Border Patrol Agent David Sipe scored another victory in his effort to prevent the U.S. Border Patrol from blocking his reinstatement with back pay to 2001.
A top-level panel of three U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board administrative law judges, including Chairman Neil A. G. McPhie, rejected a government petition Friday to review the panel’s June decision in favor of Sipe.
As WND reported in June, Anna Love, an administrative judge with the Dallas Region of the Merit Systems Protection Board, ordered Sipe reinstated to his former Border Patrol position, with full back salary paid to April 21, 2001, the date the Border Patrol removed Sipe from his position and suspended his pay.
The decision Friday gave the Border Patrol 60 days to pay Sipe his back pay, interest, and benefits due.
Sipe was convicted in 2001 of criminal felony charges for striking illegal alien coyote Jose Guevara on the back of his head after Guevara struggled and resisted arrest.
Jack Lamar Wolfe, Sipe’s attorney in McAllen, Texas, told WND, “Sipe had seven years of his life taken away from him. He went bankrupt, lost his wife and his home, and has been a convicted felon for a long period of that time.”
“Sipe is a patriot, Wolfe explained to WND. “David wants back his job as a Border Patrol agent.”
Wolfe noted Sipe became an Army Ranger after graduating high school. He then got an associate’s degree before being hired by the Border Patrol.
“David believes the Border Patrol does important work,” Wolfe said “and he wants to return to his work with the Border Patrol as soon as possible.
“David has always served his country,” Wolfe told WND, “and he wants to continue to serve his country.”
Sipe was prosecuted for abusing the civil rights of a human smuggler, or coyote, in an incident in which the government defended the coyote’s civil rights.
In April 2003, the federal district court agreed with Sipe’s appeal and granted him a new trial based on assertions that federal prosecutors made misrepresentations and failed to disclose exculpatory evidence.
As in the case of Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, the coyote in Sipe’s case was caught in an additional incident of smuggling illegal aliens across the border before the trial began.
Still, the government put Guevara on the stand and allowed him to testify against Sipe, while successfully petitioning the judge to withhold from the jury evidence of Guevara’s subsequent offenses.
In October 2005, a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judge overruled the government’s appeal and affirmed the trial judge’s decision to grant the new trial.
On Jan. 26 this year, at his retrial, Sipe was acquitted after a jury reached a verdict in less than one hour.
At the new trial, Wolfe was allowed to tell the jury the witness’ criminal background. He was also permitted to introduce a co-worker’s testimony favorable to Sipe.
Wolfe also presented the jury at the retrial with photographs of the coyote re-enacting for prosecutors the arrest incident in which Guevara claimed Sipe had hit him with unnecessary force.
Another difference was that Wolfe was allowed at the retrial to present evidence about the benefits and reimbursements the prosecutors had extended to Guevara and the other illegal alien witnesses who gave testimony at Sipe’s first trial.
In Sipe’s case, the government made a “sweetheart” deal with Guevara, giving him travel expenses, witness fees, free telephone use and a border crossing permit. Guevara also received a Social Security card and a driver’s license, all in return for his testimony against Sipe.
As reported by television and radio talk show host Glen Beck, Guevara ended up with an $80,000 government settlement and he reportedly used the proceeds to buy a ranch in Mexico.
The Border Patrol has 60 days to appeal the Nov. 30 order of the Merit Systems Protection Board to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
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