Steve Gill is all animated, as he often is, about former Border Patrol agents Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos, now spending a decade in the slammer. He compares their conviction to another famous case:
The truth will out [sic], just like it did in the Duke Lacrosse case. Once again, it is the PROSECUTOR who belongs in jail!
All hyperbole aside, and regardless of whether Compean and Ramos belong in prison, this comparison is not valid. In the Duke Lacrosse case, a rogue prosecutor accused innocent players of a crime of which there was not nearly enough evidence for a conviction. In the case of Compean and Ramos, there obviously was enough evidence for a conviction. Both were, after all, convicted by a jury of their peers.
These two agents have been made into heroes. I tend to agree that their sentences are overly harsh, but to say that they deserve no punishment is to completely ignore the rule of law. Compean and Ramos clearly committed several crimes, as Andrew McCarthy (writing in National Review, hardly a pro-illegal immigration magazine) points out:
Here’s the dirty little secret the agents’ partisans never tell in their relentless media rounds. You want to be mad about a miscreant like Aldrete-Davila getting away with importing scads of marijuana into Estados Unidos? Then be mad at … the “heroes.”
The rogue duo had two easy opportunities to arrest Aldrete-Davila: First, when he attempted to surrender and Compean decided it would be better to smash him with the butt of a shotgun than to put cuffs on him, as it was his duty to do; and then, when the “heroes,” having felled the unarmed, fleeing suspect with a bullet fired into his buttocks, decided to leave him there so they could tend to the more important business of covering up the shooting.
Since it’s hard to decipher the facts amid the noise, it’s worth remembering that a jury of twelve impartial Texans convicted the agents of almost all the charges, beyond a reasonable doubt, after a two-and-a-half week trial. Many complain, with some force, about the aggressive charges brought by the government against Compean and Ramos, but you don’t have to like this case to understand that — barring some demonstration of irrationality (and there has been none) — the factual findings necessary to that verdict merit respect. They are certainly more reliable than hype from those with an ax to grind.
Indeed. What happened to Steve Gill’s highly principled belief in upholding the rule of law?
UPDATE: This post is taking part in the Beltway Traffic Jam.