Debra J. Saunders

Another issue: The feds' decision to charge the agents for committing a crime with a firearm -- a 924(c) violation -- meant a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence on that one charge alone. Hence the very harsh sentences for men who served their country in the military and at the border.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., a former U.S. attorney, observed that the federal firearms law "is designed to deal with criminals who carry firearms in the commission of felonies and crimes of violence." Whereas, "These officers came to work with no criminal intent, no mindset to commit any crime."

Asked Wednesday whether Bush will grant clemency, White House spokesman Tony Snow explained that the Libby commutation is special because there are disputes in legal circles about Libby's sentence. Well, there are disputes as to whether the federal firearms charge should have been used against law enforcement officers who are required to carry guns to do their jobs and did not premeditate shooting a fleeing drug smuggler.

Snow also noted that the Libby pardon let stand the "significant punishment" of probation and a six-figure fine. Try this for "significant punishment": Ramos and Compean have spent six months in prison -- that's no picnic in that they are serving time among the very types of criminals they once helped put away.

In February, Latino gang members attacked Ramos in Yazoo City Federal Correctional Complex in Mississippi. Since then, officials have had to put both men -- Compean is in a different prison -- in solitary confinement for their protection.

If Ramos and Compean were crooked agents, they would deserve hard time. But at worst, they fired their guns in the heat of pursuit, when they should not have.

If Bush wants to show Americans that he stands for true justice -- and not justice for his inner circle only -- he should set Ramos and Compean free.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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