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Snow says question on agents' prison time 'nonsensical'

Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 10/24/2006 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled


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White House spokesman Tony Snow

Asking whether two U.S. Border Patrol agents sentenced to prison for shooting a drug-smuggling suspect in the buttocks is “nonsensical,” according to a White House spokesman, even if it is something of high interest among WND readers.

Yesterday Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, asked Bush spokesman Tony Snow whether Bush would use his power of pardon to free the agents.

“That’s an unanswerable question, Les. The president is the person who is responsible for pardons. You can tell the network, which made you ask that question, that it is nonsensical,” Snow said.

The question referenced the terms of 11 years and 12 years handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso, Texas, last week. She gave Jose Alonso Compean 12 years in prison and Ignacio Ramos 11 years and one day despite a plea by their attorney for a new trial after three jurors said they were coerced into voting guilty in the case, the Washington Times reported.

As WND has reported, a federal jury convicted Compean, 28, and Ramos, 37, in March after a two-week trial on charges of causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and a civil rights violation.

Ramos is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve and a former nominee for Border Patrol Agent of the Year.

WND readers have been asking the same question posed to Snow. On a newly-created WND Forums site, which was set up to allow reader input to the WND website, and even to the president, several readers wondered about the situation.

“You should give the both of them a full pardon and inform the judges that they have no [jurisdiction] over the invasion of this country,” wrote cliffhanger. “Also why have you not closed the [border]?”

Keith Lehman also weighed in.

“The rules of engagement should apply. Whether the officer only perceived to see (sic) a weapon, the fleeing criminal had attacked one officer and the other thought that his partner was injured by the fleeing criminal. And as far as the ‘victim’ criminal: When you break the law, you are subject to whatever comes your way – especially when attacking a law enforcement officer,” he said.

“The Border Patrol agents convicted need a pardon yesterday. They then should be returned to their duty, if they so desire, and be reinstated with their record wiped clean and receive all back pay lost to them during this fiasco they call justice.”

Drummerboy simply said the question needs to be answered: will there be a pardon? “Good question, drummerboy,” said squidly.

Ramos, last Feb. 17, responded to a request for back up from Compean, who noticed a suspicious van near the levee road along the Rio Grande River near the Texas town of Fabens, about 40 miles east of El Paso. A third agent also joined the pursuit.

Fleeing was an illegal alien, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila of Mexico. Unknown to the growing number of Border Patrol agents converging on Fabens, Aldrete-Davila’s van was carrying 800 pounds of marijuana.

Aldrete-Davila stopped the van on a levee, jumped out and started running toward the river. When he reached the other side of the levee, he was met by Compean who had anticipated the smuggler’s attempt to get back to Mexico.

“We both yelled out for him to stop, but he wouldn’t stop, and he just kept running,” Ramos told California’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

“At some point during the time where I’m crossing the canal, I hear shots being fired,” Ramos said. “Later, I see Compean on the ground, but I keep running after the smuggler.”

At that point, Ramos said, Aldrete-Davila turned toward him, pointing what looked like a gun.

“I shot,” Ramos said. “But I didn’t think he was hit, because he kept running into the brush and then disappeared into it. Later, we all watched as he jumped into a van waiting for him. He seemed fine. It didn’t look like he had been hit at all.”

In a move that still confuses Ramos and Compean, the U.S. government filed charges against them after giving full immunity to Aldrete-Davila and paying for his medical treatment at an El Paso hospital.

“This is the greatest miscarriage of justice I have ever seen,” said Andy Ramirez of the nonprofit group Friends of the Border Patrol. “This drug smuggler has fully contributed to the destruction of two brave agents and their families and has sent a very loud message to the other Border Patrol agents: If you confront a smuggler, this is what will happen to you.”

Kinsolving also asked Snow about the situation in the race for the Ohio governor’s office, in which the Cincinnati Enquirer reported an Ohio state Republican spokesman said that Democratic Congressman Ted Strickland should have known a man arrested for exposing himself to children was on his congressional payroll.

“Does the president believe it was wrong for this Republican state spokesman to bring up what most of the national media is refusing to report, even as they so repeatedly report the case of Congressman Foley?” Snow was asked.

“I’m just going to refer that one back to the Ohio Republican Party,” Snow said.


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