After a hearing in New Orleans, an appeals court judge says federal prosecutors may have overreacted in their case against former border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. The two men are serving lengthy prison sentences for shooting a fleeing drug suspect.
Judge E. Grady Jolly is one of three judges in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing the appeals. He questioned whether the two agents would have been charged if they had reported the shooting. "For some reason, this one got out of hand, it seems to me," Jolly said of the agents' prosecution. He said it seems "that the government overreacted" in the prosecution that led to a 12-year prison term for Compean and an 11-year term for Ramos.
The agents' attorneys are asking the 5th Circuit to throw out their convictions. A federal jury in El Paso convicted the Border Patrol agents of assault, obstruction of justice and civil rights violations in the wounding of Osvaldo Aldrete Davila near El Paso in 2005. Aldrete survived the shooting, but was arrested in November after an October indictment on various drug charges.
There's no indication when the judges will rule in the appeals. Compean attorney Bob Baskett says he's encouraged by Jolly's comments, but Ramos attorney David Botsford says he's not reading anything into the remarks.