Okay, I didn’t realize what a big deal it was to have the incident reported. I heard that supervisors were on scene almost immediately and that they therefore didn’t have to file a report. But why would picking up the brass be an issue? They know he fired shots. Is it just a crime scene thing?
Yes, and Compean was an instructor that taught others the proper procedures about handling such a scene, so he couldn't reasonably argue that he didn't know better.
Their best argument was that they were lax in following regulations and just didn't want to deal with filing a report.
In my opinion the defense made a good case that a lot of regulations were commonly ignored in that border patrol office.
The testimony by some of the other agents left me thinking that Ramos and Compean were among the better agents there in actually trying to do their jobs if not exactly by the book.
Their supervisor was obviously trying to cover his own behind. It was obvious that he had to know that a high speed chase occurred with multiple units chasing after the suspect, however all high speed chases require supervisor approval and can only be done in sedans. None of the agents drove sedans, and the supervisor admitted that not only had he not approved a chase in this instance, but that he had never approved any high speed chases.
It was also obvious that a number of agents knew that shots were fired and none of them made any noise about the fact that no investigation was done and no report was filed.
To me that made it seem obvious that no one thought it was really necessary, or I guess the other option was that no one cared that they had tried to shoot the guy. I tend to believe that laziness is much more likely than malice, but the jury apparently felt differently.
What you ended up was with all of the witnesses being complicit in the incident to some degree. None of them had solid credibility. In the end it came down to Compean saying he saw a gun in the suspects hand and the suspect saying that he was shot for no reason. Somehow the jury decided that added up to guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
I don't think the two are completely innocent, but I also don't think there was nearly enough evidence to convict them of the crimes they were charged with, and the 10 year addition to the sentence for having used a firearm was completely ridicules.