Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Let's Spring These Guys

A federal Appeals Court judge has stated that federal prosecutors may have over reacted when they sought prison terms for two Border Patrol officers who shot a drug dealing messican in the ass.

NEW ORLEANS — Federal prosecutors may have overreacted in their case against two Border Patrol agents who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms after jurors convicted them of shooting a fleeing drug suspect and hiding evidence of the incident, an appeals court judge said Monday.

Judge E. Grady Jolly, one of three judges from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing the case of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, questioned whether the two agents would have been charged if they had reported the shooting.

This is certainly good news. By golly Judge Jolly ain't Judge Judy, but he sounds like he may be saying, "Don't piss on my shoes and tell me it's raining." It has been said that you can indict a ham sandwich, but the logic behind arresting two men for non-reporting an incident and sentencing them to 10 years in prison escapes me. Especially if they were justified in using deadly physical force in the first place.

"For some reason, this one got out of hand, it seems to me," Jolly said of the agents' prosecution.

It would appear that it escaped Hizzoner Jolly also.

A federal jury in Texas convicted Ramos and Compean of assault, obstruction of justice and civil rights violations in the wounding of Osvaldo Aldrete Davila on the Texas border near El Paso in 2005. A federal judge sentenced Compean to 12 years in prison and Ramos to 11 years.

The agents' attorneys are asking the 5th Circuit to throw out the convictions. The judges didn't indicate when they will rule on the appeals.

"It does seem to me like the government overreacted here," Jolly said, noting the severity of the charges and the lengthy sentences prosecutors sought, as he questioned Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Stelmach..

This case really gets my ass all cranked up because the US Attorney gave the mule a Get Out of Jail Free card for testifying against the agents and then the mule gets arrested AGAIN smuggling a thousand pounds of reefer. This time he is using a car the US Attorney gave him so he can get to court from his home across the border. I wonder how much weed he stuffed into that car and brought into the US before he finally got caught.

In exchange for his testimony against the agents, Aldrete was given immunity from prosecution for allegedly trying to smuggle drugs the day he was shot. Jurors didn't hear evidence that Aldrete allegedly smuggled marijuana in the United States several months after the shooting.

Botsford said Judge Kathleen Cardone, who presided over the trial in El Paso, Tex., should have allowed jurors to hear evidence that Aldrete was "not a (drug) mule, a simple one-time (border) crosser."

"He basically left a false impression for that jury," Botsford said of Aldrete.
Judge Patrick Higginbotham, who heard the appeal with Jolly and Judge Edward Prado, said evidence that Aldrete made multiple attempts to smuggle drugs across the border "strikes me as very relevant."

Stelmach acknowledged that Aldrete told "some lies" to investigators, but he said jurors rejected the agents' argument that they acted in self-defense when they shot at Aldrete.

I can see the BP guys getting fired or demoted/suspended/reamed etc. for their actions - and they should be. But 10 years or more in the slammer for shooting a major dope runner? This dirtbag got caught with nearly a ton of weed so far and they want to give him a break???

Aldrete was arrested last month following an October indictment on various drug charges. Mebbe someone else should be prosecuting this.

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