The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has upheld the controversial sentences of former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean for the shooting of an unarmed illegal immigrant and admitted drug smuggler — and then lying about the incident. While the court vacated the convictions on tampering with an official proceeding, it left the rest of the case intact — upholding the lengthy sentences for both men.
Ramos and Compean were convicted in 2006 and sentenced to 11 and 12 years in prison, respectively, for the February 2005 shooting of Osvaldo Aldrete Davila at the border near El Paso.
In a significant win for the Justice Department, the court held that “the trial of the case was conducted fairly and without reversible error.” The Court noted that its reversal of part of the cases would not be a source of celebration: “However, this may not be of much moment to Ramos and Compean because we leave the major conviction with the major sentence … untouched.” For the ruling, click here.
The case has drawn considerable criticism publicly and various politicians have rallied to the side of the agents. The ruling is likely to increase calls for a pardon from President Bush. The final months of a presidency are viewed as the most promising time for pardons to be issued, particularly from President Bush who has been one of the least generous presidents in history in the use of presidential pardons.
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