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Bush Commutes Border Agents' Sentences

As his last act of compassion, President Bush commuted the prison sentences of Border Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean who shot an unarmed drug smuggler and then tried to cover it up. They got ten years and the right wing rallied around them. After all, it was only a drug dealer. And everybody lies. As to the latter, it's true enough in the Bush Administration.

The Court of Appeals had upheld their convictions for assault, discharge of a weapon in the commission of a crime of violence (the assault) and deprivation of civil rights.

If the border agents' 10 year sentences were too long because of mandatory minimum sentencing laws, so are everyone elses'. That's change Obama needs to bring to Congress.

As to pardon totals:

Clinton issued a total of 457 in eight years in office. Bush's father, George H. W. Bush, issued 77 in four years. Reagan issued 406 in eight years, and President Carter issued 563 in four years. Since World War II, the largest number of pardons and commutations - 2,031 - came from President Truman, who served 82 days short of eight years.

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    Last Act? (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 01:20:28 PM EST
    Let's hope so. Day's not over yet.

    Let's hope this isn't just a shiny object (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 01:43:55 PM EST
    to distract CNN while he sneaks in a few that are even worse.

    Parent
    Yeah (none / 0) (#9)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 01:49:25 PM EST
    like another pardon for Marc Rich.

    Parent
    The Mark Rich pardon (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by cal1942 on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:04:05 PM EST
    was a little more complex than you think.  There were foreign policy matters involved that were too complex for right-wingers and the media to understand.

    A stipulation was that if Rich set foot in the US he would be liable for all back taxes. Rich remains in Switzerland, he's never returned to the US.

    Anyway the pardon should never have gotten so much attention, but since CDS reigns over all other considerations braindead media and braindead right-wingers turned it into something it wasn't.

    Parent

    Yeah (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:10:13 PM EST
    uh-huh

    Too complex.... well memorizing those 14 digit Swiss Bank account numbers must have stretched Bubba's brain.

    Parent

    It must be pretty cool not to (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Radix on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:14:43 PM EST
    let anything like facts get in the way of your thought process. Also, the ability to make up anything you like, pretending it's true must be useful as well.

    Parent
    Well, I do have the (none / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:21:14 PM EST
    audacity to wonder why so many pro defense people jump to the defense of the criminal justice system. Especially after Diane Feinstein and Jeff Sessions, two strange bedfellows indeed, came together.

    Your reaction couldn't just be a knee jerk reaction to the guy shot was an illegal alien, could it?

    Sutton's decision to prosecute the agents, to file attempted murder charges against them and seek harsh mandatory prison sentences was simply an outrage. Senators Feinstein, Sessions and Cornyn took Sutton to task over what they clearly see now as a blatant abuse of prosecutorial power and strongly questioned the decision to give immunity to a known illegal alien drug smuggler. Sutton's office gave the smuggler immunity in order to prosecute the two agents who had pursued him in a high-speed chase, which ultimately resulted in the wounding of the drug dealer who had ditched his van, loaded with hundreds of pounds of drugs, and ran from the agents.

    I have maintained throughout that the prosecution of these two agents was unwarranted, that sufficient facts were in dispute that the case should never have been brought to trial. The two Border Patrol agents received excessive sentences by any reasonable standard of justice. But reason did not prevail, and the Senate Judiciary Committee has begun the process of righting this wrong.

    The agents were serving their nation in a war zone along our southern border. The fact is Mexico remains the primary corridor for drugs entering the United States. Mexico is the principal source of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines into this country. Between 70 and 90 percent of cocaine entering the United States from South America passed through mainland Mexico or its waters. Heroin brought in from Mexico accounts for about 30 percent of the U.S. market, despite Mexico's relatively small percentage of worldwide production. Mexican traffickers continued to dominate drug distribution in the United States, controlling most of the primary distribution centers. Our border with Mexico is the main battlefield in the war against drugs, and the federal government has treated Ramos and Compean with contempt rather than gratitude for their service on the front lines of that war.

    Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar Tuesday testified at the hearing that from February 1, 2005 to June 30, 2007, there were 1,982 incidents where Border Patrol agents have been assaulted. These assaults include rock throwing, physical assaults, vehicular assaults as well as shootings. In response, Border Patrol agents have responded with the use of deadly force on 116 occasions, with 144 agents discharging their weapons during these 116 incidents.

    Senator Feinstein and Senator Cornyn announced Tuesday night on our broadcast that they have decided to request that President Bush commute the sentences of Ramos and Compean. The family of Ignacio Ramos watched and listened to the senators make their announcement in our Washington, D.C., bureau, and they were moved to tears.

    Link

    Bush, like so many things in his tenure, did the right thing, but far later than he should have.

     

    Parent

    How droll to use Dobbs as a valid source! (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by wurman on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 06:32:51 PM EST
    The linked reference to a TV opinion show, as if it were a fact, is almost like the morons who use "letters to the editor" as their sources from newspapers.

    Dobbs' reference(s) to Border Patrol incidents as a group of events has not one thing to do with the specific incident at question.

    The link is laughable--as is Lou's on-going hatred of Mexicans, legal & illegal & not-really South of the Border persons who look the part & speak Spanish.

    What a joke.

    Parent

    Attackling the messnger doesn't work (none / 0) (#67)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 09:00:39 PM EST
    when I have such facts as these on my side.

    Senator Feinstein and Senator Cornyn announced Tuesday night on our broadcast that they have decided to request that President Bush commute the sentences of Ramos and Compean. The family of Ignacio Ramos watched and listened to the senators make their announcement in our Washington, D.C., bureau, and they were moved to tears.

    BTW - Please don't pretend to read the links if you are going to waste everyone's time with such claims.

    Parent

    You're the un-informed messenger. (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by wurman on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:59:23 PM EST
    But it's the quoted message that fails.

    The opinions of 3 US senators don't suddenly become facts because they mesh & agree with the whining & sniveling of a TV talking head.

    And the Lou Dobbs Comedy Hour doesn't suddenly become valid because Sessions, Feinstein, & Cornyn go on the program & peddle specific drools of drivel that seem to entertain vengeful bigots who are incapable of reading legal proceedings & factual accounts of trials & decisions.


    Parent

    You are so nice....... (none / 0) (#74)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 02:14:07 PM EST
    As if I needed another reason (none / 0) (#54)
    by allimom99 on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:09:40 PM EST
    to dislike Feinstein.

    Parent
    How do we know this man was unarmed? (none / 0) (#73)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 02:35:05 AM EST
    I've watched drugs destroy the Black community, so you will have to pardon my lack of sympathy of the drug smuggler who continued to smuggle drugs into my country and my community.  

    Parent
    Nope my response was directed at (none / 0) (#76)
    by Radix on Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 04:10:13 PM EST
    your Clinton gibberish. Got any "facts" to support your Swiss bank account nonsense?

    Parent
    LOL (none / 0) (#23)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:48:19 PM EST
    Way too complex.

    Parent
    No need (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:05:43 PM EST
    The Israeli government pressured Clinton for that pardon. They got a different parting gift from this administration.

    Parent
    The cash donation (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:35:10 PM EST
    from Mrs. Rich didn't help at all?  

    Parent
    Unlikely (none / 0) (#42)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:38:12 PM EST
    Rich's work for the US was worth much more than his wife coughed up. Rich essentially ran right wing death squads for the CIA and Mossad. A cause I would think you would champion.

    Parent
    LOL (none / 0) (#64)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 06:55:42 PM EST
    you are an excellent water carrier.  Have a nice night.

    Parent
    No (none / 0) (#71)
    by cal1942 on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 01:52:03 AM EST
    Clinton wasn't running for office again and by that time he knew he was going to be a rich man.

    The contributions from Rich's Ex never made any sense.

    Parent

    Huh? (none / 0) (#75)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 02:15:19 PM EST
    Money is no good if you are not in office??

    Parent
    Funny (none / 0) (#15)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:10:16 PM EST
    I would think that you would love a right winger like Rich getting pardoned. Oh that's right, the CDS is an insurmountable disability for you.

    Parent
    Pointing out The Rich pardon is CDS (none / 0) (#39)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:34:27 PM EST
    Now that is rich.  I would bet Rich is a lefty.  He and his wife gave lavishly to the dems.  Limousine liberals.  I like pointing out regrettable pardons.  Nixon should not have been pardoned either.  

    Parent
    Rich is a lefty (none / 0) (#44)
    by jondee on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:43:22 PM EST
    proves you know little about Rich.

    Check out the Solon link above.

    Parent

    Leftie? (none / 0) (#46)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:50:08 PM EST
    It gets confusing when he is best pals with some of the most right wing people in the world. Shimon Peres is a leftie too?

    Parent
    Yes (none / 0) (#72)
    by cal1942 on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 01:54:55 AM EST
    it is CDS.  The Rich pardon wasn't just 'pointed out.'  It was obsessed about.

    The statement that the pardon was merely 'pointed out' is way past ludicrous.

    Parent

    Please - don't go around scaring (none / 0) (#8)
    by scribe on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 01:44:42 PM EST
    people like that.  It's not nice and this is not a movie where you can get away with doing that and not have it leave lasting effects.

    Parent
    boo! (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:07:44 PM EST
    lol. Wonder what odd the betting sites are giving for more pardons?

    Parent
    Please George.... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 01:33:42 PM EST
    make up for this unsavory pardon by pardoning a couple thousand non-violent drug offenders by midnight.  

    Pretty please?

    Someone's been hitting his (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:08:21 PM EST
    hope stash this morning!

    Parent
    good one, kdog (none / 0) (#48)
    by allimom99 on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:58:30 PM EST
    Oh great... (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by pmj6 on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:40:08 PM EST
    ...Lou Dobbs is gonna have an on-air orgasm tonight...

    Too much info (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by rdandrea on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:45:50 PM EST
    n/t

    Parent
    Last act? (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by jbindc on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 03:10:04 PM EST
    Are we really sure that Scooter won't get a   pardon tomorrow at 11:59 am?  

    No (none / 0) (#28)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 03:29:30 PM EST
    Simple answers...

    Parent
    Actually (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by kaleidescope on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 03:23:52 PM EST
    On his first day in office, President Carter fulfilled a campaign promise by granting unconditional pardons to hundreds of thousands of men who had evaded the draft during the Vietnam War by fleeing the country or by failing to register.

    This was a big deal in the lives of draft resisters, several of whom were my friends.  I myself refused to register when I turned 18 in 1973, the last year registration was required.  So I guess Carter pardoned me as well, though I never feared prosecution.

    According to Wikipedia, over 100,000 young men fled abroad to Canada, Mexico and Sweden.  

    For its part, the U.S. government continued to prosecute draft evaders after the Vietnam War ended. A total of 209,517 men were accused of violating draft laws, while another 360,000 were never formally charged.

    If you count these totals (and why shouldn't you!) Carter probably granted pardons to more people than all other U.S. presidents combined.

    Bless him.

    Hip Hip Hooray!!!!!!!!! (1.00 / 0) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 01:15:03 PM EST
    They never should have been convicted.

    and why shouldn't have they? (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 01:24:33 PM EST
    wrong Jim (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 01:25:43 PM EST
    they shot an unarmed man, then lied and covered it up. Read TChris and my prior posts and the Court of Appeals decision.

    Parent
    Sometimes there are things that we will (none / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:14:09 PM EST
    not agree on. The version I have heard of what happened doesn't match yours.

    I prefer mine.

    Parent

    oddly enough that is true (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 03:18:34 PM EST
    with just about everything - there is the reality based version and then there is the jimakappj version.

    Parent
    Typical Leftie comment (none / 0) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 03:48:00 PM EST
    Just couldn't resist it, eh Molly?

    Parent
    She can't help it (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Edger on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 03:54:33 PM EST
    Even though I've many times suggested that she give up trying to help you, Molly appears to be convinced and very determined that you are not beyond help, ppj.

    Is she wrong?

    Parent

    Well at least her suggestions aren't (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:31:06 PM EST
    life threatening.

    Posted by edger at September 3, 2005 01:04 PM
    ."..might consider, though, that the real villian is a MSM and the Far Left..."
    This may get me kicked off this site, and I'll probably regret saying this later, but here goes...
    Jim... you know how to use a gun? Bullets are cheap, and plentiful, you can get lots of 'em almost anywhere if you are out of 'em...
    You only need one, though...



    Parent
    Heh! (none / 0) (#47)
    by Edger on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:53:11 PM EST
    I take it that means you think she's wrong....

    Parent
    You wrote it (none / 0) (#38)
    by jondee on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:34:23 PM EST
    she just put the exclamation point on it.

    Parent
    It was a large target (none / 0) (#57)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:19:03 PM EST
    I could have been under the after effects after being dosed at a show, and it wouldn't have mattered, like the late Dock Ellis I would have just zeroed in.

    But the truth of the matter is, it was just a large target with a giant bullseye. It was impossible to miss.

    Parent

    heh (none / 0) (#61)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 06:27:26 PM EST
    If your ability matched your ego then you would be a force to be reckoned with.

    Unfortunately.......

    Parent

    You should try (none / 0) (#19)
    by ThatOneVoter on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:17:55 PM EST
    evidence based reasoning sometime.

    Parent
    As I noted to Jeralyn (none / 0) (#33)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 03:51:07 PM EST
    My evidence is different than your evidence.

    You can believe yours, I think it is wrong.

    I can believe mine, you can think it wrong.

    But there is really no need to argue and snark about it unless you want to prove that you can't resist a personal attack.

    Do have a nice day.

    Parent

    The day you provide (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by ThatOneVoter on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 03:52:18 PM EST
    evidence about ANYTHING will truly be a new day.

    Parent
    I have provided many links to you (none / 0) (#50)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:06:15 PM EST
    but I can't make you read.

    Parent
    Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion (none / 0) (#25)
    by Peter G on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 03:13:24 PM EST
    ... but not to his/her own facts.  Hat tip to The Reality-Based Community, my other favorite blog.

    Parent
    Jim, why don't you read the actual evidence (none / 0) (#49)
    by allimom99 on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:02:51 PM EST
    instead of assuming that the "version you heard" is correct? You don't think law enforcement should be prosecuted when they break the law?

    Parent
    See comment #36 (none / 0) (#53)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:07:57 PM EST
    Thanks (none / 0) (#60)
    by weltec2 on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 06:14:51 PM EST
    I found it.

    Parent
    Do you have a (none / 0) (#59)
    by weltec2 on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 06:07:47 PM EST
    specific reference for yours?

    Parent
    No, he doesn't. (none / 0) (#68)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 09:01:32 PM EST
    That's definitely not (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Peter G on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 01:27:22 PM EST
    ... what the U.S. Attorney thought, what the Bush Dept of Justice in Washington that oversees such prosecutions thought, what the jury thought, what the trial judge thought, or what the court of appeals thought -- or even what Pres. Bush and his Pardon Atty thought.  But I guess you might know better, Jim, or know more about it than any of them.  I guess.

    Parent
    Ah, Bushes' America speaks! (none / 0) (#20)
    by TomStewart on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:25:02 PM EST
    Shooting an unarmed man, and then lying about it to investigators is fine? This is how it should be in Bushes' America? This is OK?

    Thank God it's over.

    Parent

    They shot the man in the back. Then they tried (none / 0) (#58)
    by Angel on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:40:43 PM EST
    to cover it up.  I am ashamed that Dubya pardoned them but not surprised.  

    Parent
    Read the post, why don't you (none / 0) (#66)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:51:49 PM EST
    and you can skip some of your anguish.  He didn't pardon them, he commuted their sentences.


    Parent
    What a joke (none / 0) (#18)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 02:15:52 PM EST
    I guess the right wing only likes their "tough on Crime" theme when it applies to the left. Scooter's sentence was too harsh too!

    FREE LEONARD PELTIER!!! (none / 0) (#29)
    by Dadler on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 03:34:33 PM EST
    Had to shout it, sorry.  I know it's futile with Dubya, but Peltier remains our most forgotten political prisoner.  Close Gitmo and open Leonoard's cell forever.  Decades this man has rotted in prison on zero evidence.  Read IN THE SPIRIT OF CRAZY HORSE by Peter Mathiessen, see the Redford narrated documentary, INCIDENT AT OOGLALA, and send a letter or email.  

    And needless to say... (none / 0) (#30)
    by Dadler on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 03:36:11 PM EST
    ...Clinton's failure to pardon Peltier is another reason he remains the single most disappointing president of my lifetime.  Not the worst, but certainly the most disappointing.  

    Parent
    Shrug (none / 0) (#31)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 03:44:15 PM EST
    If this is the bone Bush decided to throw to the far right, I could think of worse ones.  Maybe it will keep them content and docile for a little while at least.

    Unlike Libby, these guys did actual prison time.  I don't think this decision will encourage anyone else to think "hey, it's open season at the border," at least not anyone who wasn't at that mindset already.  Unless lots of people are under the impression that George W. Bush will be returning to office to hand out pardons to them as well.

    And hey, the Right is entitled to their Mumias and Leonard Peltiers too, I figure.  I'm in a spirit of bipartisanship today.

    Except that these guys definitely DID (none / 0) (#51)
    by allimom99 on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:06:41 PM EST
    the crimes for which they were convicted and jailed. Big difference.

    Parent
    And they did hard time (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:15:17 PM EST
    maybe not as much as they should have, or some people think they should have, but that's the way it goes.  A few years in prison is no joke.

    Parent
    On 1/20/2009 and after (none / 0) (#41)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:37:59 PM EST
    will Bush-bashing be referred to as BDS?

    Xcellent question... (none / 0) (#43)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:40:23 PM EST
    I suggest XBDS.

    Parent
    I miss the old (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by jondee on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:47:09 PM EST
    Bush Haters at Work. What happened to that?

    Parent
    Just what I was thinking... (none / 0) (#52)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:07:51 PM EST
    how many times Jim thrown the old BHAW at us over the last 6 years jondee?  Over/Under 500.

    Hey...we're all deranged in our own way, right?  

    Parent

    I give Poker Players (none / 0) (#55)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:10:41 PM EST
    special passes.....

    Parent
    Does anyone know? (none / 0) (#62)
    by killer on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 06:30:56 PM EST
    Can Bush issue pardons and not tell anyone but them? So that not until a charge is about to be put in place is the pardon pulled out and made public? Would any pardon apply to the Convention against Torture treaty if prosecuted here in the US? I assume that if another country charges a person with violation of the CaT, that was pardoned by Bush, that pardon would have little value in that prosecution.

    I'll take a stab (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Peter G on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 07:43:03 PM EST
    Without any serious research ... Yes, a pardon could be delivered privately; to my knowledge, there is no law requiring an act of clemency to be proclaimed, as has been the recent practice. Yes, the crime of torture under U.S. law can be pardoned (the only exception in the Constitution is for "cases of impeachment"), but No, a U.S. presidential pardon would have no effect in any other country (or international tribunal).  By the way, the sources of all real technical knowledge on the subject are Pardon Power (Prof. P.J. Ruckman) and Pardon Law (former U.S. Pardon Attorney Margaret Colgate Love).

    Parent
    The question would be if (2.00 / 0) (#69)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 09:52:29 PM EST
    the US would agree to give up a citizen for such an obvious political prosecution.

    Doubtful. Why?

    Obama knows that the wheel will turn. And he is many things. But he isn't dumb. In fact, he may be smartest Prez we have had since Reagan.

    The next question is... can he govern?

    Parent