Monday, December 29, 2008

Pennsylvania congressman joins those calling for pardon for Ramos, Compean

U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania, has added his voice to those calling on President Bush to pardon two former border agents convicted of shooting an unarmed drug smuggler who was trying to escape. 

Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are serving more than 10 years each for shooting Osvaldo Aldrete Davila in the buttocks while he was fleeing from an abandoned van loaded with 750 pounds of marijuana.

The men argued that they thought Davila, a Mexican, was armed. They were convicted two years ago in federal court in Texas of assault, civil rights violations and other charges. Davila later pleaded guilty to smuggling following another incident and also was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Dent asked Bush to review their cases and ''seriously consider'' a pardon.

''These agents were acting in fulfillment of their duty and responsibility to protect our borders and enforce the law and they have been unjustly punished for their actions.

''This case has not only undermined the trust and confidence of our Border Patrol, but it has also raised questions about the discretion and decisions of federal prosecutors.''

You can help build pressure for pardoning the two by sending an email alert demanding a pardon. Visit and go to the Legislation Action Center or send an email directly to the President at

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ramos-Compean treatment has border agents hesitating to fire

On December 1 south of Tucson, Arizona, drug smugglers unloaded $1 million in drugs across the U.S. border and sprayed bullets at U.S. Border Patrol agents with automatic weapons. The agents did not return fire. They fear losing their jobs or ending up behind bars like agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.

Former decorated border agents, Ramos and Compean are serving lengthy prison sentences for shooting an illegal alien drug dealer while he smuggled 750 pounds of marijuana across the border. They were convicted of assault, discharge of a weapon in the commission of a crime of violence and deprivation of civil rights after the drug dealer was given immunity from prosecution.

On December 22 President Bush issued 19 pardons and commuted one sentence, but has issued none as yet for Ramos and Compean. Lawmakers and many others have asked Bush to commute their prison sentences. Bush will leave office January 20.

'Any kind of shooting toward Mexican territory is rejected by the Mexican government,' Mexican Consul General Remedios Gómez Arnau warned Border Patrol agents.

After this month's incident, an anonymous officer said that agents often fear defending themselves because shooting back could mean prison time – just as it did for Ramos and Compean.

'These men are still in prison for doing what many of us think was just doing their jobs as Border Patrol agents,' he said.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lawmakers step up pressure on Bush for border agents’ clemency

As they leave office, it's a long-standing tradition for presidents to offer clemency. Lawmakers from both parties have formally pressed President Bush to commute the sentences of former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, serving 11 and 12 year sentences for shooting a drug smuggler in the backside as he fled the scene.

'It's frustrating. Scooter Libby was pardoned before he even goes to jail,' said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, a former judge. 'These two guys are political prisoners.'

Rep. William Delahunt, a Massachusetts liberal, is leading the bipartisan push for clemency with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California conservative.

If Bush fails to act in the next nine weeks, advocates may have an ace in the hole. President-elect Barack Obama's White House chief of staff, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., co-sponsored a resolution calling for clemency for the two former agents last December.

Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, 'I can't think of a better way for Bush to restore political capital, with one stroke.'

T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council – the agents union – called it past time for the president to redress the 'terrible injustice.' 'The effect on morale has already been devastating. You have agents out there wondering what the rules of the game are,' he said.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pardons for Ramos and Compean are bring considered at DOJ

In the last two months of the Bush administration, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is considering whether to recommend pardons for two former Border Patrol agents, each jailed for more than a decade after shooting a Mexican drug smuggler in the buttocks.

The cases of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are now before the DOJ’s Pardon Attorney Donald Rodgers, who works in consultation with the attorney general’s office to assist the president. The president has sole power of clemency in federal cases under the Constitution, and will make the decision, no matter what the Office of Pardon Attorney recommends.

This month, U.S. Border Control members have mailed over 100,000 postcards to President Bush, telling him that he should pardon the two decorated Border agents immediately, and that their imprisonment is a stain on his legacy.

You can help build pressure for pardoning the two by sending an email alert demanding a pardon. Visit ( and go to the Legislation Action Center or click on this link to go directly to the email to send to the Presdent.

Both the House and Senate have held hearings investigating the prosecution of the agents, and numerous members of Congress have called on President Bush to pardon the two men.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Federal judge delivers setback to campaign to free Ramaos and Compean

A federal judge in El Paso, Texas has resentenced former Border Patrol agent Jose Compean to 12 years in prison for his conviction on charges of using a weapon in the commission of a felony and other charges.

Compean, along with former agent Ignacio Ramos, was convicted in 2006 of shooting admitted and now convicted Mexican drug smuggler Osvaldo Adlrete Davila and trying to cover up the incident. The two men argued during their trials that they shot Aldrete, whom they believed was armed, in self defense. Aldrete denied having a weapon the day he was shot.

The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans prompted this week's new sentencing hearing. Lawyers for Compean said they are also asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. The two former agents have been in prison since January 2007.

The case against the two prompted a massive outcry from supporters of the former agents who argued that U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton should have focused his office's efforts on prosecuting illegal immigrant Osvaldo Aldrete Davila for his drug-smuggling activities. Several supporters, including members of Congress, have asked President Bush to pardon the men, or at least commute their sentences.

Aldrete, who admitted smuggling several hundred pounds of marijuana on the day he was shot in 2005, pleaded guilty earlier this year to drug charges related to two smuggling attempts several months after he was shot in the buttocks while running away from Ramos and Compean. The same federal judge who sentenced the former agents ordered Aldrete to serve 9 1/2 years in prison.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ramos-Compean appeal goes next to Supreme Court

Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, former Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting a drug smuggler and trying to cover it up, were denied a request for a new hearing in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The same court upheld the men’s convictions in July.

The two former agents are serving sentences of more than 10 years for shooting Osvaldo Aldrete Davila in the buttocks while he was fleeing from an abandoned marijuana load in early 2005. Aldrete Davila was later sentenced to 9 1/2 years in prison for two separate smuggling efforts later that same year.

The National Border Patrol Council supports Agents Ramos and Compean, and is raising money to fund their appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. "Shooting a drug smuggler who points a weapon at law enforcement officers who are attempting to arrest him is not a crime. Despite what U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton might think, it is illegal for prosecutors to deliberately mislead the judge and jury about the ongoing criminal activities of their star witness," said the Border agents union, which is raising money for a Ramos-Compean appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ramos and Compean remain in jail, “The good guys lost this round”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, issuing its opinion in the case of Border Patrol agents Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos and Jose Compean, has affirmed all convictions except those for tampering with an official proceeding. The agents were convicted of charges arising from the shooting of an unarmed drug smuggler. Their sentences were increased because they were found guilty of committing a crime with a firearm.

Judge E. Grady Jolly noted, “For the most part, the trial of this case was about credibility, and although the jury could have gone either way, it chose not to believe the defendants’ version of the crucial events of February 17, 2005."

But Congressman Dana Rohrabacher quipped “The court has sided with the prosecutors who threw the book at the good guys, and the good guys have lost this round.” Republican lawmakers, conservative media personalities and critics of illegal immigration see the case as that of agents acting in self-defense against a dangerous drug smuggler who had illegally entered the U.S.

Ramos and Compean have been in prison 560 days, in solitary confinement. They still can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. If that fails, President Bush is the only person who could shorten their sentences. The president has shown little interest in the case.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Congressmen renew lobbying efforts for Ramos and Compean

Two California congressmen have renewed their efforts to improve conditions for two jailed border patrol agents, urging the Bureau of Prisons to move Ignacio Ramos, 37, and Jose Alonso Compean, 28, to a minimum security facility.

'If agents Ramos and Compean must continue serving their sentences, then they should be moved to a minimum security facility where they will not be threatened and under such restrictive conditions,' stated Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.).

Compean receiving a 12-year sentence and Ramos an 11-year sentence after they were convicted of assault, obstruction of justice and civil rights violations against a drug dealer who was retreating across the border.

'After 14 months of enduring the harsh conditions of solitary confinement, Director Lappin should do the right thing and exercise his authority to move the agents into more humane conditions,' stated Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).'They are effectively serving a double sentence for an unjust conviction that may very well be overturned.'

Because of security threats from Hispanic inmates imprisoned with them, Compean and Ramos were segregated from the general prison population and must remain in their cells for 23 hours a day. They are not afforded basic privileges other prisoners enjoy, such as telephone use, daily showers and television access.

The congressmen noted that Harley Lappin, Bureau of Prisons director for the federal government, has visited the Phoenix facility currently housing the two agents. 'I have asked Director Lappin to review the status of agent Ramos and consider his transfer,' Hunter said. 'He assured me that he would personally meet with agent Ramos and review his situation, as well as the events that led to his incarceration.‘