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.