Skip to comments.Bush Won't Promise to Pardon Border Agents
Posted on 07/21/2007 7:28:09 AM PDT by kellynla
Questioned by an audience member at a forum, President Bush said he could not promise to pardon former U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
"I'm not going to make that kind of promise in a forum like this," Bush said at the Nashville event yesterday, which focused on his budget.
Bush referred to the U.S. attorney responsible for the case, Johnny Sutton, as "a dear friend of mine" and called him a "fair guy" and "even-handed," according to a White House transcript.
The president elicited laughter when he told the questioner, "You've got a nice smile, but you can't entice me into making a public statement."
"I know this is an emotional issue, but people need to look at the facts," Bush 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."
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Ramos and Compean are serving 11- and 12-year prison sentences, respectively, after a jury convicted them last year of violating federal gun laws and covering up the shooting of a drug smuggler as he fled back to Mexico after driving across the border with 742 pounds of marijuana. Sutton's office gave the smuggler, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, immunity to serve as the government's star witness and testify against the border agents.
As WND reported, after a Senate hearing Tuesday, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, asked Bush to commute the sentences, saying "it became very clear the sentences did not match the crime."
Feinstein concluded the hearing with a vow to look further into why prosecutors charged the men under section 924(c) of the U.S. code, which requires a 10-year sentence for using or carrying a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence.
Feinstein, during questioning of Sutton, argued the statute did not apply to Ramos and Compean in their pursuit of a drug smuggler at the Mexican border, because there was no underlying crime.
The senators called use of the statute in the case "prosecutorial overreach."
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. who will chair a similar hearing in the House July 31 told WND he believed the Senate session helped revive flagging interest in the case as Ramos and Compean passed 180 days of imprisonment while awaiting their appeals.
He would prefer a pardon, but said he was pleased Feinstein was taking action and found it ironic a "liberal Democrat" would do more than some "squishy Republican senators."
"I was gratified and just overwhelmed with admiration for Sen. Feinstein, that she definitely is taking this issue seriously and decided she is going to step up and fight for these little guys that are being squashed," Rohrabacher told WND.
Many supporters of Ramos and Compean have argued that if the president could pardon or commute the sentence of former White House aide "Scooter" Libby, he should show mercy to border agents who were prosecuted while a drug smuggler went free. The president commuted Libby's 30-month prison sentence earlier this month.
Rohrabacher told WND Sutton has refused to testify at the July 31 hearing of the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The congressman will examine alleged involvement of the Mexican government in the decision to prosecute the agents and others, including Texas Deputy Sheriff Gilmer Hernandez. Sutton's Western District of Texas office also prosecuted Hernandez, who was convicted of violating the civil rights of two illegal aliens injured from shell fragments that struck them as the officer shot at the tires of a van in which they escaped from a routine traffic stop. The van driver had tried to run over Hernandez.
In his prepared testimony Tuesday, Sutton acknowledged the case had been "the subject of widespread media attention and heated debate."
He insisted that since the convictions, "it has been clear that some individuals do not understand the facts of the case, while others are merely concerned with using it to make a point about some other issue, such as illegal immigration."
Sutton said he wanted to use the hearing to "set the record straight by discussing the ample facts already in the public record, but I will be limited to discussing only information in the public record."
After recounting the prosecution's view of the case, he concluded: "The prosecution of Compean and Ramos was about our commitment to the rule of law and about two former law enforcement officers who committed serious crimes. An honest reading of the facts of this case shows that Compean and Ramos deliberately shot at an unarmed man in the back without justification, destroyed evidence to cover it up, and lied about it. A jury heard the facts and voted to convict. Faithfulness to the rule of law required me to bring this case."
Semper Fi, Kelly
But he won’t: GWB supports only the rich and powerful, as the Democrats, alas, have long contended. Of course, they too support the rich and powerful. There is no one “prominent” for the “little man” but he isn’t smart enough to figure that out.
Well who is acting based on emotions here?
Johnny Sutton: "I know this is an emotional issue."
Chief David Aguilar: "I know this is an emotional issue."
It sounds like everyone got the memo on how to try and discredit anyone that believes there is some reasonable doubt that justice was served.
Bush won’t overturn the jurisdiction of a a jury who put these men in jail. It has nothing to do with the rich and powerful. I do think they should be pardoned.
I don't see the humor in him anymore. Its just flippant arrogance and smart ass remarks, between calling us racist and rubes.
I had enough of it, more than enough.
He has no intentions of pardoning them...
I've been critical of W's communication content, skills, and delivery process for years, only to be flamed by bush-bots.
“my friend, Johnny Sutton?”
Bush opens mouth and inserts foot...
Hey, Jorge, it’s not about what your “friend” did,
it’s about falsely convicting two men who were just doing their job!!!
Something you, Jorge, could lean a lot from!
Of course Jorge is not goign to help these BP agents, the people he works for in Mexico would not approve.
“He has no intentions of pardoning them...”
I don’t know...he might pull a “Clinton” before he leaves office.
Although I hope it happens before then!
Not at all, GWB would do whatever needs to be done to protect his rich and powerful friends. Jurisdiction, poppycock!
Hey, Jorge, its not about what your friend did,
its about falsely convicting two men who were just doing their job!!!
Something you, Jorge, could LEARN a lot from!
White House doctors, during the colonoscopathy, found his head displayed on the monitor. One commented, “most unusual but not unexpected in his case!”
Based on the bought testimony of a drug smuggler. Maybe the President thinks we are all idiots because he conned us into thinking he was a conservative.
No more than he has of sealing the borders.
George Bush is no friend to the American people. His friend Scooter Libby was the lawyer who worked for Marc Rich for years while he broke the law and was pardoned. It boggles my mind as to how Scooter went from being the lawyer of a crook (not just an ordinary crook) to a high official on the VP staff.
Better question: “Mr. President, which is more important to you, being loyal to your friends, or providing justice to Ramos and Campeon?”
Sorry your thinking is that twisted. My hot button issue is the border, as with most of Americans. Bush has dropped the ball bigtime on that. There are lots of reasons for his actions there, all of them wrong. Just which DNC runner would be your choice??
I just found out the other day that Libby was Marc Rich’s lawyer.
I’m getting that feeling you get when you slam a door and it pops open so you keep on slamming it in a fit of temper. I hate that feeling.
Justice: The Senate will hold hearings this week on the imprisonment of two border patrol agents who took their jobs seriously. Will we finally treat them with the compassion and justice reserved for those they tried to apprehend?
...were pleased the Senate is finally going to take up the case brought by one U.S. attorney whose firing would have been completely justified.
That would be the case of former Border Patrol agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos, who are serving 12 and 11 years, respectively, for the non-fatal shooting in 2005 of Osvaldo Aldrete Davila. ...
The rogue prosecutor would be the U.S. attorney for Western Texas, Johnny Sutton, who has shown the same propensity for manipulating and concealing evidence for the furtherance of his agenda ....
Suttons actions have been so egregious that they prompted Diane Feinstein ... to ask for hearings into the prosecution and sentencing of Ramos and Compean. ...
As she noted ... These men were given sentences that some individuals convicted of murder would not receive. Sentences, we might add, based on the suppression of evidence and the governments reliance on and coddling of a repeat drug-runner. ...
What was notable about their case and trial was the extent to which the government took the smugglers word over theirs and how the government bent over backwards to find and assist Davila, to the point of granting him immunity, extending it to a subsequent felony, then concealing that second felony from the jury, something that might have shattered the accusers credibility.
A dear friend, no doubt. But "fair" and "even-handed"? Sutton belongs in prison.
The congressman will examine alleged involvement of the Mexican government in the decision to prosecute the agents and others... Thank you Dana Rohrabacher!
He's not going to do a thing for the Border Patrol, and the message is clear; don't do anything to the illegals or you'll be in prison too.
1. The two agents should be released and their records wiped clean.
2. They should be promoted to leadership positions, effective retroactively to the day of the incident.
3. They should be reimbursed for all compensation rightly due them, promotion included, from the day of the incident.
4. Mr. Sutton should forfeit all compensation he received during this kangaroo prosecution, and that should go to the two agents.
5. Mr. Sutton should fill out the remaining time in jail that the two border agents are currently looking at.
6. The witness (drug dealing illegal) should be executed.
That might set it right.
‘bout time Dana “Surfer Boy”(my congressman) did something for his salary. LOL
seriously though, I don’t expect the BP agents to be pardoned ‘til Jorge is walking out of the WH for the final time in 2009.
Yeah, LET just set aside the US Constution and the judical system and have the President rule by the emotional fiat of the rabid Know Nothings.
You all, as usual, are flying into hysteric based on pure emotion here.
We are a society of laws. It is not at ALL “Conservative: to demand the President just set aside Court rulings based on the screaming of 5th string talk radio hosts, columns in fringe publications or the various money rasining activist groups e mails.
Never bother to think about that fact do you all?
That ALL your information on this case is presented by tainted sources with a political ax to grind here? NO, because it fits your hyper emotional position on Illegal Immigration, you just accept as “facts” anything that fit your emotional whimsy
Well guess what. It possible for Border Patrol Agents to be thugs and crooks. Just because they serve in the Border Patrol doesn’t make them saints.
Bush comuted Libby’s sentence so he could stay out of jail pending the appeals process. But that process is still going forward. He did not over rule the legal system just to appease the emotional whisy of various far right pressure groups. That is what you all are demanding here.
Yes, sure. My friend, Harriet Miers. My friend, Alberto Gonzalez. My friend, Johnny Sutton.
Mr. President, when you take the oath of office, you must set aside your personal friendships and do what is best for the country, especially when your friends are idiots.
It is mind-boggling to me how tangled the DC web has become. Libby didn’t even see the inside of the jail. I wonder who has what on who if that makes sense.
A great deal of evidence was suppressed by the prosecution on what happened and the history of the illegal drug runner they shot. At least 3 of the jurist after the fact and after being informed of the facts say they would not have found the agents guilty.
Jorge Shrub is just doing his Mexican masters bidding again.
Agreed, at this point almost everybody who has any sympathy for these former Border Patrol officers, would be willing to settle for a commutation of the sentance.
The conviction and sentencing was an unjust application of the law, with so many prosecutorial errors, that a fair hearing would probably overturn the sentence altogether.
I suspect the Johnny Sutton was kind of “kicked downstairs” from a post he once held in Washington DC, and was just taking shots, relying on his long-standing friendship with Dubya to protect him.
I do not know what miscreant behavior Johnny Sutton engaged in at the DC office of Justice, but there may be some relation to his current behavior. Bears questioning.
(Mental image of a pair of grizzly bears acting as bad cop and worse cop, working over suspect under a single light bulb in a locked room.)
Bush comuted Libbys sentence so he could stay out of jail pending the appeals process.
Bush commuted the Scooter Libby sentence so he would not go to jail PERIOD.
Not just to stay out of jail pending the appeals process. Get out of Jail FREE
Calm down. I have no ax to grind here. The facts in this case are fairly well known. Agents shot a drug smuggler trying to flee back into Mexico. Or put more simply - an agent shot a criminal who refused to stop for law enforcement.
Why are these agents in prison? OK, a jury put them there. Juries can make mistakes as we saw with OJ. The Constitution provides the ability for Presidents to remedy cases where juries make mistakes. This was one of them. President Bush should exercise his Constitutional right to remedy this wrong.
"emotional, emotion"... you must have got the same memo as Sutton and Aguilar. The only hysteria I see are from folks like Johhny Sutton... and your post.
... set aside Court rulings based on the screaming of 5th string talk radio hosts, columns in fringe publications or the various money rasining activist groups e mails.
Actually, I based my opinion on a close reading of the OIG report and the trial transcript, as well as sworn testimony given in front of Congress. Just wondering, do you consider Investor's Business Daily a "fringe publication?"
Never bother to think about that fact do you all?
I think about why some here want to misrepresent the facts as the documents mentioned lay out.
That ALL your information on this case is presented by tainted sources with a political ax to grind here? NO, because it fits your hyper emotional position on Illegal Immigration, you just accept as facts anything that fit your emotional whimsy
NO. Most are not basing their opinions on that, as mentioned above. "Tainted... ax... hyper emotional position... emotional whimsy... " That sounds a bit hysterical to me. ;-)
Well guess what. It possible for Border Patrol Agents to be thugs and crooks. Just because they serve in the Border Patrol doesnt make them saints.
Well, duh! Unfortunately, that has been shown to not be the case in this instance.
Bush comuted Libbys sentence so he could stay out of jail pending the appeals process. But that process is still going forward.
And he argued that he would not step in on the Ramos/Compean case until the appeals process had been completed. Double standard?
He did not over rule the legal system just to appease the emotional whisy of various far right pressure groups. That is what you all are demanding here.
There you go again with that "emotional whisy" (sic) stuff. Get a grip!
Bush, quite simply, cannot be trusted.
Absolutely right. Bush has been in a coma for over a year now. He just doesn't get it that these two agents were convicted by a kangaroo court laced with a jury that has the intelligence of a monkey. Sorry, I didn't mean to insult monkeys.
There used to be Rockefeller Republicans, Taft Republicans, Eisenhower Republicans, Goldwater Republicans, Reagan Republicans. Now there are Sutton Republicans!!!!
Ramos and Compean’s problems is that they are not among the elites to whom GWB caters — elites in both parties too.
Yes, I guess the late Molly Ivins was right after all. But what is bizarre is that Molly disliked GWB when he stands for nearly everything that she did.
Actually, he got kicked upstairs after he got the conviction. I believe he remains in that post.
03/08/2006 Jury trial concludes. Jury votes to convict on all counts except Count 1, Assault with Intent to Commit Murder.
03/28/2006 DOJ Press Release, 3/29/2006 U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton appointed by Alberto Gonzales to serve as chair for the Attorney General's Advisory Committee a role "which plays a significant role in determining policies and programs of the Department and in carrying out the national goals set by the President and the Attorney General."
“It possible for Border Patrol Agents to be thugs and crooks?”
The government prosecuted Ramos and Compean criminally for acts that called only for an administrative reprimand, based the case on the testimony of an admitted drug smuggler brought back from Mexico and induced to testify by a grant of immunity, withheld crucial evidence from the jury, used the wrong law (that carries a mandatory additional 10-year sentence), and now won’t release the transcript of the trial without which the border guards cannot appeal.
The smuggler’s reward for his testimony was immunity, U.S. medical treatment, and a government-issued border pass.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security now admits that its official lied to congressmen in claiming that Ramos and Compean had confessed, lied, destroyed evidence, and said they did not believe the smuggler was a threat. No evidence ever existed for those damaging accusations.
The government denied their freedom pending appeal and put Ramos in a prison where five criminal illegal immigrants were alleged to have severely beat him and kicked him with steel-toed work boots. Reportedly, no prison guards defended him from this attack.
The prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, claims that Ramos shot an unarmed drug smuggler in the rear end as he was running away. But the ballistics report failed to prove the bullet came from Ramos’ gun, and the medical report showed that the bullet entered the smuggler’s buttock on his side at an angle consistent with Ramos’s contention that the smuggler was turning around with what looked like a weapon in his hand.
Ramos and Compean didn’t believe they wounded the smuggler because he kept running and escaped across the border into a waiting vehicle. The doctor’s description of the trajectory of the bullet he removed from the smuggler’s body casts doubt on the whole assumption that his wound came from shots fired by the border guards.
Sutton claims that Ramos and Compean were prosecuted because they “lied” and covered up their actions. The alleged lie was that they gave an incomplete report of their confrontation with the smuggler on Feb. 17, 2005.
As usual, your blathering is based on fiction.
Screw Bush and Sutton!