Justice for Ramos/Compean... Finally

On this last full day in office, President Bush commuted the prison sentences of Iganacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean who were convicted of shooting a Mexican drug runner in 2005. Bush’s action falls short of a legal pardon in the case, which would have cleared the records of the two officers.


Here is a history of the Ramos/Compean case, and three other cases, showing the way in which our justice system is being manipulated against the interests of our nation:


*On February 17, 2005, one of two federal Border Patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos or Jose Compean, was said to have shot non-fatally in the buttocks a Mexican drug dealer, Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, who was fleeing after transporting in Texas more than 700 lbs. of marijuana in a Chevy Astro van.


Davila was said to have been struck in the side of his buttocks from an angle that was said to be attributable to what is known as a “bladed stance” that one would assume for a left-handed gunshot back at the agents. Davila is left handed. Ramos and Compean said that Davila had a gun and was preparing to shoot at them.


Davila has been given a 57-month sentence for smuggling marijuana into the United States in two separate trips. His second shipment came in October 2005, long after the Ramos/Compean incident and after US Army doctors had treated his bullet wound.


Davila is said to have brought in the second marijuana load after he had been given by US prosecutors in the case immunity, a border crossing card and medical treatment in exchange for his testimony against Ramos and Compean. He is alleged to have used his border crossing privilege to smuggle the second marijuana shipment.


Meanwhile Ramos and Compean are serving 11-year and 12-year prison sentences in the case. Davila has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the US.


Ramos and Compean were convicted in February 2006 in US District Court in Texas of serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, violating the rights of an illegal alien and obstruction of justice for not reporting that their weapons had been fired. The Mexican government had pressure United States law enforcement for the conviction.


Ramos and Compean would have received 10 years less each except that they violated a gun law that was specifically fashioned out of a disused federal law by the Office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas under Johnny Sutton, a Bush appointee who prosecuted the case. The law needed to be modified because the agents carry weapons for their jobs, and the so-called law applies to civilians who simply are armed.


The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight is looking into the prosecution, the veracity of Davila, the timeline of Davila’s actions, and any influence that the Mexican government may have exerted in case, which is alleged to have been substantial. An invitation to appear before the subcommittee has been sent to Sutton as well.


California Republican US representative Dana Rohrabacher said he has been stonewalled in seeking information on the case, and about whether Davila had used his border crossing card to deliver yet another load of marijuana into the US either before or after he came into the US to have surgery on his wound under the auspices of the prosecution’s immunity deal.


“We’ve been stonewalled unbelievably,” said Rohrabacher.


Rohrabacher’s office says that the information on the case is being denied because the release would need to be signed by Davila himself.


“We want to find out what type of access he had to the country, and was it unfettered access, why would our government grant him such a privilege and also, because of the second drug bust, the relationship between that second drug bust and the dates he was supposed to have surgery in Texas,” said a statement from Rohrabacher.


The border has become much more violent in recent years not just over illegal aliens, but over heavily-armed drug smugglers, often causing great fear among US agents. This is said to have been one of the main factors leading Ramos and Compean to have been more willing to resort to their weapons in a fast-moving incident like this one was.


The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has affirmed Ramos’ and Compean’s convictions and the pair remain in jail.


Said Rohrabacher: “The court has sided with prosecutors who threw the book at the good guys, and the good guys have lost this round.”


Ramos and Campean are being held in solitary confinement in Phoenix. Ramos was serving his sentence in Yazoo City, Mississippi but was severely beaten by illegal aliens after his case appeared on the television show America’s Most Wanted which was seen inside the prison.


Rohrabacher and Duncan Hunter, also a California Republican congressman, have been seeking to have the agents moved to a minimum-security prison. They currently have none of the basic privileges of other prisoners like telephone use, daily showers and TV access.


Even Judge Grady Jolly, one of the 5th Circuit judges who denied the appeal, earlier had said that the case “got out of hand” and that “the government overreacted.” It also has been charged that the jury was under the wrong impression of what kind of agreement among jury members would be acceptable to the court.


Rohrabacher wants to know precisely what kind of immunity deal Davila had been granted and what Mexican government officials had written to American officials in the case.


Congressman Walter Jones, a Republican from North Carolina, has asked President Bush to pardon Ramos and Compean the  way he pardoned former Cheney chief of staff Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby in the Valerie Plame case. Bush has shown no interest in the Ramos/Compean case. Sutton is a friend of Bush from his days as Texas governor. Bush is said to be appeasing Mexico.


“By granting immunity and free health care to an illegal alien drug trafficker and allowing our law enforcement officers to languish in prison – our government has told its citizens, and the world, that it does not care about protecting our borders or enforcing our laws,” Jones wrote to Bush.


Many public officials and private groups are joining forces to seek to have Ramos and Compean released.


*In another incident, illegal immigrants are suing the US government over the actions of Edwards (Texas) deputy Gilmer Hernandez who shot into an SUV carrying illegals who had fled him on April 14, 2005 after running a red light in the town of Rock Springs, Texas. One of the bullets shattered the teeth of a female in the van. Hernandez was originally cleared, but the Mexican government pressured Sutton to try that case. It was reopened and Hernandez was jailed for 266 days.   County


*In a separate case, the state of Texas executed Mexican national Jose Medellin on August 5, 2008 for the rape and murder in 1993 of two teenage girls in Houston. The US Supreme court denied Medellin’s request for a reprieve on a 5-4 vote.


The case received international attention when 33-year old Medellin claimed he was not allowed to talk with the Mexican consulate after his arrest, although Texas officials said he did not ask for such consultation until after he was convicted of capital murder.


Medellin’s attorneys said their client did not receive the protections of the Vienna Convention which would have required his access to the Mexican consul.


Said Sandra Babcock, Medellin’s lawyer, this case “is about ordinary Americans who count on the protection of the consulate when they travel abroad to strange lands. It’s about the reputation of the United States as a nation that adheres to the rule of law.”


Medellin had lived in Houston from the age of 3 but never became an American citizen. After the gang rape, beating and strangling to death of the two girls, he bragged about it to friends.


Even the International Court of Justice in Europe had stated that Medellin and other Mexican nationals on death row in the US should have new hearings in American courts to determine if the Vienna Convention was obeyed without regard for the statements from Texas officials that Medellin indeed did have access.


The reason the International Court got involved is because the nation of Mexico had sued in the Court on behalf of 50 of its citizens on death row in the US, causing the court to attempt to intervene in American law.


*In another case, an illegal immigrant from Honduras, Heliberto Chi, was executed August 7, 2008 for a 2001 robbery-murder in Dallas.


Chi’s lawyer, Terry O’Rourke, knew well that his client was guilty. “Chi is a murderer. Medellin is a murderer. But we don’t kill all murderers. We don’t execute all murderers. We do it according to law.”


Chi was not among the foreign nationals covered by the International Court’s appeal for new hearings; those covered by that particular appeal all are Mexican.


Chi’s lawyers said that their client was covered by a US-Honduras Bilateral Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights and that the treaty incorporated international law into American law.


They asked the Supreme Court to review Chi’s death sentence but were rebuffed 5-4.


Chi told an Associated Press interview, “My situation is not about being innocent or guilty. My rights were violated.”


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