Monday, January 29, 2007

What are the Feds Trying to Hide

Is this another case of judicial abuse similar to what
District Attorney Mike Nifong did to the Duke lacrosse players?

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner has refused to deliver documents confirming his office's outrageous claims that Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean admitted they "were out to shoot Mexicans."

McCaul and three other House members met with Skinner on Sept. 26, 2006, to discuss the agents' case. A confidential Office of Inspector General memo from an interview Compean gave to investigators on March 18, 2005 supports the agent's claim that he believed his life was in danger when he tried to apprehend the Mexican drug smuggler on Feb. 17, 2005.

Special Agent Christopher Sanchez of the Inspector General's office stated in the memo that Compean believed Aldrete-Davila was carrying a weapon when Compean fired at him. Sanchez was the main DHS investigator on the case.

Compean also stated that he saw a shiny object that might be a gun and he felt that Aldrete-Davila was going to shoot him because he kept looking back at him as he ran away ... ."

According to McCaul and the other congressmen who met with Skinner - Reps. John Culberson, Kenny Marchant and Ted Poe, all Republicans who represent Texas - the inspector general told them during their meeting last fall that Ramos and Compean
had confessed to knowingly shooting at an unarmed suspect.

"According to the inspector general, they had evidence that the agents said they were out to shoot Mexicans," Poe said. "I found that hard to believe and asked if I could see that evidence. They never gave us what was promised."

McCaul, a former federal prosecutor in Texas, said the Inspector General's office has refused to provide any evidence thus far to support its claims.

He and his colleagues are now demanding that Skinner turn over documents related to the case or face a subpoena or contempt of Congress.

"I want to weigh the facts and the evidence in this case," McCaul said. "Either it is total arrogance or gross incompetence on the part of the Inspector General's office. If what (the DHS) told us was a lie, or if they misrepresented the facts on this case to members of Congress, we are going to hold them accountable."

Full transcripts from Ramos and Compean's trial last spring still have not been made available to Congress or the public. According to McCaul, repeated requests for the transcripts since November have been answered with excuses.

The agents were convicted of several charges related to the shooting, notably assault with a deadly weapon. Ramos received an 11-year prison sentence, Compean 12 years.

The steadfast refusal of the departments of Justice and Homeland Security to provide relevant information to Congress and the public about why Border Patrol agents Compean and Ramos were prosecuted causes people to wonder what they are trying to hide.

Editor's note: How the Hell can a U.S. Attorney charge on-duty Border Patrol agents who are in hot pursuit of a drug smuggler carrying 700 pounds of narcotics of assault with a deadly weapon? Can somebody tell me?


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Jerri Lynn Ward, J.D. said...

I would like to know what the usual protocol is when a van full of marijuana is interdicted by the Border Patrol.

In the Ramos Compean case, the dealer's van was, apparently, taken from the scene to the El Paso Sheriff's Department. Fingerprints were not taken until March 17--at the behest of DHS and AFTER Sutton gave immunity to the dealer.

Is this usual? In general, which agency would be responsible for the investigation? The Border Patrol? The Sheriff's Deparment?

Assuming that the van contained fingerprints of the dealer, it appears that Johnny Sutton jumped the gun on granting the dealer immunity.

harrybeasl said...

They were prosecuted because they violated two policies (not laws): 1- they pursued, when policy says "thou shalt not pursue", and 2- they didn't write a memo when policy says "thou shalt write a memo if thou shoots thy firearm."

Because they violated policy, they were stripped of their protections as law enforcement officers and charged as having acted under color of authority.

It's pure bullshit. They were prosecuted for civil rights violations as surely as if they had killed and buried that drug running cartel bastard in the levee where he ditched the van.

This is a tyranny of law, and needs to be overthrown by the law written in our hearts!

Daniel said...

OK, will someone tell me why, even on conservative siyes like this, which support a pardon for these agents, that no one is talking about Johnny Sutton and the house of death? And by the way the first 3 posts on this article seem a bit suspicious.

Ken Prescott said...

I would like to know what the usual protocol is when a van full of marijuana is interdicted by the Border Patrol.

Usually, somebody from the Border Patrol secures it so that chain of custody can be established--i.e., the van is not left alone for any period of time after it is stopped, until it's secured in a Border Patrol evidence facility.

Unfortunately, Ramos and Compean did not take care to ensure that actually happened. Everybody with them hared off after Aldrete-Davila, leaving the van unattended and guaranteeing that even if they HAD actually apprehended Aldrete-Davila, even the greenest defense attorney would have gotten the charges dropped at arraignment.

This meant that the dope got seized and destroyed, and the van got impounded by the El Paso Sheriff's Department as an abandoned vehicle.

Chain of custody is very basic law enforcement stuff, not rocket science. Once you have evidence in hand, you make sure you know where it is every step of the way from the arrest site to the courtroom when it's presented as "People's Exhibit A." Ramos and Compean should have known this--Ramos was a member of the Sector Evidence Team.