum sentence, while also asking why Aldrete-Davila had been given immunity. Sutton was also asked why the jury in the agents' trial was not told about an alleged subsequent drug-smuggling offense by Aldrete-Davila.
Sutton has held firm that the prosecution was about upholding the rule of law. He stressed that Aldrete-Davila was unarmed and that the two agents had attempted to cover up the shooting.
In their letter to the president, Feinstein and Cornyn - both Judiciary Committee members - said the hearing had "confirmed the concerns raised by many members of the public: that this penalty levied on these agents is excessive and that they deserve the immediate exercise of your executive clemency powers."
"Ramos and Compean have now been in prison for more than six months," the letter continued. "Agent Ramos has been physically assaulted while serving his term and the agents' request to remain out of prison while their appeal was pending was denied by the Fifth Circuit. Both agents will remain incarcerated for many more months, even if their conviction is ultimately thrown out - unless action is taken quickly."
The woman who asked the president about the agents at the Nashville gathering said, "The Tennessee General Assembly passed a resolution, with 91 votes in the House and 30 in the Senate, asking our Tennessee delegation to go to you asking for a pardon for these two men that were tried, where information was kept back from their trial.
"And there's also a resolution in the House, H.R. 40, with a number of our Tennessee delegation signed on to that," the woman added. "Will you pardon these men that are unjustly imprisoned?"
Bush replied, "You've got a nice smile, but you can't entice me into making a public statement."
That is not nice to say. A few more stikes and zapp.
Bush suffers from ‘my friend’ syndrome.
From Harriet Miers, to Michael Brown, to Johnny Sutton, it is Bush’s most fatal political flaw.
He is a blind as a Democrat on the issue, and the base has left him out to wither and gray like an old maid.
Don’t forget Gonzales, the worth of all of them.
I meant “worst” not “worth”.
I thought you had a lisp !!!
Not only are they traitors, they are on the side of the Terrorists.
Any pol or PAC that sends a postage-paid envelope to me gets it back with two stickers across the pledge form:
“PARDON Ramos, Compean & Hernandez” and “Where’s the Fence?” Recipients so far include McCain, Clinton, Emily’s List, RNC and Laura Bush. They’ll never know, but it’s theraputic.
Heard Dubya’s “dear friend” Sutton on Glenn Beck today. He’s a good talker, but I can’t be convinced it should be a jailable offense for any LEO to shoot a fleeing illegal alien dope smuggler, armed or not, in the a$$. Bush shot himself in the foot by embracing Sutton & his folly today.
Either can I, or else all they have to do is turn their backs to the border agents and keep running.
Let's put together the definitive list of incompetents that Bush tolerated:
Freepers, fire at will!
Bush's Fatal Friendships 1. Harriet Miers 2. Alberto Gonzales 3. Michael Brown 4. Johnny Sutton 5. George Tenet ...
Please read up on the prosecutor in the Duke Lacrosse case. I am sure he was a dear friend of someone, but he had an evil streak. The Border Patrol agents that Johnny Sutton persecuted are very dear friends to a lot of us.
From: A citizen outside of the Beltway - David Fglton ========================================================== PS: Perscurted is the correct usage in this case!
1. Harriet Miers
2. Alberto Gonzales
3. Michael Brown
4. Johnny Sutton
5. George Tenet
I’m thinking that Condi Rice has proved to be a huge disappointment.
6. Condi Rice
Bush is wrong. The border patrol agents should be freed. Having a drug smuggler testify was insane. This case stinks of cover up and drug dealer connections. We’ll never know the truth other than the border patrols agents are victims. Bush shouldn’t have defended Sutton and make him sound like his buddy. Anything to do with Mexico has priority over Americans with Bush.What is wrong with him? A drug dealer over law enforcement? Sutton over border security? I hope Bush sees the light and gets the agents out.
Can’t the congress get these agents out? Bush can’t be the only option.
You’re correct that Bush has a soft-spot for Mexico - it’s in his head.
Surprise, surprise... Bush refuses to do anything that disappoints Mexico or illegal aliens in the US.
The dismissive, jocular, arrogant tone of Signor Jorge New Tone is revolting. That it originates from unconscious incompetence is even more disgusting.
Bush, being no intellectual heavyweight, has a complete lack of comprehension of the implication of an open southern border. Our lives, our economy, our freedom, and our future are at stake.
Bush has sold America out.
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