Senator John Cornyn, R-TX, is demanding President Bush commute the prison sentences of two Border Patrol agents. It is way past time that these two agents were released and allowed to repair the damage to their families and professional lives.
In February 2005, two Texas Border Patrol agents were in pursuit of a known drug dealer and illegal immigrant, Oswaldo Aldrete Davila. Aldrete crossed into Texas via the Rio Grande and picked up a van full of marijuana, just southeast of El Paso. A chase proceeded back toward the Rio Grande and shot were fired as Aldrete ran from agents. As the pursuit evolved to a chase outside the van, the suspect was shot by a bullet from one of the agent's guns, in the buttocks.
The story as testimony went that the agents didn't report the shooting to their supervisors and one agent picked up his bullet shell casings. The prosecution claims the agents were trying to cover up their actions.
The case for prosecution of these two men has been suspect from the start. The case is led by U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton. He is the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas and was appointed to his position by President Bush in October, 2001. During Congressional hearings on this case, it is alleged that Sutton's office lied to the Congressmen to save face on their actions. The jury wasn't allowed to hear evidence about Davila that would have brought a different verdict, in the opinion of many.
The sentences of Ignacio Ramos - 12 years, and Jose Compean - 11 years, have been appealed. Recently the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans rejected the appeal.
Senator Cornyn calls the trial, "a clear case of prosecutorial overreach and a case where the sentence does not match the crime." He has led the charge of conservatives on the Hill pressuring the White House to commute the sentences and free the agents.
Why does the U.S. Attorney insist on believing the stories of a habitual drug runner from Mexico instead of the word of two career Border Patrol Agents with clean records? One of the agents was named Border Patrol Agent of the Year in the recent past.
Kudos to Senator Cornyn for keeping the pressure on and the story alive in Washington D.C. The only path left to the agents now is their appeal to the Supreme Court. If that is not successful, the only way out for them is from the President.