How did the prosecution go from an administrative violation for failing to report a firearm discharge, with the penalty of perhaps a five-day suspension, to prosecution for intent to commit murder?
After the trial, two jurors gave sworn statements that they had been pressured to render a guilty verdict and did not understand that a hung jury was possible. A major argument used by the prosecution during the trial was that our government has a policy forbidding agents from chasing suspected drug smugglers without first getting permission from supervisors. That sounds like a no-arrest policy. By the time an agent gets permission, a smuggler can be out of sight and safely back over the border.
There were a couple of factual discrepancies between the smuggler's story and the agents' testimony, but the government chose to believe the drug smuggler rather than Border Patrol agents with clean records. Ramos was nominated for Border Patrol Agent of the year in 2005, and Compean served honorably in the Navy before joining the Border Patrol.
The Bush administration tidied up Aldrete's wound at a U.S. hospital at our expense and opened the way for him to sue the U.S. government for $5 million for violating his civil rights, which he is now doing.
This case exposes the misplaced priorities of the Bush administration. The case also reminds us that our Border Patrol agents are in daily danger from hardened criminals.
The Department of Homeland Security issued this Officer Safety Alert on Dec. 21, 2005: "Unidentified Mexican alien smugglers ... have agreed that the best way to deal with U.S. Border Patrol agents is to hire a group of contract killers." The alert cautions that to perform the killings, the smugglers intend to use the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) street gang, known for its unspeakable atrocities and torture.
T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council. said: "There is a palpable sense of outrage and betrayal. Here, you have five convicted drug dealers being pardoned, and two Border Patrol agents, who were doing their job, fighting the war on drugs on the front lines, and they're going to prison." This case is a test of George Bush's character, compassion, and concern for drugs coming across our border. He can't duck responsibility: the prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, and the judge, Kathleen Cardone, are both Bush appointees.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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