10 Congressmen Urge Clemency For Agents
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., today called on U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton to support a commutation in sentence for imprisoned Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. "Mr. Sutton, we are asking you to look into your heart as a prosecutor and advise the president to commute the sentences of Ramos and Compean so they will not spend the next 10 years in solitary confinement," Rohrabacher said. "As Johnny Sutton said in his own words, this punishment is excessive," he continued. "Millions of Americans, members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats have spoken. The time is short, Mr. Sutton. Time is short, Mr. President. Let's right the wrong." Sutton is the El Paso-based U.S. attorney whose office undertook the prosecution of Ramos and Compean. Ramos and Compean remain in federal prison serving 11- and 12- years respectively for a 2005 incident in which they fired on a drug smuggler as he fled back into Mexico after bringing 750 pounds of marijuana into the U.S. near Fabens, Texas. Rohrabacher's office released a list of Sutton's statements which suggested the punishment of Ramos and Compean was unnecessarily harsh. "It becomes a debate about punishment," Sutton said on the CNN Headline News Glenn Beck Program May 18, 2007. "I have a lot of sympathy for those who say, look, punishment is too high, you know, 10 years. I agree."Sutton told CNN's Lou Dobbs July 17, 2007, "The only issue, really, is punishment. That's what sticks in people's craw. It's a lot of time. And I've said that. I've said that often." Yet Sutton charged Ramos and Compean under U.S. Code Section 924(c), which caries a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for the discharge of a firearm during the commission of a crime. The 10-year mandatory minimum gun statute had never before been used against law enforcement officers who argued they were merely carrying out their official duties. So far, 152 members of the House of Representatives, including both Democrats and Republicans, have signed onto various resolutions in support of either a full pardon or a commutation of sentence for Ramos and Compean. President Bush said, "I am not talking pardons," when asked about Ramos and Compean in one of his final press interviews as president. At his Wednesday press conference, Rohrabacher was joined by Reps. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass.; Ed Royce, R-Calif.; Brian Bilbray, R-Calif.; Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.; Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Michael McCaul, R-Texas; Steve King, R-Iowa; Dan Burton, R-Ind.; and Walter Jones, R-N.C..