Too Little, and Almost Too Late

But he did the right thing. Thank you, President Bush, for commuting the sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. I would have preferred a full pardon, but at least commuting the sentences will bring them home to their families. They have served enough time and suffered enough for their "crime". I pray that they may find jobs quickly and resume normal lives with their families (as normal as possible after you've been screwed over by your own government).

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Possibly the only time George W. Bush has agreed with Dianne Feinstein....

I actually think the commutation gets it about right, though it should have come sooner. The coverup was way out of line and deserves some punishment, but the sentences were far too long.

Rick said...

could someone recap the deal with these guys, since I don't get Fox news over here?

Stephanie said...

I don't get Fox news either. Fortunately, there's foxnews.com!

But, conservatives aren't the only ones who wanted Ramos and Compean pardoned. Lots of liberals and Democrats called for his pardon as well. Here is a recap from a liberal paper.

Scott said...

Maybe one of you can help me understand why the two agents should have gotten off here, because I've never understood it at all. The way I see it (please tell me where I'm off, as I've only paid minor attention to the case and am going off memory):

1. The fact that the guy was a scum bag or drug dealer is irrelevant, because a) pieces of trash are entitled to the same protections as non-pieces of trash and b) the agents didn't know he was the piece of trash he is until after the fact.

If the drug dealer had turned out to be a nice guy with two kids in the suburbs, would you have been calling for a pardon? Why is a law any less broken when ex post evidence shows that the perpetrator was a criminal?

Obviously, the President did what he has the authority to do--Fine by me. But I need someone to explain to me why the moral/legal standing of a person should have any effect whatsoever on what laws a law enforcement official is subject to.

Can you help me here?

Stephanie said...

Scott, do you really think they thought he was anything but an armed drug dealer when they shot him? I thank God I (nor my husband) am not a border patrol agent having to deal with that kind of scum. They were doing their job. I agree that they didn't do it perfectly and are guilty of something (covering up evidence), but this was too much. I think that reprimand within their own department would have been appropriate.

Stephanie said...

I guess I prefer latitude for those people putting their lives on the line to protect our country. I think their discipline should have been handled internally, and the government should not have treated them as criminals.

Scott said...

Stephanie--

Thanks for your answers. I think we're talking past each other here, so let me respond directly to your response, and hopefully we can understand each others view here.

"...do you really think they thought he was anything but an armed drug dealer when they shot him?"

I think it's legally irrelevant what they "thought he was." I also think it's legally (and morally) irrelevant who he ACTUALLY was, because the law binds all people equally. If what an officer "thinks" about a potential arrestable person is all that matters, then what recourse protection from police brutality (and it does exist, I'm sorry to say) have?

Police officers have a tremendous amount of power--as such, they need to have checks on that power. "Thinking he's a bad guy" is simply not sufficient evidence. There are legal procedures ALL officers are to abide by. These officers did not abide by any of those.

They may well be defending our country against something (I disagree on that point, too, but that's a topic for another day), but that is no license to kill or decide what laws to follow and what to ignore. The very fact that they hid the facts demonstrates that they KNEW what they did was wrong.

I love freedom far too much to simply give the guys with the guns carte blanche in deciding who the bad guys are.

"I think their discipline should have been handled internally..."

No discipline would have been given internally, because they were heroes to their peers. They would have been slapped on their hands and sent out to do the same thing again.

Like it or not, freedom is not compatible with a "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality.

Stephanie said...

Scott, I can see your point, but I still think that Sutton went after them with a vengeance, and the judgement was too severe. I don't think Ramos and Compean should have done any jail time. Maybe at this point a commutation is the most appropriate choice, but I would have preferred a pardon as a statement about the prosecution.

They may well be defending our country against something (I disagree on that point, too, but that's a topic for another day)

I'm intrigued by what you mean by this. You don't think the Border Patrol is defending our country against anything? Have you read the stories coming out of border towns?

Scott said...

Stephanie--

You may be right about the DA. However, I don't have time to decide which cases DA's pursue with too much energy. I know that in general, they all have politically motivated biases. Sutton may have a fixation on border guards. Another DA is obsessed with stamping out mail fraud. I don't know, and I don't have time to decide. What I do know, is that Ramos and Compean broke the law and then tried to cover it up. Crimes against law enforcement agents carry stricter penalties; so should crimes BY law enforcement agents, as they carry clear authority and power, and nearly always know more about how the law--and how to get around it--than anyone else. There is no greater hero than a policeman doing his duty. There is no bigger piece of trash than a policeman abusing his power.

I don't understand how a person can shoot a man in violation of police protocol, impede a federal investigation and somehow not deserve jail time. The fact that the crime was committed by those who are supposed to stop crime makes this all the worse.

"I'm intrigued by what you mean by this."

Responding there would be a major threadjack, so I'll decline in the interest of staying on topic. Some other time.

Quimby said...

Intersting. So, have an abortion, and you're a murderer. Kill an adult, and you should be pardoned because, hey, no crime done. And that's logical how, exactly?

Stephanie said...

Quimby, one of the border patrol agents shot wildly and didn't think he even hit the guy. He ended up hitting him in the butt, and the guy ran away - he testified against them in court.

Quimby said...

You are still missing the big picture here:

Destroying a few cells = murder
Destroying a human being = What's the big deal, why are they even in jail?

DH always says Americans have a lousy sense of irony (and uses the Alanis Morisette song as an example, since none of that is ironic) and I'm starting to think he's got a point . . .

Stephanie said...

Quimby, they didn't destroy a human life, so I am not sure where you are getting the argument, "Destroying a human being = What's the big deal, why are they even in jail?"

Quimby said...

Sorry, I thought they'd actually killed the man.

Even so, assault with a deadly weapon - surely it deserves some sort of jail term. Particularly if they are law enforcement officers. (Locksmiths have tougher sentences for burglarly, after all.)