Former Border Patrol Agents prison sentences commutedPosted: Updated:
In his final act of clemency President Bush commuted the prison sentences of two agent's whose cause was championed by conservatives across the country. Critics argued the sentences were too harsh for men they called "heroes." The agents were convicted of shooting a drug smuggler in the buttocks as he fled and then trying to hide the evidence.
The case became a flashpoint in the angry debate over illegal immigration. Conservative radio and cable tv shows argued the men were simply doing their jobs when they shot the suspect. The injured man who fled back into Mexico was later convicted himself on drug smuggling charges. The border agents said they acted in self defense. Prosecutors said they were not above the law and proved the agents tampered with evidence by picking up spent shell casings and failed to report the shooting.
Compean and Ramos were sentenced to 12 and 11 years in prison, respectively.
Their weary relatives were tearful when they heard the news. "It's been an absolute nightmare. It's quite a relief," said Joe Loya, Ramos' Father-in-law. "My daughter and I have been all over the nation for three years, actually since we began traveling by invitation to speak about the case," explained Mr. Loya. They've cris-crossed the country to speak to various groups concerned about border security and illegal immigration.
Though he ended their time behind bars, President Bush did not pardon the men which means each will have to comply with 3 years of supervised release and pay $2000 in fines. And they are still convicted felons which means the former agents who once stood guard at the border can no longer carry a gun.