Bush Eyes Pardon for Border Patrolmen
Thursday, Jan. 18, 2007 8:41 p.m. EST
President Bush on Thursday said a pardon was possible for two Border Patrol agents serving prison sentences for shooting a Mexican drug dealer as he fled and then covering up the crime.
“There’s a process for pardons,” Bush said, adding the case has to work its way through the system. In an interview with KFOX-TV in El Paso, Bush urged people to “take a sober look at the case.”
“People need to take a tough look at the facts, the evidence a jury looked at, as well as the judge. And I will do the same thing,” he said.
Several lawmakers have urged the president to pardon former Border Patrol agents Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos for the shooting of Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, who retreated to Mexico after he was shot and later admitted he was transporting marijuana while in the country illegally.
The agents began serving their federal prison sentences Wednesday — 11 years and one day for Ramos and 12 years for Compean. Both were fired after their convictions on several charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, obstruction of justice and a civil rights violation.
Rancor over the convictions and sentencing of the agents has been simmering for months, and the two have become a cause celebre among conservatives and on talk shows. Their supporters have said they were defending themselves and have called them heroes.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., introduced a bill Thursday calling for a congressional pardon of the agents. Congress has never issued pardons to anyone convicted of a crime, said Joe Kasper, Hunter’s spokesman. But Kasper said Hunter believes there’s enough ambiguity in the law on pardons to give it a try.