A bi-partisan resolution is being introduced into the House of Representatives calling on President Bush to commute immediately the sentences of Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, so they can be home with their families by Christmas.
Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass., the sponsor of the resolution, is being joined by Rep. Silverstre Reyes, D-Texas, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., as co-sponsors.
Ramos and Compean are serving 11- and 12-year sentences, respectively, for shooting at fleeing drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila in an incident on the Texas border with Mexico on Feb. 17, 2005.
Currently, Ramos and Compean are in concrete-slab solitary confinement in maximum security federal prisons.
This resolution marks the first time Democrats and Republicans in the House have succeeded in bringing together a bi-partisan coalition supporting Ramos and Compean.
“It is clear that the momentum of public opinion has dramatically shifted in favor of wrongly imprisoned Border Agents Ramos and Compean,” said Rohrabacher in a press release issued by his Washington office at the close of business.
“This obvious miscarriage of justice has always cried out for the attention of elected officials on both sides of the aisle and it’s gratifying to see there’s a new wave of bi-partisan support for Ramos and Compean,” Rohrabacher continued.
“I’m proud to join Bill Delahunt in introducing this resolution,” Rohrabacher affirmed, “and I praise him for having the courage to move forward with an effort to bring these officers home to their families in time for Christmas.”
As WND has reported, the three judges hearing the Ramos and Compean appeal for the 5th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Monday were harshly critical of the prosecution in their questions and comments from the bench.
Remarkably, the U.S. government admitted in federal court that the prosecution’s star witness in the criminal trial of Ramos and Compean – confessed drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila – lied under oath.
“He told some lies,” March Stelmach, the assistant U.S. attorney representing U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton admitted under questioning by the three-judge panel.
The three-judge appeals panel also questioned the government closely about the appropriateness of prosecuting Ramos and Compean under 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c), a law passed to require an additional 10-year minimum prison sentence if felons in the act of committing crimes such as rape or burglary carry a weapon.
Judge E. Grady Jolly commented the “government overreacted” in applying 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c) to Ramos and Compean.
“It’s outrageous,” said Delahunt, himself a former prosecutor with decades of experience, “that these men should be serving more time than killers and rapists.”
“Ramos and Compean were law enforcement officers,” Delahunt continued. “Of course, they carry firearms. To hit them with a gun charge carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years is harsh and unnecessary.”
Delahunt compared the treatment Ramos and Compean have received to that of Vice President Cheney’s former Chief of Staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.
Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison for lying to the special prosecutor in the investigation of a leak of the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame.
In July, President Bush commuted Libby’s sentence, after a federal appeals court had denied Libby’s petition to remain free while he appealed his conviction, sparing Libby from having to serve any prison time.
“The solution is clear,” Delahunt said, defying the Bush administration not to apply a double-standard in the administration of justice. “President Bush should immediately commute the sentences of Ramos and Compean to time served.”
The resolution compared Ramos and Compean’s sentences of 11- and 12-years to average sentences as reported by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
In 2006, the latest year for which statistics are available, the average sentences in federal cases of sexual abuse averaged eight and one-third years; four years for manslaughter; three years for federal cases of manslaughter; three years for aggravated assault; and three years for federal cases involving firearms charges.
The language of the House resolution noted that prosecutor Sutton, referring to the sentences received by Ramos and Compean, said, “Some say it’s just too much time, and I have sympathy for that.”
The resolution also noted Aldrete-Davila was reported in a press account to have stated that he thought the sentences were excessive.
Ramos and Compean’s petitions to remain free on bond while they appeal their sentences were denied.
Ramos and Compean have been imprisoned since Jan. 17, awaiting appeal.