That’s right. I’m showing love for Senator Dianne Feinstein. It’s the first and probably last time for the Democratic senator but she should be commended for trying to free Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. In the wake of Scooter Libby’s commuted sentence, President Bush really has no choice in the matter:
WASHINGTON — Sens. John Cornyn and Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday joined the ranks of lawmakers urging President Bush to release two Border Patrol agents sentenced to more than a decade in prison each for wounding a Mexican drug courier.
A group of Republican House members also has called on Bush to commute the sentences or pardon Compean and Ramos, echoing the demands of predominantly conservative grassroots advocacy organizations that are rallying behind the two agents. Pressure for the agents’ release escalated after Bush commuted the sentence of convicted former vice presidential aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.
Ramos and Compean were sentenced to 11 and 12 years in prison respectively after they were convicted on more than a half-dozen charges in the shooting of Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila on Feb. 17, 2005. Aldrete-Davila was shot in the buttocks as he fled from the agents after abandoning a van loaded with marijuana. He escaped across the border but later re-emerged as the key witness against the two agents.
Feinstein and Cornyn challenged the prosecutor’s decision to include a firearms charge that mandated a 10-year minimum sentence. The firearms offense was unnecessary, the senators said in their letter to Bush, since prosecutors lodged 12 charges against the agents, some of which were dropped by the jury.
It is without question that the two agents screwed up by failing to report the shooting, but that’s not why they’re doing more time in prison than most child sex offenders. The prosecutor nailed them on gun crimes that carry mandatory sentences.
Border Patrol agents are required to carry firearms due to the nature of their jobs. In this case the two agents used them when they thought it was necessary because they thought the drug runner had a weapon of his own. They may be guilty of violating policy, but they certainly shouldn’t be put on par with felons who wantonly use firearms to commit violent crimes, and that’s exactly what the prosecutor has done.