Patterico's Pontifications

1/18/2007

Texas Border Patrol Shooting Case: Comparing Debra Saunders’s Columns to the U.S. Attorney’s Fact Sheet

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am



A few days ago, Bradley J. Fikes wrote me to ask whether I was going to write anything about the Border Patrol agents recently sentenced to double-digit prison sentences for firing on an alleged drug smuggler. He sent me a link to this October 22, 2006 column by Debra Saunders, who is, Bradley says, known for being careful with her facts. Saunders called the case “a case of blind and bloodthirsty federal prosecutorial overkill.” In looking into the case, I found another column by Saunders, from August 24, 2006. The issue has become news again in recent days because of calls for a pardon for the agents.

I told Bradley that I was unlikely to write about it. I hadn’t known anything about it before he told me about it, and I have no special insight into it.

But after I read this fact sheet prepared by the U.S. Attorney of the District where the case was prosecuted (h/t Hot Air), I thought it might be interesting to compare the U.S. Attorney’s claims with Saunders’s claims in her two columns.

The “fact sheet” is a list of alleged “myths,” compared to the reality as the U.S. Attorney describes it. I have no idea what the true facts are; I didn’t see the trial, and as I said, I know little about the case. Still, it makes for interesting reading alongside Saunders’s columns. If the U.S. Attorney’s facts are true, it does much to counter the impression left by Saunders’s columns.

Let’s start with a major one: did the shooting victim pose a threat? Was he armed with a gun? Here’s Saunders from October 22:

In February 2005, Border Patrol agent Jose Alonso Compean got in a scuffle with smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, who was driving a van that carried 743 pounds of marijuana. Compean and fellow agent Ignacio Ramos shot at Aldrete-Davila — they say they thought he had a gun, which Aldrete-Davila denies.

This claim is contradicted pretty powerfully by one salient statement in the U.S. Attorney’s fact sheet, which is not noted in either of Saunders’s columns — namely, that the jury apparently heard from a Border Patrol agent who witnessed the shooting and testified that the victim had no weapon and posed no threat:

Border Patrol Agent Juarez, who was at the scene, testified at trial that he did not draw his pistol because he did not believe there was a threat. He also testified that Aldrete [the shooting victim] did not have a weapon and was almost to Mexico when Agent Compean began firing at him.

If this is true — and this U.S. Attorney is sure opening himself up to some major embarrassment if it’s false — Saunders should have told readers about that. Instead, she implied that the trial was a case of the drug smuggler’s word against the agents’ word:

As everyone knows, drug smugglers would never carry a concealed weapon and prosecutors should take a drug-ring lieutenant’s word over that of Border Patrol agents with clean records — because the smuggler would tell the truth even if he had a $5 million incentive to lie. (Yes, that was sarcasm.)

Saunders never tells readers about the testimony of Border Patrol Agent Juarez.

Further statements from the U.S. Attorney’s fact sheet seem to indicate (if true) that the victim was not a threat to the agents:

Testimony further revealed that Agents Compean and Ramos never took cover not did they ever warn the other agents to take cover. This action demonstrates that they did not perceive a threat. In his statement to investigators, Compean admitted that Aldrete had attempted to surrender with both hands open and in the air. . . . Agent Juarez also testified that Aldrete was surrendering to Compean with his hands open and empty palms turned to Compean.

Saunders doesn’t mention that either.

Saunders does mention another fact that goes against the agents — their curious decision to pick up the casings from the shooting, and pretend like it had never happened: “The agents picked up their shells and failed to report the shooting.” But she treats that as a mere administrative issue, deserving of a reprimand: “For that violation of agency policy, Ramos and Compean deserved an administrative review and some sort of job-related punishment.” She never seems to ask why they did it — and to consider the possibility that their actions show that they knew they had done something wrong, and perhaps criminal.

Saunders never asks that question — but I bet the jury did when it decided to convict.

Saunders from August:

[T]hese are good guys with no other marks against them. Ramos, who was nominated Border Patrol Agent of the year in 2005, told the San Bernardino County Sun, “There’s murderers and child rapists that are looking at less time than me.”

From the fact sheet:

Agent Ramos has never received any formal recognition or award for being the Border Patrol Agent of the year. In fact, he has been arrested on at least two occasions for domestic abuse and was formally disciplined for conduct unbecoming a federal officer.

On the Border Patrol Agent of the year issue, there’s no formal contradiction there; Saunders said he was “nominated.” But “no other marks against them”??

Saunders from October:

Instead, due to a case of blind and bloodthirsty federal prosecutorial overkill, Ramos and Compean were sentenced to 11 years and 12 years respectively. Oh, and the smuggler was granted immunity for the 743 pounds of pot, and is suing the federal government for $5 million.

Assuming that the U.S. Attorney’s fact sheet is accurate, it is, I submit, misleading to state the smuggler was granted immunity for the pot. Saunders leaves the reader with the clear impression that a) there was a prosecutable case against Aldrete for the pot; and b) the U.S. Attorney made a blanket promise to Aldrete that he would not prosecute Aldrete for the pot if he testified. According to the U.S. Attorney, both implications are false. First, he says, he had no case against Aldrete:

Because the agents could not identify him, found no fingerprints, could not tie him to the van and did not apprehend him after shooting him, the case against Aldrete could not be proven.

The only way we know Aldrete was the smuggler, the U.S. Attorney says, is because he later admitted it — only after the U.S. Attorney’s office gave him a limited form of “use” immunity to secure his statements for use against the agents:

When Aldrete then got back to Mexico without having been apprehended and identified, there was no longer any way to tie him to the load of marijuana, except through his own admissions.

Prosecutors promised Aldrete that they would not use his truthful statements and testimony to prosecute him for the events that occurred on Feb. 17, 2005. . . . This type of “use immunity” does not give blanket immunity for any crimes he may have committed or may commit in the future. If there were other admissible evidence besides his own statements sufficient to convict him, he could be prosecuted for the offense he describes.

As a practical matter, the promise to Aldrete gave up very little since the case against him was not prosecutable . . . there was no evidence against him until he agreed to cooperate.

Saunders tries to make it sound as though the Agents were treated more harshly than they would have been if they were “crooks.” From her October column:

If they were crooks, they would serve shorter time. Last month, a Border Patrol agent, who admitted to smuggling 100 illegal immigrants while he served on the Border Patrol, got five years.

The U.S. Attorney says:

Congress determined the penalties imposed on Compean and Ramos by setting the punishment for discharging a firearm during a crime of violence at a mandatory minimum of ten years (on top of any other sentence imposed). Congress did not make an exception for law enforcement officers.

So yes, people get different sentences for different crimes. If they had been crooks, they would have gotten sentenced as crooks. Instead, they got sentenced for a crime that Congress deems more serious: firing a gun during a crime of violence. Is it so surprising that the penalty is greater than it would be for mere crooks?

Saunders quotes the U.S. Attorney as saying that the agents “fired at least 15 rounds at [Aldrete], although they had seen his open hands and knew that he was not holding a weapon and had no reason to think he had a weapon, hitting him once and causing serious bodily injury.” The U.S. Attorney elaborates in his fact sheet:

In America, law enforcement officers do not get to shoot unarmed suspects who are running away, lie about it to their supervisors and file official reports that are false. That is a crime and prosecutors cannot look the other way.

Sounds pretty sensible to me.

If the U.S. Attorney’s fact sheet is accurate in all respects, then I think Saunders has disserved her readers with her one-sided columns, and this is all a tempest in a teapot. If the facts are as the U.S. Attorney reports them, a couple of Border Patrol Agents committed a crime, got caught, and were punished. Simple as that.

UPDATE: Saunders has another column on the issue today (h/t aunursa). It’s basically more of the same. She continues to imply that the trial was a “he said, she said” contest between the word of a drug smuggler and that of the agents charged in the shooting:

In this case, however, Ramos and Compean say they thought the suspect was armed. Sutton says that’s not true. Ditto the drug smuggler — but he has 5 million reasons to lie.

Ditto another agent — but Saunders still isn’t telling readers that — even though she apparently quotes the fact sheet:

Sutton hates being called “an overzealous prosecutor.” As he said in a statement, “In America, law enforcement officers do not get to shoot unarmed suspects who are running away and file official reports that are false.”

That looks like a direct quote of what I blockquoted above — with one omission, which I’ll bold:

In America, law enforcement officers do not get to shoot unarmed suspects who are running away, lie about it to their supervisors and file official reports that are false.

There’s not even an ellipsis to mark the missing phrase. Has Saunders discovered Isikoffing?

I still think Saunders is not giving her readers the full picture, which is very disappointing given that she has now apparently read the U.S. Attorney’s fact sheet.

UPDATE x2: Commenter Tom Maguire has provided a link to a document that sets forth some interesting allegations on behalf of the defense. I discuss them in this post.

148 Responses to “Texas Border Patrol Shooting Case: Comparing Debra Saunders’s Columns to the U.S. Attorney’s Fact Sheet”

  1. I have a real problem with this matter. There are approximately 12 million people running around the country having broken the law by entering illegally. They are not punished.

    There are multiple illegal alien criminals who are released, EACH time they commit a crime. They are not punished.

    Why were these agents treated so harshly when the
    the drug runner in this case was treated like a good guy? Why were these agents treated so harshly when 12 million illegals continue to break the law on a daily basis and get away with it?

    Go to the following site, it’s an eye opener.

    immigrationshumancost.org

    rightisright (2fce83)

  2. Patterico – Thanks for posting your take on this. I totally disagree with your conclusion, but I respect your analysis of the details. A pardon is needed here; I can’t explain why in a sensible way. The two guys are now in prison, regardless.

    Wesson (c20d28)

  3. Rightisright and Wesson,

    You guys are saying that it doesn’t matter what the facts are, these border patrol agents are on our side so we must defend them. That’s the way a liberal would make a case.

    Mike S (d3f5fd)

  4. Border Patrol Agent Juarez broke the “Code of Silence” by not lying for 2 criminal border agents. They committed the crime, time to pay up.

    I have no use for anyone in law inforcement who thinks they can get away with it just because they have a badge.

    Gerald (f6e342)

  5. Whew! Thanks Mike S and Gerald. I was getting seriously worried.

    They shot the guy for no reason – under color of authority. If they’d have killed him it would have been murder. And they tried to cover it up by not filing a report.

    If people on the right now support having armed gunmen hosing down people in the back – people that are surrendering as ordered – on the border then my departure from the ‘conservative’ camp is now complete.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  6. Thank you! I hope Saunders looks into this again in light of what you’ve said. She has been reliable, but anyone can screw up.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  7. If the facts are as the U.S. Attorney reports them, a couple of Border Patrol Agents committed a crime, got caught, and were punished. Simple as that.

    Thank you, Patterico. I am extremely disturbed with the arguments being made by conservatives on this case – that we should just forgive these guys because the guy shot was committing a crime by coming into this country illegally.

    From the facts that I’ve heard, these guys tried to murder an unarmed suspect and then attempted to cover up the crime. Frankly, I don’t give a damn what the suspect was doing – if we pardon or forgive that sort of behavior among those we entrust to enforce the laws, we’re in trouble.

    Slublog (6f1887)

  8. […] Update: Antagonized by Hot Air commenters, Patterico reads the fact sheet and wants to know: what’s the big deal? […]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » Video: Tancredo calls on Bush to pardon convicted Border Patrol agents; Update: Patterico defends prosecution (d4224a)

  9. Frankly, I don’t give a damn what the suspect was doing….

    I’m not for shooting people in the back, but do you folks realize what you’re basically saying? I have a lot of buddies who are drug agents & they all say that the perps realize that all they have to do once they’re found dead-to-rights is to start running. All the cops can do is run after them, hoping that the perp doesn’t have a gun or is leading them into a dangerous situation.

    I don’t know the answer but the notion of an illegal carrying an illegal substance who is caught and who then attempts to flee is somehow cast as a “victim” (who is suing, btw) doesn’t give me a good feeling. Basically, the border cops are now aware that anyone they find breaking the law need only do a Carl Lewis and they’re likely to get sympathy….the only way the border cops can come out is (a) be able to outrun the perp or; (b) fail at their job and let the perp get away.

    Not good.

    RW (8f8726)

  10. What I don’t understand is why this DA decided that the greater crime is shooting this pos in the tail?

    Why wasn’t he granting these cowboys immunity from prosecution in order to make a case against an international drug dealer/illegal alien piece of spit?

    He has the judgement of a Frenchman.

    [The answer to your question is in the fact sheet, and even in the post above that you’re commenting on. Did you read either? — P]

    Jaibones (ac08de)

  11. Might as well put up a 30′ neon sign at the border: run away – we can’t shoot!

    Jaibones (ac08de)

  12. Saunders has another column in today’s paper: Free the Border Patrol 2

    aunursa (9f2fea)

  13. I have a lot of buddies who are drug agents & they all say that the perps realize that all they have to do once they’re found dead-to-rights is to start running. All the cops can do is run after them, hoping that the perp doesn’t have a gun or is leading them into a dangerous situation.

    Uh, are you saying that it is any different for any LEO in any jurisdiction in this country?

    Officers are not allowed to shoot a suspect unless they feel their life or the lives of others are in danger. Period.

    The implication here is that you are upset that now agents can’t shoot somebody who is running away from them. The fact of the matter is that it has always been the case.

    TomB (649c7d)

  14. Too Bad to Be True…

    Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean shot a fleeing drug runner in the butt. The drug smuggler was……

    IMAO (35c757)

  15. Funny. I just posted on how I didn’t think this case was so cut and dry and worried I was venturing into lonely territory.

    Frank J. (3f33e3)

  16. Thanks aunursa. I have updated the post.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  17. 750 lbs of drugs? Our kids are not worth defending?

    Mexican Drug Cartel? They are allowed to shoot at us… Hell, they can murder their own Presidential candidates (Colosio), who cares about USA laws?

    USAttorney gives the drug dealer full immunity so we can imprison our law enforcement guys. Maybe we could kiss his butt and give his kids a full scholarship to Berkeley. MEChA needs more kids up there.

    We have surrendered. Crime is the new reality, we don’t have the moral courage to protect ourselves.

    Patterico, are you a prosecutor or an ACLU defense attorney?

    JoeS (250c98)

  18. The guy didn’t get “full immunity.” Do the facts of this case matter at all?

    Slublog (6f1887)

  19. The implication here is that you are upset that now agents can’t shoot somebody who is running away from them.

    Actually, that appears to be the inference that you erroneously derived (look up the difference between “impy” and “infer”) as I clearly stated that shooting someone in the back is not my wish in the first words of my first sentence. That would be akin to my saying “the implication here is that you’re upset that an illegal committing illegal acts was eventually apprehended”….which would be ignorant, illogical and obnoxious on my behalf. And, since it would also be an incorrect assumption, I won’t be so bold as to even present as an actual case other than parody.

    Come on, read first.

    The only deterrant for a lawbreaker from running is the (gasp) additional charge of obstruction-of-justice, which prosecutors frequently toss aside, anyway. IOW, in a lot of cases, there is no deterrant for disobeying an officer & fleeing.

    As I stated (also quite clearly) that is not good.

    RW (8f8726)

  20. Patterico

    I’ve been following the case on and off and it seems the fact sheet itself may be misleading.

    For instance, what relevance is there is an arrest for DV to this case except to be prejudicial to the agent? It doesn’t say he was convicted and as you know in much of the US ANY call for domestic disturbance the police are obligated to arrest one of the party even if there is no evidence of more than shouting.

    Also, the smuggler WAS picked up a second time for drug smuggling but that paperwork is sealed, so what you have is weasel words about “arrest” for a second smuggling charge.

    This is a clear message from an adminstration that has never taken illegal immigration seriously. Border patrol agents are to look the other way and are being told, this is what will happen to you if you are too aggressive

    Oh sure, National Guard has been deployed along the border, but they are unarmed and it seems (there are conflicting reports) that if they are fired upon by those crossing into the US, they retreat rather than confront.

    The agents were also tried in El Paso, a jury pool as unbiased about the border patrol as the jury was about OJ.

    These men may have deserved to be fired. But 10+ years in prison?

    Hell, some murderers don’t get that.

    They were made examples of … heaven forfend the stemming of daylaborers, nannies, construction workers and produce pickers into the United States.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  21. I am both a former federal prosecutor in a border district and a state prosecutor. I am stunned at the defense of anyone, law enforcement officer or not, who uses deadly force when the law does not authorize its use. We are a nation of laws, not men and if Agents Ramos and Campean think differently, then get the law changed. Since when is marijuana smuggling a more serious crime than attempted murder? Frankly, having prosecuted many marijuana smugglers at the border, most mules are just that, mules.
    Furthermore, sanctioning violations of the law and Border Patrol use of force policy and then lying about it only serves to reduce the credibility of the hardworking and honest law enforcement officers. The jury has spoken and I have no sympathy for these agents who have discredited the badge that they shared with thousands of others.

    David (fda1c0)

  22. I’m not for shooting people in the back, but

    But? But what?

    The only deterrant (sic) for a lawbreaker from running is the (gasp) additional charge of obstruction-of-justice, which prosecutors frequently toss aside, anyway. IOW, in a lot of cases, there is no deterrant (sic) for disobeying an officer & fleeing.

    You don’t seem to have a point here then. If someone has committed a serious crime, there is no way they are going to stop because of an obstruction of justice charge.

    The fact of the matter is that criminals have ALWAYS known that they can run from police with almost no chance of being shot. And it is no different in this case. So what are you bitching about?

    TomB (649c7d)

  23. David

    The jury has spoken and I have no sympathy for these agents who have discredited the badge that they shared with thousands of others.

    Deja vu the OJ jury about the LAPD.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  24. Ok Darleen, I’ll amend. “I have no sympathy for these agents who have discredited the badge that they shared with thousands of others.”

    David (fda1c0)

  25. This makes me wonder how many other illegals are rotting dead in the wilderness because they were shot by these agents. Had these agents done their job correctly, the drug smuggler would be in prison where he belongs.

    PJ (0f7114)

  26. Drug smuggling is a crime of violence against the people of the United States. Even if the guy was a citizen and subject to our social contract (which he isn’t) this would make the officers using force to prevent a crime of violence, which is acceptable. The fact that this guy is an illegal and not party to our social contract makes it worse, since he’s not protected by the Constitution or any law of this land.

    Ben (6b9539)

  27. Drug smuggling is a crime of violence against the people of the United States.

    I know a lot of libertarians that would disagree with you on that one.

    Even if the guy was a citizen and subject to our social contract (which he isn’t) this would make the officers using force to prevent a crime of violence, which is acceptable. The fact that this guy is an illegal and not party to our social contract makes it worse, since he’s not protected by the Constitution or any law of this land.

    So he’s not subject to our laws or to our “social contract.” But the officers are, and as TomB has pointed out, officers can only use lethal force in certain situations. Those who are siding with the officers are coming very close to saying that the drug smuggler had it coming simply because he was here illegally.

    Slublog (6f1887)

  28. But? But what?

    The words “do you folks realize what you’re saying” which followed should’ve been a dead giveaway. (???) The current practices regarding illegals fleeing is not a good thing (pointed out twice, already) although I clearly stated (twice, as well) that I have no answers.

    Sorry if the ‘imply’ & ‘infer’ thing set you off (is ‘sic’ the best retort you can muster?); nothing personal, but you can stop biting at my ankles.

    RW (8f8726)

  29. David

    Working in a DA office as I do (no I’m not a lawyer), I have the utmost respect for the office and understand the tremendous pressures of prosecuting a case.

    But I’m also aware that in high profile cases the decision to prosecute or not can hinge on political reasons and the evidence (or how it is cast) is quite secondary.

    Were these agents wrong in firing on a fleeing suspect? Sure. Did they fail procedure in reporting the shooting? Again yes.

    Is 10+ years in Fed prison 1000+ miles from their families while their case is on appeal out of proportion to the incident?

    Oh hell yes.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  30. “The fact that this guy is an illegal and not party to our social contract makes it worse, since he’s not protected by the Constitution or any law of this land.”

    Yes he is. Everyone in the US is afforded constitutional protection regardless of their immigration status.

    People that are really concerned about this should read the fact sheet Patterico linked. Two agents testified in court that the guy was hands up trying to surrender. Furthermore they fired 15 rounds at him. He was unarmed.

    And the facts of this incident aren’t in the “if it happened the way they say” category, as I’m sure Patterico will attest. The facts of this have been decided in a court by a jury of twelve and a federal judge. That makes this “fact” not supposition.

    And that is the decision of a jury from the West Texas District guys. We’re not talking about a Berkeley or DC jury here, contrary to Darleen’s implication. You’ll find very few ‘liberals’ as the term is generally understood in West Texas.

    Don’t feel it guys, think about this.

    Dwilkers (4f4ebf)

  31. The current practices regarding illegals fleeing is not a good thing (pointed out twice, already) although I clearly stated (twice, as well) that I have no answers.

    Sorry to keep ankle-biting, but you have yet to clearly articulate a point. You don’t like that illegals can run away from border agents without the threat of being fired at, yet you have no clue of a better way.

    How about the rule of law?

    TomB (649c7d)

  32. You don’t like that illegals can run away from border agents without the threat of being fired at

    Dude, you really need some remedial reading classes.

    RW (8f8726)

  33. Dude, you really need some remedial reading classes.

    Well, here is exactly what you wrote:

    The current practices regarding illegals fleeing is not a good thing (pointed out twice, already) although I clearly stated (twice, as well) that I have no answers.

    Seems pretty clear to me, dude.

    TomB (649c7d)

  34. Seems pretty clear to me, dude.

    Because you’re obviously not bright enough to presume that new policies/legislation could be instituted that would help curb the practice of fleeing illegals (which, I’m well aware in moonbat bizarro world will come to mean that I’m really hoping for illegals caught crossing the border to be drawn, quartered and then nuked & their family burial grounds to be razed and turned into amusement parks).

    Ya did’nt fare well, deal. So, have a nice life, you just became unworthy of having me as an audience.

    RW (8f8726)

  35. Because you’re obviously not bright enough to presume that new policies/legislation could be instituted that would help curb the practice of fleeing illegals

    So we should curb the problem of fleeing illegals by allowing Border Patrol agents to fire at will? As has been pointed out, this is not a right afforded law enforcement unless officers feel their lives are in danger?

    Ya did’nt fare well, deal. So, have a nice life, you just became unworthy of having me as an audience.

    Actually, since you retreated into argumentum ad hominem first, I’d say that Tom fared quite well, considering the incoherence of the argument you presented.

    Slublog (6f1887)

  36. So we should curb the problem of fleeing illegals by allowing Border Patrol agents to fire at will?

    I didn’t state, or even hit, that border agenst should be able to fire. I went out of my way (twice) to say just the opposite. What part of that is so difficult to understand?

    Couldn’t legislation be initiated pertaining to illegals who flee (such as immediate deportation or permanent banishment from ever entering the US or negotiations with their existing countries for instituting fines…..I’m shooting in the dark, of course) be something debatable without people immediately declaring that anyone who mentions the word “illegal” obviously wants them shot?

    RW (8f8726)

  37. re: the prosecutions’ fact list:

    That another officer on a shooting scene should not see a threat and not fire himself is not unusual. Does not necessarily mean that there was not a threat that he did not see.

    “Testimony further revealed that Agents Compean and Ramos never took cover not did they ever warn the other agents to take cover. This action demonstrates that they did not perceive a threat.” This claim is silly. BP agents might reasonably believe that the sound of gun shots would be sufficient warning to other agents that something was afoot. They did not seek cover themselves: How dare they shoot rather than grovel in the sand.

    They did not seek cover afterwards? Well, they thought he was gone. Also, so common a tactical error that it has a name – “relaxing too soon.”

    Not covered in this discussion: the claim that the agents thought they had missed, so therefore tried to avoid onerous reporting requirements. If true, an understandable explanation for picking up the empty cases, etc. Obviously a bad idea.

    Generally, shooting a fleeing suspect who continues to present a threat to others (i.e., they reasonably believed he had a gun.) is justifiable. But once they lied – or were perceived to have lied – about anything, they were cooked.

    CM Smith (843567)

  38. Whoops, sorry, I mistakenly used “shooting in the dark” as a subsitute for “throwing mud against the wall & seeing what will stick”, so I obviously just presented a “Freudian slip” since I want to shoot all illegals in the dark.

    [/snarky humor]

    Just trying to lighten the mood as there’s an over-abundance of witch-hunting in the midst.

    RW (8f8726)

  39. You make a reasonable case, Patterico. But why should we go by the book, as other posters have said, to preserve the rule of law when going by that book is completely one sided, when 12 million lawbreakers are running around unmolested by the law, and are even lionized by the law and given sanctuary? Where is the stern justice for them? That might be a political rather than a legal question, but it’s relevant.

    Some Hispanic man followed me up my driveway and pounded on my door, trying to get in, and shouting at me in Spanish last week. I locked my door and yelled at him, and then he gave up. Police said they would check it out. Last I heard from them. Wish they were as bad as the two border patrol agents.

    Patricia (824fa1)

  40. I’m living in Murrieta, CA. Before you take the prosecutor’s list as FACTS (Re: Duke Lacrosse case)you may want to listen to KFI’s moderate to left leaning John and Ken AND KFMB’s right leaning Rick Roberts on this case. They go through each of these items and there are many Half truths and inaccuracies.

    This case is a precedent and IS SERIOUS. Now that ANOTHER border patrol agent has actually KILLED an illegal alien and the Mexican President is requesting a full investigations. Plus he wants the ‘killer’ prosecuted AND is using the other ‘6’ illegal aliens ‘version’ of what happens as ‘evidence’ of the border patrol agent’s crime. You’ll see more of this. And forget the wall, you won’t have a border patrol agent do anything but stand around with his/her thumb up his/her behind.

    Terri (bca4f8)

  41. Actually, since you retreated into argumentum ad hominem first, I’d say that Tom fared quite well,

    So, continually presuming that someone really (secretly, of course) wants people to be shot & then restating it after being corrected, is now considered to be faring “quite well”. Of course, stating that people want other folks shot is NOT a personal attack & resorting to arguing against the person instead of debating on the merits (not everyone needs to present things in Latin).

    Duly noted.

    Sometimes, folks make it difficult to even agree to be on the same side (which I think we are, actually).

    RW (8f8726)

  42. For yet another version of events, start on p. 41 of this .pdf, prepared by the Friends of the Border Patrol (guess which side they are on?)

    Let me excerpt this:

    In a nutshell, the border patrol agents engaged in a pursuit of Aldrete-Davila as they were trained to do, and violated the pursuit policy forbidding them from pursuits without the permission of supervisors. Compean cut the smuggler off at the Rio Grande River upon which a scuffle ensued as Aldrete-Davila tried to evade capture and re-enter Mexico.

    Compean was overpowered and left bleeding from a cut. At this point, Ramos was attempting to get to the scene where the struggle had taken place and heard shots fired, though he could not see the scene, but understood as he was a firearms instructor that Compean had to be in trouble. As he entered the scene he saw, Compean down and cut and attempted to capture Davila who was still fleeing towards Mexico. At this point, the smuggler turned and the agents’ thought he had a weapon in his hand at which point Ramos fired one shot from his sidearm.

    Neither agent at the time thought any shots had ever hit the smuggler, as he did not fall, limp, or showed any discomfort. Once in Mexico Aldrete-Davila was met by a vehicle, which he entered and sped away.

    A number of agents, including a supervisor had reached the scene, and secured the smuggler’s load-vehicle, which was filled with 743 pounds of marijuana.

    Apparently, most of the agents on the scene, including Juarez, whose testimony was cited above, are facing disciplinary problems themselves (no one filed a discharge of firearms report), and the allegation is that they have been encouraged to cooperate with the prosecution by taking an imaginative view of the truth.

    Why the prosecutor might have it in for these two agents did not jump off the page at me.

    Tom Maguire (250dbe)

  43. This case just makes me sick on more ways than one.

    First off, the whole idea that there was no evidence that the smuggler was in the van is immediately suspicious. No usable fingerprints ANYWHERE? Doesn’t that sound a mite curious?

    Second, the agents are no shining armor knights. But neither are they some central casting villians. The fact sheet contains some confusing statements. Like how does a person get shot in the butt if they are facing someone and showing their hands to the person? I call into doubt the “trying to surrender as he was running away” theory.

    Finally, I have to say I do agree that those that operate under the color of authority deserve harsher punishment when they abuse it. Look, I am tired of the police and other LE having it both ways. Somehow, being a cop of any color is being made into some type of super citizen. (I.e. the police get rights denied the plebians.) So when they screw up, and that they did in monumetal fashion, they NEED more punishment than a regular citizen.

    MunDane (1b070b)

  44. Of course, stating that people want other folks shot is NOT a personal attack & resorting to arguing against the person instead of debating on the merits (not everyone needs to present things in Latin).

    Perhaps, not, but three words versus nine or so just appeals to my former reporter’s love of the succinct.

    My concern was that when pressed, you called into question Tom’s reading skills, and then his intelligence. He was dealing with your argument, and while you may interpret that as an attempt to cast aspersions on your character, it seems only one of you was directly attacking someone’s person, not their ideas.

    As for your policy ideas regarding how to stem the flow of illegals who flee law enforcement – it seems to me this entire debate would be moot if there was something other than a line in the sand between the United States and Mexico.

    Slublog (6f1887)

  45. Does the fact sheet tell that Mr. Drug Runner did not immediately seek medical assistance in Mexico but instead had his mother contact the mother-in-law of another Border Patrol officer from Arizona, Officer Sanchez? Does it also tell you that Officer Sanchez was a life long friend of Mr. Drug Dealer and went to Mexico to get him, brought him to the U.S. for medical assistance at a military base and then immediately took him to an attorney? Are we to believe that Mr. Drug Runner walked around for an extended length of time with a bullet in his hind quarters without seeking medical assistance until his mother could contact another BP agent with whom he was friends? Compean and Ramos stated that Mr. Drug Runner recrossed the border and climbed into a waiting vehicle. Last time I checked, one has to sit down in a vehicle and I would think that “lead in the rear” syndrome would not permit that.

    The prosecutor puts out a fact sheet which sounds a like spin to me. But why did the DOJ feel the need to do a fact sheet press release in the first place? The fact sheet sounds a lot like a “talking points” memo saying “we are covering our own butts in this matter”.
    The fact sheet leaves a lot of details (such as how Mr. Drug Dealer wound up at a military medical facitity) out.
    Three jurors have stated that they would not have found the two BP agents guilty except for the pressure that was placed on them by the jury forman. They were holding out for an innocent verdict and was told by the jury foreman that the judge would not accept a hung jury. The jury foreman also told them that they would be sequestered over a long weekend if they did not reach a verdict. Since when is a hung jury not an option in a case?
    I’m sorry, but if we are to go on the facts of the case, the fair thing to do would be to counter balance the prosecution’s fact sheet with the testimony brought forth by the defense.

    retire05 (663827)

  46. Perhaps, not, but three words versus nine or so just appeals to my former reporter’s love of the succinct.

    Touche’. My laziness would probably concur with your reporter’s side.

    He was dealing with your argument

    Erroneous. He was creating a strawman (that I wanted illegals shot by border agents) and when such a false assertion was corrected on the matter he then followed up later with a reassertion of the assumption. That was attacking me (since both he and you have stated that I didn’t present any solutions, there were no ideas to attack at the time). From my reading, upon the second instance it became an attempt to smear my character.

    it seems to me this entire debate would be moot if there was something other than a line in the sand between the United States and Mexico.

    Agreed.

    RW (8f8726)

  47. grinning at all the folks here who want to dismiss an inconvenient law that gets in the way of their concept of justice; shoot ‘im in the back and let him die in the sand, the folks waxing wroth at millions of brown people who came here for greater economic opportunity and who hold up the low end of our labor pool, the folks displaying willingness to look the other way when an officer commits a crime of violence, and the folks pressing for a pardon for this particular crime of violence. why don’t you folks start writing letters to the convicted agents, so they won’t be quite as lonely during their ten-year prison terms?

    assistant devil's advocate (761309)

  48. I’m sorry, but if we are to go on the facts of the case, the fair thing to do would be to counter balance the prosecution’s fact sheet with the testimony brought forth by the defense.

    Excellent suggestion.

    sam (3a9544)

  49. “…the only way the border cops can come out is (a) be able to outrun the perp or; (b) fail at their job and let the perp get away.”

    -RW

    Ummmm…Yeah.

    At least in this context, the job is done whether or not the BP agents capture the dealer or chase him back to Mexico. One way or another, they have kept him out of our country, which is their job in the first place.

    The same goes in any BP situation: chasing attempted illegals back into Mexico is just as effective (and possibly moreso) than apprehending them in the US and deporting them six hours later.

    Kudos, Patterico. Insofar as the conclusions you reached in this post are entirely different than the conclusions you reached in the post regarding the two cops punching a guy resisting arrest, (based on the circumstances and the evidence presented), I must congratulate you on your objectivity, seriously.

    Basically, I can do away with the notion that you’re willing to tolerate the misdeeds of law enforcement officers simply because they wear a badge. You are an unbiased observer of the law.

    Leviticus (3c2c59)

  50. “why don’t you folks start writing letters to the convicted agents, so they won’t be quite as lonely during their ten-year prison terms?”

    -assistant devil’s advocate

    I’m sure that if any group of Mexican inmates finds out what they’re imprisoned for, their stay will be anything butt “lonely”.

    Leviticus (3c2c59)

  51. I have a question, by the way: Are Border Patrol agents armed with Tasers in addition to their guns?

    If they are, and had the agents in question used them in this situation, I don’t think we would be having this discussion.

    Leviticus (3c2c59)

  52. The undisputed facts are that they failed to report the incident accurately and covered up the shooting. That alone is sufficient for me to believe these two acted illegally. All the excuses be damned, there’s not a cop in the world that’s ever been trained it’s OK to do that. I think their defense would have been much easier if they had reported the shooting accurately and taken whatever consequences came their way, but the coverup is conciousness of guilt in my mind. They are a shame to their profession and prison is where they belong. That is my compassionate conservative side.

    Patrick (d928f7)

  53. Whatever the true facts of the matter, the background is that Bush has no real use for the Border Patrol except as an occasional prop. If he had his way, there would be little or no border.

    If these agents had been working for, for instance, some office charged with bringing “willing workers” into the U.S., the result would probably be far different.

    Recall also that “Pee” – speaking in Mexico – dissed the BP’s use of pepperguns a few years ago.

    TLB (cc42f6)

  54. Incidentally, if they had reported it accurately, I’m confident they would not be sitting in prison today. Their perception of a threat would have carried more weight (Now it only looks like a lame, after the fact excuse) and that would have been sufficient to stave off a prosecution. IMO

    Patrick (d928f7)

  55. Ten years in the joint is too long. I hope that Bush will grant them pardons right before he exits office.

    sam (3a9544)

  56. “Because the agents could not identify him, found no fingerprints, could not tie him to the van and did not apprehend him after shooting him, the case against Aldrete could not be proven.”

    Patterico, you’re kidding me, right? They arrest this guy driving a van full of pot, and this is the explanation from the DA as to why he’s prosecuting the agents and not Aldrete? Were they supposed to fingerprint the van while he was running away? And were they supposed to cross the Rio and “apprehend” him after finally hitting him in the ass?

    This reads like satire. Since the guy got away, and we had to prosecute someone, they were the logical next best choice.

    Jaibones (2ea0c5)

  57. Please don’t take this the wrong way and assume that I’m implying I support shooting people in the back or anything of the sort.

    However, is anyone at all concerned that they fired 15 rounds and only managed to hit him once in the butt?

    I mean, it’s good that they didn’t kill him. It’s not so good that Federal agents seem to have very poor aim (and yes, I have fired fire arms and I am aware that hitting a target, especially a moving target, is much harder than Hollywood makes it seem).

    JadeNYU (e8254b)

  58. However, is anyone at all concerned that they fired 15 rounds and only managed to hit him once in the butt?

    I was thinking the same thing. “24” and Jack Bauer’s deadeye are truly fiction, it seems.

    Slublog (6f1887)

  59. People, if you want border agents to be able to shoot fleeing illegal alien smugglers (who KNOW how our system works), change the laws.

    They aren’t citizens. My read of the Constitution says it applies to “we the people,” not everyone in the world. They have exactly the rights our laws allot them and we (within the scope allowed by the Constitution) ultimately determine what is law. (Shoot, we can even amend the Constitution.)

    The answer isn’t to wink at violations of the law by our own enforcement officials. Change the laws.

    What we need is some LEGAL shooting incidents (maybe a lot) to curb this situation. But that means… change the laws.

    Dan S (8771d0)

  60. Patterico, this post is a good example of why while I often disagree with your conclusions, I never simply dismiss them. Unlike so many bloggers out there today, you seem to be getting *less* knee-jerk in your analysis of the hot-button issues, rather than more so.

    I recognize that a good part of why you’re able to dig into this one is because it’s law enforcement v. a prosecutor, rather than criminals v. law enforcement and prosecutor. But I respect the fact that you bothered to question an issue that is generally assumed resolved by most conservatives.

    [Thanks. But please don’t assume that I’ll always take the prosecutor’s side, either. I didn’t with Nifong. — P]

    Phil (88ab5b)

  61. The firing of “15 rounds” testimony came from Mr. Drug Dealer. I do not know what the defense testimony is as the prosecution’s talking points do not provide that.
    I also have problems with the testimony by Mr. Drug Dealer that he was facing the BP agents, hands in the air indicating he was trying to surrender, when he was shot in the arse. Seems to me we have another “magic bullet” theory going on here. Also, the BP agents were said to have let Mr. Drug Runner go. That would indicate that if they did, they would have been aware of his at least holding his arse while he limped away to the safety of Mexico.
    The smoking gun (no pun intended) here is that the Arizona BP agent, Sanchez, who is a life long friend of Mr. Drug Runner gave conflicting testimony to Mr. Drug Runner when he said that he had not been in contact with Mr. Drug Runner. Mr. Drug Runner testified that he had been in ‘CONSTANT’ contact with Sanchez, even staying at Sanchez’s home.

    retire05 (663827)

  62. I have always wondered how in a country with more police per capita than any other country in the world we could have so much drug smuggling and illegal immigration, if the government were serious about stopping either. This case makes it pretty obvious.

    The agents made two mistakes, in my opinion. Their small mistake was not reporting the shooting. Their big mistake was thinking that they are anything more than window-dressing for an entirely phony anti-illegal immigration policy and an almost as phony anti-illegal drug policy. We have heard all the arguments about how muvh our economy would suffer if we actually did manage to stop illegal immigration. How much would thousands of drug enforcement agents and how much would prisons for profit suffer if ghetto kids in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, LA, New York, etc. simply did not have drugs to peddle?

    nk (47858f)

  63. That illegal aliens are protected by the constitution is the result of judicial usurpation, not the Constitution. It was neither the intent of the founders, nor in the text for these rights to apply to illegals. That doesn’t even cover the fact that granting them any rights whatsoever violates the basic tenants of limited, constitutional government. Read the Federalist Papers and then some of the Anti-Federalist papers, especially the ones under “Brutus”. What we need to do is revitalize nullification theory to deal with federal overreach such as in this case.

    Ben (6b9539)

  64. Well, this post makes me glad that, after having read some other conservative sites on this issue, I still hadn’t posted anything on it myself.

    As nearly as I can tell, some of the readers here think it’s just plain wrong that a drug smuggler, but one who is unarmed, can simply turn around and make a run for the border, and if he’s fast enough, can get away to safety, rather than the Border Patrol being allowed to shoot him.

    Their point that the drug smuggler is a criminal, caught dead to rights, is a genuine one, but also genuine is the fact that law enforcement officers can’t use deadly force in a non-threatening situation.

    Do we wish to make fleeing from the police a situation in which the law supports the use of deadly force?

    Dana (3e4784)

  65. My good friend nk wrote:

    I have always wondered how in a country with more police per capita than any other country in the world we could have so much drug smuggling and illegal immigration, if the government were serious about stopping either. This case makes it pretty obvious.

    Actually, this case doesn’t illuminate it in any particular way, because no one wants to admit the real reason we have drug smuggling and illegal immigration. We have drug smuggling because too many people want to use illegal drugs! We have illegal immigration because we want the labor that the illegals provide; we just don’t want them living here, changing our culture and consuming government services.

    We are so scared of addressing the problem of drugs and illegal immigration on the demand side, because no one wants to throw people in jail for smoking pot or having an illegal mow his lawn or build his house, that we will attack (somewhat half-heartedly) the supply side only. Well, the demand is such that the supply is continually regenerating; apprehend one drug dealer, and another one takes his place. Attack one company for using illegal immigrant labor, and his competitors gain a business advantage.

    You can address the problems only when you admit the problems.

    Dana (3e4784)

  66. NK said: “I have always wondered how in a country with more police per capita than any other country in the world we could have so much drug smuggling and illegal immigration, if the government were serious about stopping either.”

    To me the obvious answer is because the war on both illegal immigration and on drug smuggling is a war on the laws of supply and demand — a war on human nature. You might as well declare a war on war — it’s that much of a self-defeating effort.

    Phil (88ab5b)

  67. Those who are siding with the officers are coming very close to saying that the drug smuggler had it coming simply because he was here illegally.

    Yup

    Everyone in the US is afforded constitutional protection regardless of their immigration status.

    Bummer

    which, I’m well aware in moonbat bizarro world will come to mean that I’m really hoping for illegals caught crossing the border to be drawn, quartered and then nuked & their family burial grounds to be razed and turned into amusement parks

    Just their heads on pikes facing Mexico.

    So we should curb the problem of fleeing illegals by allowing Border Patrol agents to fire at will?

    Yes, we should. Shoot the first 100 men to come across tonight, and the problem would be solved. Treat the situation like an invasion by a hostile army. Anything less is not serious about the problem.

    BTW – talk to the Maricopa County (AZ) Board of Health to discuss the increase in untreatable tuburculosis and Hanson’s Disease (Leprosy!) as a result of illegal immigration.

    mitch (55069c)

  68. Isn’t this the law of the land for private property owners who post this sign?

    Trespassers will be shot on sight

    / sign on bedroom door of an average 10 year-old once upon a time.

    Every little kid with siblings understands right and wrong when it comes to trespassing on someone else’s property. This isn’t rocket science. Civil society depends on well-defined boundaries. Every citizen has the right to defend their private property, loved ones, nation.

    America is a nation of laws based on timeless, liberating values.

    Harry Truman: “the basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don’t have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a…government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.” – Feb. 15, 1950, address to the Attorney General’s Conference

    pbody (ce67d0)

  69. And here is where I pull my old reactionary/revolutionary hat down to my ears. I grant both Dana’s and Phil’s points wholeheartedly. Our wonderful elected representatives have a legitimate constituency which wants the, in my view, “slave labor” that illegal immigrant workers are. The drug users, on the other hand, are not a legitimate constituency — at least not so that any politician would admit. The gigantic anti-drug enforcement community and the prison industry are. Ipso facto, quod erad demonstratum, we only have a phony war on illegal immigration and a phony war on drugs because each has it own special constituency. To satisfy those constituencies our government allows one from column A and one from column B. Illegal immigration and a war on drugs. In both instances pissing on our backs and telling us it’s raining.

    (P.S. I am NOT a Libertarian. I hate drugs. I want a real war on drugs. Stop them at the border with tanks, Apaches and Hellfire missiles. So that we may someday have a generation of kids who do not know what crack cocaine is.)

    nk (5a2f98)

  70. I want a real war on drugs. Stop them at the border with tanks, Apaches and Hellfire missiles. So that we may someday have a generation of kids who do not know what crack cocaine is.

    Nope – they’ll know all about “dimethyethylhydrococoanoidalbenzene(!)” cooked up by some enterprising chemist in a lab in Topeka. Never underestimate the human need for mind altering substances. Been going on for thousands of years.

    Of course if you put the heads of drug dealers on pikes….

    mitch (55069c)

  71. I’m not a lawyer so I don’t think like one, and yes, I realize there is emotion involved here. Non-lawyers find it difficult to detach themselves from the “rule of law”.

    The emotion is that we see so many illegals thumbing their noses at us and our laws, (let them try that in Mexico), committing crimes and getting away with them, taking to OUR streets in the thousands, with banners that say “Today we march, tomorrow we vote”, and generally laughing at us for our limp-wristed political approach to anything controversial. We mustn’t offend anyone, never mind about our feelings, we must always consider theirs.

    We were not there in the desert. We don’t know what it’s like to be in the dusty heat, who’s armed and not armed, how many are hiding in the bushes. Look at Nuevo Laredo – the most lawless town between Canada and South America – what is being done about that?

    rightisright (2fce83)

  72. Has anyone figured out that the illegal alien drug smuggler is the one with the bullet in his ass!!! The prosecuter claims the agents couldn’t identify him. It’s gotta work both ways. How do we know for sure this is the one the agents shot? That’s right, because he said so and he’s got two holes in his butt. Now they refuse to prosecute him (again, the guy with the junk in the trunk) and the US is facing a $5 million lawsuit. Maybe there are some legitimate points to prosecute and convict the agents (but not a sentance of 10 years) but to to completely ignore the, at the very least, good circustancial evidence is malpractice on the part of the prosecuter and the government.

    John (de67f0)

  73. John, the bullet in the ass is my point exactly. This seems to be the second case of “magic bullet” theory in our history.
    If he was facing the agents, holding up his hands in a sign of surrender, then why did he get shot in the ass? Now I may not be a military expert, but I do know enough to know that you can’t shoot a guy in the back if he is facing you. And if they did shot him in the ass and it was such a serious wound, why was he able to run from them? I am still bothered by the talking points bulletin by the prosecution. What was the purpose of that? They had won the case, the officers had been sentenced and the fact sheet is dated the day the officers reported to be taken to prison. Why the wait?
    Perhaps the prosecution would be willing to let the court transcripts be made public. But I don’t think so. Defense testimony could possibly show that the prosecution refused to allow certain testimony that could have saved these two officers.
    No, I don’t think law enforcement officer should be able to shoot first, question later. But if I am on patrol and my partner is down because of a perp, and the perp refuses to stop when I shout “halt, halt”, you can be I am going to consider him armed and dangerous.

    retire05 (663827)

  74. I read my post and realized my sentence “Non-lawyers find it difficult to detach themselves from the “rule of law””. Obviously it’s the reverse!

    rightisright (2fce83)

  75. Retire05;

    As I’ve heard the story there was a scuffle and the illegal alien drug smuggler was running away when the second officer started firing. Thus, only the illegal alien drug smuggler’s back side was able to be targeted. No magic bullet here, unless you count that one out of 15 that will probably make Mr. illegal alien drug smuggler a millionaire. If the bullet in the rear end identified him as the “victim” then it also identifies him as the ILLEGAL ALIEN DRUG SMUGGLER. If, as others have said we’re a nation of laws, then explain why he isn’t being prosecuted. The prosecuotr’s office says they didn’t grant immunity. Yeh riiiiiiight! I can’t imagine that the illegal alien drug smuggler’s testimony in the trial of the two officers couldn’t be used in his prosecution,…….unless.

    John (de67f0)

  76. John, the prosecutor’s office gave Mr. Drug Runner immunity against being prosecuted for the almost 800 lbs. of pot they found in the van. Now this in itself poses a few problems. One, they said the officers could not determine that Mr. Drug Runner was the actual owner of the van since they found no fingerprints, which seems suspect in itself to me (do the people who work at auto factories wear latex gloves and never leave any fingerprints [I can tell you they don’t], do the guys who change the oil never leave any fingerprints?). Now I would think that in the persuit of a felon, the officers would not stop that persuit to do forensic tests on the van. I would think the idea is to catch Mr. Drug Runner and do foresics later.
    But OK, let’s assume that no one, not the factory worker at GMAC, not the guy who drove the van, not someone who changed the oil in the van or wipped the windows, ever left fingerprints and the prosecution could not prove the van belonged to Mr. Drug Runner. Then why the need for immunity from a crime they could not prove he committed?
    And why was Mr. Drug Runner’s subsequent two arrests for drug running not allowed in the testimony and why is he not being prosecuted for those arrests?

    retire05 (663827)

  77. Mitch wrote:

    Of course if you put the heads of drug dealers on pikes….

    You’d just get replacement drug dealers.

    In the City of Brotherly Love, the police aren’t killing the drug dealers (well, a few; Philly had a record number of killings by the police last year), the drug dealers are killing each other, at a rather substantial rate. For whatever reasons they have, the drug dealers don’t seem to be deterred by the possibility of death.

    Dana (556f76)

  78. Missed the immunity from anything said in P’s analysis above. But, middle of the desert, van with 800lbs of pot, agents testifying they saw him in the van, bullet in the butt, even with “no finger prints” it seems like something a jury can figure out. Maybe not in El Paso though (or LA for that matter). Man, if we have to start having a cop eye witness ever crime we’re in real trouble. To have the prosecutor says there isn’t a case at all is pretty far fetched. Wonder if the agents would get the same offer of imunity from the prosecutor in a case against the illegal alien drug smuggler. Bet not.

    John (de67f0)

  79. Well written post. I was getting sick of John and Ken on KFI giving one side of the story. However, if you keep this up you will have Balko and the other libertarians praising you, and you don’t want that to happen.

    TomHynes (36cb4e)

  80. The non-libertarian nk wrote:

    I grant both Dana’s and Phil’s points wholeheartedly. Our wonderful elected representatives have a legitimate constituency which wants the, in my view, “slave labor” that illegal immigrant workers are. The drug users, on the other hand, are not a legitimate constituency — at least not so that any politician would admit.

    Oh, they might not admit it, but that’s understandable; politicians aren’t well known for fessing up to uncomfortable truths. And the fact is that we in the United States have taken the collective decision not to attack the drug problem by penalizing drug users. We dismiss charges, we offer rehab, we do everything but make drug use a crime which puts people in prison for years at a time. (At this point, one of our liberal friends will chime in with, “Oh, yes we do, we have X number of people in prison for using drugs,” but the vast majority of those people are dealers who were allowed to plead to a lesser offense.)

    The demand for drugs just flat exists, because large segments of the population don’t see anything wrong with burning one on Friday night. By not making drug use a serious offense, we allow the demand for drugs to increase, and hence we have drug dealers.

    But if we seriously enforced laws on possession and use, if we gave people felony records and put them in jail for a couple of years, the population would be up in arms — because the sons and daughters of just too many people are out there, “experimening” with drugs, including the sons and daughters of police officers and politicians and judges and maybe even presidents.

    Dana (556f76)

  81. NK wrote:

    I am NOT a Libertarian. I hate drugs. I want a real war on drugs. Stop them at the border with tanks, Apaches and Hellfire missiles. So that we may someday have a generation of kids who do not know what crack cocaine is.

    Which raises the question: what are you willing to do when at least some of those drugs manage to get past the tanks, Apaches and Hellfire missiles? Are you willing to lock up drug users?

    Dana (556f76)

  82. George Bush aggresively allows 11 million criminals into the country by not enforcing the laws on the bookd and gets zero jail time.

    These guys take down a criminal and get 12 years.

    Bush is a piece of work.

    Common C ents (5e0b5e)

  83. My previous comment seems to have gone to digital heaven. I wonder if I have attracted the attention of the spam filter.

    If this goes through … Dana, #81, the answer is yes.

    nk (d5dd10)

  84. Actually, this case doesn’t illuminate it in any particular way, because no one wants to admit the real reason we have drug smuggling and illegal immigration. We have drug smuggling because too many people want to use illegal drugs!

    And because of the massive amount of illegal drugs that Bush is bringing into our country to make his “friends” in Mexico happy, the more will be available for use which creates more and more demand.

    They have themselves a nice little mafia operation going on; you got your Mexican Officials, Bush, Bush’s long-time consigliere Sutton, the smugglers and a “border patrol”. Ramos and Campean didn’t fit in so they were “taken out”.

    True Thurts (d21251)

  85. I didn’t know about the Border Patrol officer who allegedly witnessed this incident and will have to re-think this.

    But, I must answer this comment:

    And that is the decision of a jury from the West Texas District guys. We’re not talking about a Berkeley or DC jury here, contrary to Darleen’s implication. You’ll find very few ‘liberals’ as the term is generally understood in West Texas.”

    El Paso is NOT conservative. It is a Blue part of the state. I would not trust an El Paso jury with any case against members of law enforcement.

    In fact, if El Paso wanted to secede from Texas, I’d say: “Great, don’t let the Big Bend hit you in the ass on the way out!”

    Jerri Lynn Ward (9f83e6)

  86. NK wrote:

    My previous comment seems to have gone to digital heaven.

    Of course! We all know that our esteemed host is providing the most divine of blogging experiences for us, his dedicated readers.

    (Not that I’d even kiss up just for a blogroll listing you understand! :) )

    Dana (556f76)

  87. Under Sharia, we will not have these problems.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  88. And, to add to my bonafides in my last post on El Paso–let me tell you about a civil case I was defending there. I went to take the deposition of the plaintiff–who was pretending not to understand English. The certified interpretor (who was also Hispanic) recast my questions in such a manner as to help the plaintiff and to screw me. I knew just enough Spanish to tell–but not enough to make a huge deal.

    I settled the case as quickly as possible.

    El Paso is no longer the United States.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (9f83e6)

  89. I agree with Jerri Lynn Ward. El Paso is on New Mexico time and that tells you all you need to know.

    DRJ (51a774)

  90. Um wondering why Patterico doesn’t question the method in which the bullet was retrieved?

    A few days ago, Bradley J. Fikes wrote me to ask whether I was going to write anything about the Border Patrol agents recently sentenced to double-digit prison sentences for firing on an alleged admitted drug smuggler

    Wondering why Patterico doesn’t mention Johhny Sutton trying to smear Ramos in his last fact. Ramos who was nominated for Border Patrol agent of the year. Johnny Sutton wins the case and is all class. U.S. Attorney of the year I say.

    Wondering why Paterico is not questioning why Johnny Sutton is only using the prosecutions accounts of what happened? How did the officers fire 15 shots and miss him? How do you miss a person at relatively close range when you are an experienced shooter?

    Why does Patterico sidestep Johhny Suttons account of WHY the sentence given. Did the U.S. attorney not know what the minimum sentence was? “Hey it wasn’t me it was Congress” As if he did not know the sentencing requirements. Is he ignorant for not knowing the penalty or just an asshole going for the jugular, then shruging his shoulders at criticism leveled against him. The buck stops at Congress apparently.

    Was the prosecution by the book? Yep. Did the officers deserve to reprimanded, punished even removed from the BP, even jailed, yes. But that really isn’t the issue we supporters have is it? This is about choosing sides. The way… the way it was done makes me sick. 11 and 12 year sentences… I can’t get the taste out of my mouth.

    Patterico you should download yesterdays John and Ken show and listen to the counter protester hiss a him while he turns himself in. I can’t get that witch’s voice out of my head. “This is Mexico! This is Mexico! This is Mexico!”

    I believe Sutton was on today. Defending his case against Ramos and Campean. Sutton compared Ramos and Campean to Tookie Williams. Sutton he’s all class.

    I sincerely hope a civil suit is coming. I would love to see the publicity Sutton gets when Osbaldo becomes a millionaire. “Johnny Sutton got me 5 million dollars” That’ll look nice on a t-shirt.

    What’s your opinion on this Patterico?

    theworldisnotenough (d0ddaa)

  91. re: El Paso. I spent a few days there a few years ago and I didn’t find it that bad, just not a lot going on.

    TLB (cc42f6)

  92. “re: El Paso. I spent a few days there a few years ago and I didn’t find it that bad, just not a lot going on.”

    There are some good things about El Paso, I won’t deny that. There’s good food and some fun people. It has interesting history.

    But–it is no longer an American city–and its juries cannot be trusted to pass judgment on Border patrol agents in a fair and objective manner.

    Also, my understanding about the dealer being “shot in the back” was that he was actually shot in the buttock in such a way as to be consistent with a perp turning his upper body around while still running. You know–like running, partially turning and pointing a gun to shoot.

    But, I confess, I didn’t know there was another BP witness–so I’d have to also consider that.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (9f83e6)

  93. […] Nice job by O’R in trying to bring out the facts about this case. If he really was the full-bore populist demagogue Colbert paints him as, he’d be pounding the table with Tancredo and Rohrabacher about pardoning these guys post haste. Instead, he invited Johnny Sutton on to explain the facts. Well done. And well done as well by my pal Counselor Frey, who appears to have caught Deb Saunders bowdlerizing a quote to make it fit her argument. […]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » Video: U.S. Attorney defends prosecution of Border Patrol agents (d4224a)

  94. As a Texan, I can tell you that El Paso is about as blue, politically, as Vermont. It really isn’t part of Texas anymore, it is more like part of Mexico. So I am not surprised at any verdict like this that comes from El Paso. Think 9th Circuit.
    Compean and Ramos will have appeals. And this time, I hope the defense has the judge instruct the jury on the rules of a hung jury. And perhaps, just perhaps, some of the testimony that was supressed in this trial will come out. And Sutton will not be the prosecutor.
    I also have another question; Mr. Drug Runner did not seek medical help for his gun shot wound for a month. The mere fact that he could function with a gun shot wound in his buttocks tells me that it was probably no more than a flesh would. That aside, how healed was it when he finally got medical treatment? And where are the ballistics reports that prove, for certainty, the bullet belonged to the gun of Officer Ramos?

    retire05 (663827)

  95. Jerri Lynn Ward……
    Let me ask you this…if you have another BP Agent, Rene Sanchez, who testifies that he had not seen the perp in years, yet the perp (Mr. Drug Runner) states that he had been in constant contact with Sanchez, that Sanchez came and got him in Mexico and that Sanchez took him to see an attorney, who is lying? Mr. Drug Runner also told the prosecution that he had, in fact, stayed at Sanchez’s home and that Sanchez was with him when he went to talk to the prosecutors.
    Another BP agent from the El Paso sector, the same sector as Compean and Ramos, gave a deposition that Sanchez, who is stationed in Arizona, had been calling the EL Paso sector prior to the shooting to check on drug busts and if there had been anyone apprehended. The El Paso sector BP who gave that deposition stated also that he had warned supervision about Sanchez and was told to drop it and was threatened with discipline if he did not.
    Judge Cardone would not only not allow the El Paso BP to testify, she would not allow the deposition to be read into the record.

    retire05 (663827)

  96. Retire05

    The points you raise are why I think the agents got screwed. I would like to know more about the purported “eye-witness” as Patterico’s post is the first I’ve heard about him.

    That said, I, unlike Patterico, do not trust Federal Prosecutors. I also do not trust El Paso juries.

    Our system of justice and the jury system is based on Anglo-Saxon ideals of objectivity and fair play. In other words, the idea that justice must be administered even if the one being judged is of one’s own tribe. This ideal does not exist to a great degree in El Paso or deep South Texas–or Mexico–which is why I do not trust that justice would be done to a Border Patrol agent.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (9f83e6)

  97. Jerri Lynn, do you think the supressed testimony and evidence will come out in appeal? And what part with Sutton play in the appeal process? Will this case be heard in the Fed. appeals court in Houston? Or is there an appelate court in El Paso? And will the three jurors who say they were pressured into finding a guilty verdict because they were told by the jury foreman that the judge would not accept a hung jury be allowed to testify at appeal?

    retire05 (663827)

  98. Appeals are not like trials so jurors will not testify. This should go to the 5th Circuit in New Orleans.

    I’m not a criminal attorney–so I’m not sure how the appellate lawyers will bring forth the issues regarding the jury issues. Patterico should know how this would work.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (9f83e6)

  99. Jerri Lynn, are you a PI attorney by any chance? And do you practice or have any work in the Austin area? I just thought you might know a friend of mine, an attorney in Austin who is also a judge in Williamson County.

    retire05 (663827)

  100. Retire05,

    I practice in Austin. I used to do both PI and insurance defense. Now, I represent long term care providers in mainly regulatory actions. (I anticipated tort reform :) )

    I also help families fight hospitals who want to withdraw life-sustaining treatments against the wishes of the family and/or the patient on a pro bono basis. (Andrea Clark, etc. )

    Jerri Lynn Ward (9f83e6)

  101. Jerri Lynn, do you know Kevin Madison?

    retire05 (663827)

  102. I doubt very much that the juror issue will ever be heard either on appeal or post-judgment collateral proceedings. As a general rule, jurors are not allowed to impeach their verdict.

    nk (d7a872)

  103. “Jerri Lynn, do you know Kevin Madison?”

    I sure do. It’s been quite a while since I had a case with him–but I remember liking him and thinking that he is very intelligent and competent.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (9f83e6)

  104. I think the Western District of Texas has excellent US Attorneys, magistrates, and federal district judges. Each year, the US Attorneys’ office handles a high volume of drug prosecutions and other crimes as well as civil prosecutions. In addition, the Western District jurisdiction covers a large swath of Texas and most of the border area. I understand that some people disagree with this case, but in general I have a hard time accepting that the Mr. Sutton has an anti-Border Patrol or anti-law enforcement bias.

    DRJ (51a774)

  105. Kevin is a wonder. He was Chief of Police in my small town and ran for Prosecuting Attorney in Bastrop County (years ago). He had a lot of followers but could not buck the “good ole boy” system and was defeated. I tried to talk him into running again but by that time he had gotten in to PI law and has won a major, MAJOR case against a nursing home in Bastrop. He has been a judge in Williamson County for quite a while now. And we all know that Williamson County is very, very red.
    I think he limits his work to PI cases almost exclusively now. But he is a smart, smart guy who knows the law. I used to tease him and tell him he was the best dressed lawyer to go into court in Bastrop County because he had a tie on.
    He used to tease me because when I lived in Houston I used to hob nob with a guy named Jim Tatum. Do you remember Tatum?
    Kevin was my attorney for a long time. I was once involved in a law suit and the person I was suing went to another lawyer in Bastrop County that had a reputation as being the best in the business. When the other lawyer found out Kevin was my attorney he told the person I was suing that he would not take the case, because he did not like losing.
    I am on a little sojourn in Mississippi right now. Can you get to your office? I heard the ice is really bad and so I had a friend check on my house and they said my trees were loaded with ice. A friend of mine is an instructor for AFD and called me last night to tell me the FD cadets were in the field at the academy and were building snowmen. I told him I was glad to know that our first reponders would know what to do if we were ever attacked by snowmen.
    Now back to Campean and Ramos.
    What do you think their chances are on having the sentence overturned on appeal?

    retire05 (663827)

  106. DRJ,

    I don’t doubt your comment 104 in the least. I think, however, that our country has an institutional bias against protecting our borders. If a homeless man breaks into my house and steals some food, he is guilty of a violent felony punishable by 7 to 15 years in prison and the police can shoot him if he tries to run away. (I actually defended exactly such a case and lost.) If someone breaches our borders, it’s an “administrative offense” which preclude him from legal immigrant status. (Unless the proposed law which would make it a misdemeanor punishable by six moths in jail passed. Heh.)

    nk (947b03)

  107. […] Tancredo and Rohrabacher about pardoning these guys post haste. Instead, he invited Johnny Sutton on to explain the facts. Well done. And well done as well by my pal Counselor Frey, who appears to have caught Deb Saunders bowdlerizing a quote to make it fit her argument. […]

    Traction Control » Blog Archive » Headline Summaries: Border Security (2d8ea5)

  108. “I understand that some people disagree with this case, but in general I have a hard time accepting that the Mr. Sutton has an anti-Border Patrol or anti-law enforcement bias.”

    I doubt that he is anti-law enforcement too. I reserve judgment as to whether or not he is a political hack. But, this is one area where I disagree with Patterico on the issue of prosecutors and prosecutorial abuse. Thus, I do not trust Mr. Sutton–though I plan to reevaluate that trust based on the “eye-witness” Patterico has brought to our attention.

    Also, Sutton does not live in El Paso or on the border. He has lived in Houston, Washington D.C. and San Antonio–where he is presently based. San Antonio is a long way from the border. This may be irrelevant–but I wouldn’t want people to assume that Sutton is a West Texan–which means something to those of us who were born and raised out there.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (9f83e6)

  109. nk, you just summed up the problem in a nut shell. Our borders were once a criminal problem and a problem of violating our sovereignty problem. But since 9-11 it has become a national security problem and no one want to address it. Visit any of BP local’s web sites and you will understand that they are understaffed, the equipment is inferior, and they are screwed by the federal government at every turn. Moral is at an all time low and now it is even worse.
    I predict that we are going to see BP agents looking to other law enforcement agencies for a job and could result in the number of BP agents decreasing substantially instead of increasing as our government keeps telling us it will. Who wants to work for a boss that will not back you up when you do your job?

    retire05 (663827)

  110. retire05,

    Not only did Kevin dress well–he is one of the most handsome men I have ever seen in my life! And smart! I am really glad that he is a judge in Williamson County now.

    I don’t recognize the name Jim Tatum.

    Also, we were iced in from Monday thru Wednesday–but were able to get out today. I almost went stir-crazy.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (9f83e6)

  111. Retire05,

    I have no idea what will happen to the BP agents on appeal. I hope that they will be exonerated. However, I wish I knew more about the “eyewitness”.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (9f83e6)

  112. Jerri Lynn, let’s not forget that Sutton is not only closely associated with the Bush administration (having been on the transition team for the Jusice Department) but is also, gasp!!! a graduate of the University of Texas, Austin. His bio reads like a Who’se Who in the upwardly climbing politico looking to make a name for himself.
    This case could make Sutton a household name. But if, on appeal, it is learned that the prosection stacked the deck, it could also be a career wreaker.

    retire05 (663827)

  113. “Jerri Lynn, let’s not forget that Sutton is not only closely associated with the Bush administration (having been on the transition team for the Jusice Department) but is also, gasp!!! a graduate of the University of Texas, Austin.”

    Given that I am a Texas Aggie, Sutton’s condition of being a “Teasip” is a grave indictment in and of itself. :)

    Jerri Lynn Ward (9f83e6)

  114. Don’t look at my bio . . .

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  115. retire05,

    One of my childhood heroes (my childhood lasted until age 45 BTW and my wife disagrees that is has ended at all) was Border Patrolman Bill Jordan. I used to read everything he wrote. Are you retired from the Border Patrol?

    nk (50d578)

  116. “Don’t look at my bio . . .”

    Whoops! I didn’t mean to insult the host.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (9f83e6)

  117. That’s fine. My sisters are Aggies. I’m used to it.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  118. NK,

    If I were to ever be a single issue voter, immigration is that issue for me so you are preaching to the choir if your comment objects to our nation’s lax attitude toward immigration violations. Perhaps the Western District of Texas could do more to enforce immigration laws but I assure you that many West Texas sheriffs want to enforce the immigration laws but are prevented by federal and state laws and PC agendas. They can’t ask anyone’s immigration status and they have a limited ability to profile, but only for possible drug offenses and not for immigration violations.

    My limited knowledge of the Border Patrol suggests they are subject to the same constraints. Furthermore, until recently, they were limited by the “catch and release” program. Thus, there probably haven’t been that many immigration cases referred to the US Attorneys’ office for prosecution. I may be wrong but based on what I know now, I don’t blame that on anyone locally.

    DRJ (51a774)

  119. Third generation Longhorn here and the fourth generation is there now, but his best friend is an Aggie. I think Texans need to stick together … even the ones who live in California.

    DRJ (51a774)

  120. Gigg ’em!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go, Aggies………..
    My brother is a teasipper. Probably only one of three conservatives to have graduated from U.T. He went on to a career in the Navy as an officer.

    Jerri Lynn, I used to have lunch once in a while with Kevin when I worked in Austin. Thank God I was happily married, I think. When Kevin got married I thought the women of the county were going to declare it a national day of mourning.

    Tatum was a criminal attorney who ran around with Racehorse Haynes.

    nk, no, I am not retired BP. But I have friends in all sectors of law enforcement. And I know how hard their jobs are on just a normal day. Our BP is overworked to the point of breaking. The sector where Compean and Ramos works is very dangerous. It is the sector where the armed Mexicans advanced on the National Guard manning a BP outpost a couple of weeks ago. These men who dedicate their lives to protecting our borders are shot at, have large rocks thrown at them and their cars, and some have been killed or wounded. I have a tendancy to err on the side of law enforcement officers. If you look at the criminal side of law enforcement, you have to admit that the crimes they commit are less than the average population and corruption can affect anyone, no matter their job.

    I also have to ask why, when Sutton gave Mr. Drug Runner immunity, did he seal that. What was Sutton hiding? I can understand sealing adoption records, but not a deal cut with a criminal. And yes, Mr. Drug Runner was arrested again in October, 2005 for having 1,000 lbs. of pot he was trying to bring into the U.S. but his immunity covered that arrest as well. All this was kept from the jury. Why did Judge Cardone refuse to allow it as evidence?

    Are any of you aware that the BP has been instructed not to persue chase of an illegal unless they do not exceed the speed limit or get permission to increase their speed from a supervisor? How does that work? How many illegals does that catch?

    retire05 (663827)

  121. I danced with a girl from Texas, once. Can I stay in this discussion? 😉

    nk (50d578)

  122. “And yes, Mr. Drug Runner was arrested again in October, 2005 for having 1,000 lbs. of pot he was trying to bring into the U.S. but his immunity covered that arrest as well. All this was kept from the jury.”

    That’s a direct contradiction of the U.S. Attorney’s claim that only use immunity was given.

    Do you have any proof of that?

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  123. “When Kevin got married I thought the women of the county were going to declare it a national day of mourning.”

    Oh No! I wonder if I missed a period when he was single?! If so, I blew it.

    “My brother is a teasipper. Probably only one of three conservatives to have graduated from U.T. He went on to a career in the Navy as an officer.”

    My teasip uncle, who is only about 10 years older than me, told me that I would become a “cultural barbarian” if I went to Texas A&M. He now lives in La Jolla and has this “thing” about clothes. ( He is NOT gay and he voted for Bush nontheless)

    I probably am a “cultural barbarian”.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (9f83e6)

  124. I am not a big fan of UT. Too many profs like Robert Jensen.
    My brother now lives in CA. I guess there are about seven Republicans there. He is one of them. Must be the Navy thing.

    Patterico, I only know what I have read in the papers. I will try to find the link but I have heard it more than once that Mr. Drug Runner was caught at least once more.

    retire05 (663827)

  125. Either CNS News has it wrong, or the U.S. Attorney is lying. Both on the issue of whether he was subsequently arrested, and whether the immunity covered it.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  126. Debra Saunders is a worthless [deleted by P]. [deleted by P] anyone who sticks up for these sorry excuses for BP agents.

    Hey Ramos and Compean: enjoy your (hopefully short) time in GenPop! jajajajaja

    BMJ (0f277f)

  127. NK #121,

    That almost makes you a native Texan – especially if it was C&W dancing.

    DRJ (51a774)

  128. What’s with BMJ?

    DRJ (51a774)

  129. Sorry, just a little P.O.’d that people would defend these guys, that’s all. Apologies for the…er…worthless profanity. :)

    BMJ (0f277f)

  130. Very thorough. A couple points from experience.

    First, the agents didn’t know about the marijuana until later when the van was searched. When they shot him he was just a hispanic guy running for the border.

    Second, being illegally in the country is not a “crime” — its a status offense. That is why offenders are deported and not incarcerated.

    A crime is committed when an illegal re-enters the country after having been deported. But, the agents can’t know that fact — a prior deportation — until after they have stopped and ID’d the guy, which didn’t happen here.

    So, when they are shooting at him, they don’t have any reasonably articulable factual basis to believe that he had even committed a crime.

    WLS (890895)

  131. Nifong. Sutton. I know you can’t portray an entire group of people due to the actions of one individual, but Nifong has left a very bitter taste. He’s now a prosecutor’s nightmare because of it. If Nifong can do it, Sutton can too, will be the general consensus. Politics and power can turn a person’s head, it seems.

    Anyway, I heard or saw a comment somewhere in the last couple of days during my travels through the blogs or perhaps the news, that the president had given Sandy Berger a lame slap on the wrist for stealing and destroying classified documents, but didn’t include the agents in the pardons he gave at Christmas.

    rightisright (2fce83)

  132. “So, when they are shooting at him, they don’t have any reasonably articulable factual basis to believe that he had even committed a crime.

    Comment by WLS — 1/18/2007 @ 11:24 pm”

    No. They could articulate that they “reasonably believed” he was committing the crime of pointing a gun at them *while* he was fleeing.

    If true, of course.

    Absent that – and the shooting, they did have “articulable factual basis to believe that he had even committed a crime” sufficient to pursue and arrest him.

    Granted, that’s not the same as “evidence…sufficient to convict”, which seems to be the standard on which Sutton relies.

    CM Smith (843567)

  133. WLS is absolutely correct on this matter.

    BMJ (0f277f)

  134. If they only had the presence of mind to report the incident and claim that he was not wearing his seatbelt. No wonder policemen and lawyers have higher alcoholism rates than the general population. The insane inconsistencies in the law drive you to drink.

    nk (d5dd10)

  135. […] And Patterico….(evidently a prosecutor) agrees with the verdict HERE. A couple of points should be made: […]

    Southern Sass on Crime » caii (99d782)

  136. I’m sorry, NK, but you’re wrong. In Texas we only let the police conduct unreasonable searches on citizens, not illegal immigrants.

    DRJ (51a774)

  137. PS – I’m kidding, of course.

    I think.

    DRJ (51a774)

  138. I haven’t been able to read the 6000 pages of transcripts in this case, only reports like the ones mentioned in this article. Here are the obvious facts:

    Every US law officer (LEO) can detain a person based on reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. A LEO can make an arrest based on probable pause – A set of facts leading a reasonable and prudent person to believe that the accused had committed a crime.

    A LEO may use lethal force when:
    Threatened with a weapon or is believed to be armed and committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm or death, or when the suspect poses significant threat to officers or others if allowed to escape – lethal force MAY be used if reasonably necessary to prevent escape.

    This is the law of the land and comes from the landmark US Supreme Court decision – Tennessee V. Garner. Look it up! This was clarified in a 9th Circuit decision in 1997 Forrett v. Richardson: It is not necessary that the suspect be armed at the time of the deadly force application, or threatened an officer with a weapon. Deadly force may be used to prevent the escape of an individual when the officer has: “probable cause to believe that the infliction or threatened infliction of serious harm is involved” and “Officers are not required to exhaust every alternative before using justifiable deadly force”. Again, look it up!

    Serious bodily injury generally it means loss of consciousness, concussion, bone fracture, a wound requiring extensive suturing. In other words, an injury likely to cause these types of injuries.

    What is reasonable? The Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor decided that reasonableness is based on the totality of the facts known to the officer at the time the force was applied; based on the facts known to the officer without regard to the underlying intent or motivation; based on the knowledge the officer acted properly under established law at the time.

    The Graham v. Connor case explained the test to define the reasonable officer standard:
    Would another officer with the same/similar training and experience, facing the same/similar circumstances, act the same way or use similar judgment? The officer does not have to make the best decision, only a reasonable decision.

    The difficultly is trying to find what the facts in the case are and applying the facts to these basic US Supreme Court tests. If the BP officers reasonably believed they observed a crime being committed (an illegal border crossing at least), reasonably believed they were shot at or that the suspect possessed a weapon (doesn’t matter that the person had no weapon AFTER the fact), reasonably believed they were shot at, had a resistive/combative suspect who did not submit to their authority; it seems that the court would find the BP agent’s actions reasonable. Public opinion may not like what occurred and to change this we must change the law. Perhaps there may have been administrative policy violations. For this, we should ask the obvious. Why wasn’t the supervisor held responsible for his officer’s actions? It seems to me that if the BP officers acted criminally, their supervisor did so too!

    Jack (5267dc)

  139. Jack, and I would ask:
    if the supervisors who were in attendence at the scene of the shooting are required to file a report with the FBI and did not, what disciplinary actions have been/will be taken against them for failure to follow procedure?

    retire05 (663827)

  140. If, as you report, ” In his statement to investigators, Compean admitted that Aldrete had attempted to surrender with both hands open and in the air. . . . Agent Juarez also testified that Aldrete was surrendering to Compean with his hands open and empty palms turned to Compean”, how then did he get shot in the butt?

    And why were they convicted of an offense clearly intended for civilians, not police – using a gun in the commission of a crime?

    They were most likely at fault – for not completely reporting the incident – but that’s not at all a 12-year Federal rap. (By the way, there’s no “time off for good behavior” in Federal prison. Without a Presidential pardon, they’ll be there until 2018.)

    ZZMike (a3c869)

  141. Tancredo Says What Others Think…

    He is real tough on ILLEGAL immigration and he wants to get rid of the ILLEGALS. I admire the fact that he believes that they are a problem that needs to be dealt with. Today he decided to take on racism in the Congress.

    ……

    Webloggin (a2d188)

  142. #43 “Finally, I have to say I do agree that those that operate under the color of authority deserve harsher punishment when they abuse it. Look, I am tired of the police and other LE having it both ways. Somehow, being a cop of any color is being made into some type of super citizen. (I.e. the police get rights denied the plebians.) So when they screw up, and that they did in monumetal fashion, they NEED more punishment than a regular citizen”

    Since there is no statute of limitations on murder, maybe it is time to reopen the case of the FBI Ruby Ridge killer, Lon Horiuchi. Or he could be charged under the same federal statutes that were/are being used to prosecute Sixties Klansmen.

    expat (a2718b)

  143. I don’t care if you are baby Jesus shooting at a criminal, border patrol agents do not have and are not given the right to be judge, jury, and executioner. A criminal is a criminal and law enforcement officers do not have the right to take shooting practice on them after they raise their hands and give up. I think some people are sympathetic to the border agents because they haven’t taken the time to read the whole case transcript. If they did, most would have a different opinion.

    [That implies that you have read it. If so, how did you get it, and can I get a copy? A lot of us would like to read it. — P]

    steve (38ad71)

  144. He shot him in the butt – therefore he was walking backwards to surrender or was running away. Since both Compean and Juarez said he was surrendering ( yes the shooter said he was surrendering ) Mr. drug dealer must have changed his mind and made a break for it. Therefore all bets are off for letting your guard down. Since Compean didn’t shoot him like a dog when his hands were up, ask what made he start shooting when he fled ? The wound recieved was at close to a 90 degrees entry ( the drug guy was turned to face back )If it looked like he was turning back people have been shot for less ( you not supposed to be running from cops in the first place ) A split second judgement to open fire can be made. Since agent Compean thought he saw something and heard shots. Now maybe just maybe the waiting driver might have made an effort to cover his/her fleeing partner by shooting off a round or two( hell it could have been the sound of a car door being closed ). Also Juarez said he never pulled his gun, why?
    You have a running ( after fighting with agent Ramos and Compean) then surrendering drug smuggler who then starts running again and you dont draw a weapon to cover in an unknown situation. He didn’t feel threatened – this guy was just fighting two agent , were was Juarez?
    As for military hospital and Sanchez that needs to be looked into

    Brian (8859b0)

  145. Dear Mr. P.

    Alot of nonsense has gone on back and forth about the transcripts.

    first, Transcripts are not public property and in the case of prosecution of law enforcement officers than can be sealed they probably will never be released to the public for the protection of the witnessess and the jury.

    second, The western District judges seem to all be using the CART system
    http://www.txwd.uscourts.gov/gen_info/judgeFAQ.asp

    It wouldn’t take much investigating to get a court reports name in the el Paso district and find out Judge Cardones court reporter

    (Cart system is the real time processing of keys pressed into electronic media http://ncraonline.org/Foundation/Research/cart.htm)

    third: 5 border patrol agents including three saw the surrender, did not unholster their weapons, nor reported the crime and 2 have now violated their limited immunity and will face expulsion and probably conspiracy to obstruct justice

    http://www.libertypost.org/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=176359

    forth according to the following news articles

    http://banderasnews.com/0701/nw-usagentshoots.htm

    Agents have been in at least 23 agent-involved shootings since 1993, many prompted by rock-throwing, Star archives show. Yet, an accurate count remains elusive.

    “This only speaks to the need for an independent entity to look into these cases,” said Kat Rodriguez, coordinator for Derechos Humanos, an immigrant-rights organization in Tucson.

    It also illustrates the escalating violence along the border and the need to examine protocols on agents’ approved use of firearms, she said.

    The last time an agent shot and killed someone in Cochise County was June 4, 2003, near the Douglas Port of Entry. In that incident, agent Cesar Cervantes shot Ricardo Olivares Martinez, 22, several times in the chest and killed him. Olivares Martinez had been throwing rocks at Cervantes.

    EricPWJohnson (405d78)

  146. […] I have not posted anything on the 2 Border Patrol agents who have recently gone to prison for shooting an illegal alien in the butt. I really don’t intend to say much about it, but will direct you to Patterico, who pretty much lays out my own take on the situation. […]

    Echo-1 » Blog Archive » Border Patrol Prosecutions (d46a4d)

  147. […] U.S. Attorney defends prosecution of Border Patrol agents Nice job by O’R in trying to bring out the facts about this case. If he really was the full-bore populist demagogue Colbert paints him as, he’d be pounding the table with Tancredo and Rohrabacher about pardoning these guys post haste. Instead, he invited Johnny Sutton on to explain the facts. Well done. And well done as well by my pal Counselor Frey, who appears to have caught Deb Saunders bowdlerizing a quote to make it fit her argument. The president told reporters today that he’s open to a pardon, but he seems lukewarm to the idea. As well he should be. Bush said, “There’s a process for pardons. It’s got to work its way through a system here in the government. I just want people to take a sober look at the case.” […]

    Headline Summaries: Border Security at Traction Control (afad56)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.4969 secs.