Monday, December 03, 2007

Ex-border agents' case back in court

Well, isn't this some promising news...

From The Houston Chronicle:
Attorneys for the former agents are pushing for a new trial, arguing the agents acted in self-defense, according to briefs filed with the appeals court. They also contend that Ramos and Compean were improperly charged with discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, which carries a mandatory sentence of 10 years. Bob Baskett, Compean's attorney, said that statute should not be applied to law enforcement officers acting in the line of duty.

According to the defense arguments, the federal judge in El Paso erred by allowing Aldrete to invoke the Fifth Amendment on the witness stand, Baskett said, and by not allowing them to question him more extensively about evidence of additional smuggling attempts.

"It basically came down to (Aldrete's) word against theirs, and if he's shown to be a lying dope dealer, that might have influenced the way the jury saw the evidence," Baskett said.

Loya, Ramos' father-in-law, said the agents were "Nifonged," a reference to Mike Nifong, the former Durham County (N.C.) District Attorney who resigned because of misconduct in the 2006 Duke University lacrosse case. Loya said Sutton's office should not have offered Aldrete immunity in exchange for his testimony.

"How could the U.S. Attorney ... take the word of an admitted illegal alien criminal drug smuggler over two agents with 15 years of experience who have been involved in over 100 drug busts and never hurt anybody?" he said. "It doesn't make sense."

Shana Jones, a spokeswoman for Sutton, said prosecutors were refraining from comment on the case because of the upcoming appeal. David Botsford, Ramos' attorney, declined to comment on specifics of the appeal, instead referring to court documents.

In testimony before Congress earlier this year, Sutton defended his decision to prosecute: "An honest reading of the facts of this case shows that Compean and Ramos deliberately shot at an unarmed man in the back without justification, destroyed evidence to cover it up and lied about it. A jury heard the facts and voted to convict." [snip...]

Supporters of the former agents said they were encouraged by fresh developments in the case, including the recent arrest of Aldrete. He was indicted in October and arrested Nov. 15 on marijuana smuggling charges.

The charges stem from smuggling attempts in 2005 — before Aldrete testified as a key witness at the agents' trial.

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, said Aldrete's indictment should help Ramos and Compean's appeal. It shows "the U.S. attorney knew all along that Aldrete was a drug dealer and not some poor mule trying to get money for his sick mother in Mexico, which is what they presented to the jury in the trial," he said. "He was a bigger player than that and the jury should have known about that. And the reason they should have known about that was because the entire case was based upon Aldrete's testimony."

In a statement released after Aldrete's arrest, Sutton said new evidence led to Aldrete's indictment and that his office had been working closely with the Drug Enforcement Administration to secure charges.

"Just as Aldrete's alleged illegal conduct did not excuse the crimes committed by Compean and Ramos, likewise, their crimes will not excuse his," Sutton said in the statement. "Compean and Ramos had their day in court and received justice in accordance with well-established laws." [snip..]

The Ramos and Compean case has struck a nerve politically and has been championed by mainly Republican members of Congress and presidential candidates. The White House has been under pressure to issue pardons for the two former agents, amid reports that grassroots groups had gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures of support.

In July, the House approved an unusual amendment by Poe designed to free the duo by barring the Bureau of Prisons from using federal funds to incarcerate them. The move was unprecedented in the House but ultimately symbolic because it would require approval of the Senate and President Bush.

"Opposition to immigration is probably higher in this country now than it has been at any time since the 1920s," said Rogers Smith, a political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania who studies immigration and related issues. "So that's a political climate in which appearing to work against tough border enforcement will be unpopular, and political leaders will therefore have an incentive to criticize it."

Loya said the case is not about illegal immigration. "It's about a travesty of justice," he said. "I pray that now we would at least get a retrial.

"I will fight this forever," Loya said.
I hope and pray that they win this appeal. This case and many others make me sick. Instead of getting tough on illegal aliens, our justice dept has been putting law enforcement officers behind bars! EL Presidente Bush does not want our borders locked down and our immigration laws enforced. He has sent a clear message to border patrol officers to stand down.

  • Secure the border by any means necessary. This includes the Military.

  • Stiff penalties for employers, which are actually enforced.

  • No taxpayer funded programs for illegals or their families. (including school for children of illegals and non-emergency medical care for any illegal)

  • No "Anchor Babies" (no automatic citizenship for children of illegals born in the US)

  • No path to Citizenship in any name or form for those here illegally.

  • No Guest worker program until the above measures are put in place and the need can be PROVEN

  • English only education and the official language of the USA

Previous related posts:
Agents: No confidence in border chief and Illegal Aliens Get Tax Refunds!
Dope dealer in Ramos-Compean case cops guilty plea
Late Update: Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos viciously assaulted in prison by five illegal aliens
Groups Support Border Patrol Agents Who Shot Smuggler
Texas deputy to pay price for defending self

**This was a production of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration (CAII). If you would like to participate, please go to the above link to learn more. Afterwards, email brianbonner90-at-gmail-dot-com and let us know at what level you would like to participate.

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