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Senate Hears Testimony in Convicted Border Agents' Appeal

July 17, 2007  | 

Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are serving 11- and 12-year sentences in federal prison for shooting a suspected Mexican drug runner in the buttocks while on duty as border patrol agents in Texas. A jury convicted them in March 2006 of violating gun laws and attempting a cover-up after they failed to write a report of the incident. But a senate subpanel is hearing witness testimony in the officers' appeal.

Johnny Sutton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, still stands behind his federal prosecution of the officers.

"Their actions after the shooting show that they knew that the shooting was illegal and destroyed the credibility of their later claims that the drug smuggler appeared to have a weapon and ran away," Sutton said.

Several people are on the side of the officers. And many believe it's unfair that the man who was shot, Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony, although no one is debating whether he was in fact trafficking drugs, reported Fox News.

"Why is it wrong to shoot the (trafficker) after he's been told to stop?" asked Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Representatives Duncan Hunter and Dana Rohrabacher, both California Republicans, spoke before the Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary for Ramos and Compean.

Rohrabacher testified that the officers should not have been punished so severely for not reporting the shooting. "The prosecutors decided to go after the good guys and give the bad guy immunity," Rohrabacher said.

Supporters of Ramos and Compean want to see them receive a presidential pardon.

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