Skip to comments.Not a pardonable offense (Border Patrol Barf Alert)
Posted on 02/10/2007 2:05:41 PM PST by TheeOhioInfidel
For an agent of the Mexican government, Johnny Sutton speaks pretty good English.
That's the title anti-immigrant zealots hung on the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas after prosecutors in his office convicted ex-Border Patrol agents Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos of shooting 15 times at an unarmed suspect who was running away.
Sentenced to 12 years and 11 years in prison, the former agents are behind bars.
Because the defendants were once Border Patrol agents and because the convictions relied on testimony from the victim - a Mexican drug smuggler who got immunity - the prosecutors have become absolutely toxic in the minds of those who think an invasion is under way and that Border Patrol agents are the sentries against the tide.
Hence the accusation by some that Sutton - along with his bosses, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and President Bush - has become an agent of the Mexican government.
"We just evaluate the facts," Sutton said. "We don't get to choose the facts. We don't get to choose the witnesses. We just have to decide whether a crime was committed and whether it's appropriate that it be prosecuted."
According to the evidence presented at the trial, including the agents' testimony and their statements after the incident, here are the facts.
On Feb. 17, 2005, about 1 p.m., Compean and Ramos were on duty along the U.S.-Mexico border when they observed a suspicious vehicle - a van that turned out to be loaded with 700 pounds of marijuana.
The driver - later identified as Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila - jumped out of the vehicle and tried to run back into Mexico.
Ramos and Compean testified they made a point of looking at the suspect's hands and saw no weapon. Compean fired at least 14 rounds and Ramos fired once.
Ramos wounded the suspect and saw him limp into Mexico. The agents collected the shell casings and filed false reports, trying to cover up the incident.
The case has become a cause célèbre for radio talk-show hosts, anti-immigrant groups, congressional Republicans, Minuteman vigilantes and cable television talkers with a knack for turning ranting into ratings.
The convictions also have been sucked into the wind tunnel of the immigration debate and turned Republican hard-liners into bleeding hearts.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, wrote a resolution demanding that Bush pardon Compean and Ramos.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, has called Bush a "disgrace" and someone who is "on the side of our enemies."
Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach - who used to be a lobbyist for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a nativist organization that wants to limit even legal immigration - quipped that, since Bush wants amnesty for 12 million illegal immigrants, he should simply add two more names to the list.
Basically, Bilbray lumped together former Border Patrol agents with illegal immigrants. What would the two have in common? Only Spanish surnames.
Apparently, you can take the congressman out of the nativist group but you can't take the nativism out of the congressman.
I asked Sutton about the insistence by some that this case illustrates the contempt the Bush administration has for border security and the Border Patrol.
"I don't take it too seriously," he said. "I'm a federal prosecutor in charge of prosecuting drugs and immigration for 660 miles of Mexican-Texas border. I'm in the business of locking up illegal aliens who come across and drug smugglers who come across, and so I work with Border Patrol day in and day out."
Sutton said he has a lot of respect for the Border Patrol and its responsibilities.
"They do have a very, very hard job," he said. "And 99.9 percent of them are out there doing it right, abiding by the rules in these very stressful situations, and they're doing just fine. But when you're in those kinds of high-stress situations, you can make big mistakes."
By all accounts, these agents made big mistakes. The same goes for those who are shamelessly using this sad case to advance their own agendas.
"It's just so rare that you have a situation like this," Sutton said. "But (Border Patrol agents) are human beings, and sometimes, just like anyone else, they're going to step over the line, and if they commit crimes, just like everybody else, they're not above the law."
Bush has said he will examine the case and determine if a pardon is warranted.
Navarrette is a columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
This guy is stupid. I've already emailed him.
If he does get it he sure is trying hard to convince us he doesn't.
Ruben Navarette Ping! (barf alert is appropriate)
"You cannot make and official act, done under color of law, and without criminal intent and from a sense of public duty, a crime."
John Bingham, co-author 14th amendment
Unfortunately, Navarrette actually gets widely published. I've seen this same article listed in other publications (under different titles) for about the last week.
"This guy is stupid. I've already emailed him."
It won't do any good, the San Diego Union is a pro Mexican newspaper, and was before they made Navarrette their dominate voice, at one time they tried adding a Spanish language page to that section.
I just spent last week witnessing a senior DA prosecute a friend of mine for carrying a concealed weapon with a permit in the airport. The DA wanted a felony! The DA conveniently lost much of the exculpatory evidence, and lied on several occasions to the jury. The jury did not buy it (thank God!). My friend had legal authority and no motive. But, I witnessed how a DA can stack the deck against someone, imtimadate them, even lie. I don't trust them anymore, I just can't figure out why the press would!
I've read other pro-illegal articles from this man.
Guys like Navarette aren't the problem. The main problem sits in the White House like a potted plant.
What is the border patrol supposed to do? Ensure a safe crossing to drug smugglers and other criminals?
The Federal Government's lack of attention to the border issues goes against the spirit of the Constitution which was enacted to "provide for the common defense". And because the have so long looked the other way, they have created a huge problem. Now, they charge those guarding our border with attempted murder?
If the facts are as reported above, I'd saw there was criminal intent. Trying to cover it up is a good evidence.
Regurgitated food for the gullibale masses. Add the double-speak of the pragmatists, and the public remains at best confused. And he obviously hates Duncan Hunter. I am so sick of these amnesty establishment sympathizers.
>If the facts are as reported above, I'd saw there was criminal intent. Trying to cover it up is a good evidence.<
What, pick up shell casings? They assumed, and there was no evidence, that they had hit no one, therefore there was no crime scene. Two supervisors were on site and fully aware there was multiple discharges of firearms.
I've been wondering, is it true that Bush's presidential library is going to be built in Mexico City, Mexico?
The agents collected the shell casings and filed false reports, trying to cover up the incident.
Why did they do this???? This is probably the reason they are in jail and most likely the reason they have not been pardoned yet. I just don't like the idea they covered it up. Am I alone in this bothering me?
Barf alert is too mild. This drivel called for a (PUKE ALERT) in big red three inch letters.
Mr. Sutton, you are a liar. The court record shows your office made dozens of motions to exclude witness and facts you didn't want on the record.
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