Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean this morning.
After serving two years in federal prison in solitary confinement for shooting a fleeing Mexican drug smuggler who had brought 750 pounds of marijuana into the U.S., Ramos and Compean were released from prison a month ago, with home confinement until March 20 ordered by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The former agents still carry the felony conviction, although President Bush commuted their sentences on the last full day of his presidency.
As WND reported, Ramos’ attorney, David Botsworth, said a petition for writ of certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court and docketed Dec. 11.
“Of course, it’s not a ruling on the merits and expresses no opinion on the underlying issues,” Botsford told WND. “Statistically, it is very difficult to get into the Supreme Court. But we’ll be going back into federal district court down the road on a motion to vacate and raising a host of issues. So it certainly is not over.”
The Supreme Court’s denial of the writ of certiorari is only a conclusion of the direct appeal, he said. The second step is called a writ of habeas corpus, or a motion to vacate, which addresses issues that are not reflected in the direct appeal.
Asked if Ramos and Compean might still have a chance of dismissing the felony convictions, Botsford said, “If a motion to vacate were granted, it would set aside the counts of conviction on some, if not all, of them and remand them back for a new trial. So, yes, there is that possibility, and that’s what we’ll be fighting for. There’s a lot of investigation that still needs to be done. It’s definitely not over.”
Compean told talk show host Glenn Beck the court case needed to be resolved before he would really feel free.
The Ramos and Compean families have not responded to WND’s requests for comment yet. Botsford said he contacted them by e-mail this morning and is not certain whether they have heard the outcome.
As WND reported earlier, Compean’s wife, Patty, has asked for continued support in the quest to clear the agents’ convictions.
“It’s not over. We want to get their names cleared,” she said. “We would appreciate it if you guys would be with us on this journey.”