Breaking: Bush commutes sentences of Ramos and Compean; Update: Will be released on March 20

posted at 12:59 pm on January 19, 2009 by Allahpundit

Just across the AP wire, a gift to the base on his way out the door. Stand by for updates.

Update: Politico put the odds of it happening at 3-1. The major pardons still to come: Libby and CIA interrogators.

Update: WND noted last week that they were under consideration. The difference between a pardon and a commutation:

Rodgers said the former agents apparently are not eligible for a pardon, which would nullify the punishment. But they might be eligible for a commutation, which would result in a reduction of their sentences.

“It could be very possible that the pardon attorney may recommend to President Bush that Ramos and Compean’s sentences might be limited to the time they have already served,” Eichler said.

They’ve been in prison since January 2007.

Update: You can thank the Texas congressional delegation for this, probably. All 34 members signed a letter to Bush last week requesting the commutation.

Update: Even the U.S. Attorney who convicted them thought the punishment didn’t fit the crime.

Mr. Sutton has stood by the convictions but questioned the sentences.

“The only legitimate question, I think a legitimate question, is: ‘Is the punishment too harsh?’ I have always said the punishment in this case was harsh,” Mr. Sutton said on Nov. 14.

Update: Here’s the White House statement. They’re guilty as charged; it’s a simple question of the sentence having been too draconian. Hence the commutation instead of a pardon.

Bush didn’t pardon the men for their crimes, but decided instead to commute their prison sentences because he believed they were excessive and that they had already suffered the loss of their jobs, freedom and reputations, a senior administration official said.

The action by the president, who believes the border agents received fair trials and that the verdicts were just, does not diminish the seriousness of their crimes, the official said.

Update: Fox News says their sentences will expire now on March 20; they’d been facing terms of more than 10 years each. I’m looking for an explanation for the two-month delay.


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Its about F!@#$ing time!!!!

MDWNJ on January 19, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Amen and amen!

CH on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

thank you jesus. those two patriots deserve it. They should have NEVER been in prison in the first place.

ousoonerfan15 on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

YESSSSSSSS!!!

Darbraun on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Guilty as sin, free as birds. Oh well…10 years was too long for the crap these two idiots pulled.

CapitalistPig on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Popularity probably just went up 20%…

Skywise on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

We all knew this was coming, you guys were panicking way too much.

El_Terrible on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Holy crow.

I’d call this a fair bit of penance.

MadisonConservative on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

They never should even have been charged. After how they were treated who would want the job of being a Border Patrol agent?

IMHO, the person who should have been tried was the prosecutor (a Bush cronie).

wildcat84 on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

About damn time! Was hoping for a pardon but, thank God they will be home soon!

Babino on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Just awesome. It’s about time, and just in time.

David Rasbold on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

This is the best news! Thank you Mr. Bush.

jcheney on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

YAY!!!! I sure hope it is true! Can’t wait to find out for sure. That would make my day more happier!

sheebe on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

What MDWNJ said!

(Can’t say it with anymore eloquence, that’s for sure.)

coldwarrior on January 19, 2009 at 1:02 PM

WOW

Mercy4Me on January 19, 2009 at 1:02 PM

HE DID IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow, way to go Presidnet Bush…

A small VICTORY for America….

Mark Garnett on January 19, 2009 at 1:02 PM

Not really the same thing as pardoning them, though, is it? The felony conviction will still be on their records for the rest of their lives.

Mibrilane on January 19, 2009 at 1:02 PM

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TheMightyQuinn on January 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Always knew he would and always knew he would wait until last minute.

Done That on January 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

They never should even have been charged. After how they were treated who would want the job of being a Border Patrol agent?

IMHO, the person who should have been tried was the prosecutor (a Bush cronie).

WHy? Because they lied about shooting men that were running AWAY from them? They were trained to do their jobs in situations and they couldn’t even do that right.

Either they lied or were entirely incompetent to do their jobs.

Notorious GOP on January 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Praise Almighty! It is about time, Mr. President. Thank you for keeping my family safe.

Laura in Maryland on January 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Sssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….

Listen.

Yep, forty regulars at ‘Think Progress’ and ‘KOS’ just screamed and fell over dead.

Bishop on January 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

The major pardons still to come: Libby and CIA interrogators.

And his entire damn administration if Pelosi keeps the “arrest Bush” mantra up.

Can’t wait to see Geraldo on TV tonight. He’ll be foaming at the mouth.

BacaDog on January 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Whoa. No kidding?

I’m amazed.

Tanya on January 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

About friggin’ time, you plasti-rino.

wccawa on January 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

YEEEEAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

nickj116 on January 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

From what I’ve read, a pardon wouldn’t have been quite right. But a commute! Fantastic! I didn’t realize that was an option.

Alana on January 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Hope Johnny Sutton didn’t have any future political career plans.

Wethal on January 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Thank you, LORD Jesus! Now, what about Libby and Pollard? (Or did I miss something?)

sanantonian on January 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Finally! It should have been done sooner, but I’m not going to argue.

ErinF on January 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

About time indeed..

suck it, Cap. Pig.

if they are guilty of anything.. it’s for not being a better shot..

two in the chest.. one in the head..

DaveC on January 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Agreed Notorious GOP. Anyone who calls these two morons patriots should really look past their dislike of illegal immigration and look at just what these two clowns did.

CapitalistPig on January 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Great News !! Woohooo !!

WillT on January 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

They were trained to do their jobs in situations and they couldn’t even do that right.
Either they lied or were entirely incompetent to do their jobs.

Says the guy who has never been in such a situation or anything close to it.

Bishop on January 19, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Oh, remember, when any libtard out there tries to bring up their commutation as some kind of bad thing (through arguments of legal gymnastics) just remind them that Holder thought the pardoning of the FALN was just fine.

If you haven’t heard the testimony about the domestic terrorists in FALN being let out of prison during the hearings about Holder’s nomination last week then I urge you to go check that out on C-SPAN.

Just wicked stuff! No way can Holder be seen as fit for Attorney General.

TheMightyQuinn on January 19, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Whew.

Bob's Kid on January 19, 2009 at 1:05 PM

’bout freakin’ time, Mr. President.

Chubbs65 on January 19, 2009 at 1:06 PM

Wow.

Spirit of 1776 on January 19, 2009 at 1:06 PM

suck it, Cap. Pig.

if they are guilty of anything.. it’s for not being a better shot..

two in the chest.. one in the head

Dave C..

Wow excellent argument.

CapitalistPig on January 19, 2009 at 1:06 PM

Thank God.

trailortrash on January 19, 2009 at 1:06 PM

Guilty as sin, free as birds. Oh well…10 years was too long for the crap these two idiots pulled.

CapitalistPig on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

WOW! Moby posts on here now!

DethMetalCookieMonst on January 19, 2009 at 1:06 PM

They were trained to do their jobs in situations and they couldn’t even do that right.
Either they lied or were entirely incompetent to do their jobs.

Says the guy who has never been in such a situation or anything close to it.

Of course. I’m not trained to do any of that, yet those guys were and they completely failed to do anything right and they lied about it.

“Oh no! He might have a gun, but he’s running away from me! Let’s shoot the guy and then fabricate some evidence!”

Notorious GOP on January 19, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Yes, finally.

StephC on January 19, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Bishop: I have…and I still am. And THEY SCREWED UP.

CapitalistPig on January 19, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Good news! Hooray!

paustin110 on January 19, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Bishop on January 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

ROFL!

WHy? Because they lied about shooting men that were running AWAY from them? They were trained to do their jobs in situations and they couldn’t even do that right.

Either they lied or were entirely incompetent to do their jobs.

Notorious GOP on January 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Your a moron, they shot a ARMED, DRUG SMUGGLER!!! Only crime, they didn’t KILL the SOB! Wussies like you are the bane of America and one more idiot for open borders and loss of American soverenty. I’m happy for the guys, but wish they had better AIM! Maybe they could take a few more INVADERS, yes invaders out with them… Start shooting, like Mexico does on it’s border to the “south” of it…

Mark Garnett on January 19, 2009 at 1:08 PM

I told you that Bush would not pardon these 2 heros it would make his good friend Sutton look bad.Not pardoning these men is a out rage. Shame on you Pres Bush.

thmcbb on January 19, 2009 at 1:08 PM

A commutation that’s an insult. Theses men should be pardoned and returned to their former positions. The outgoing president should be ashamed of himself.

Tommy_G on January 19, 2009 at 1:08 PM

WHy? Because they lied about shooting men that were running AWAY from them? They were trained to do their jobs in situations and they couldn’t even do that right.

Either they lied or were entirely incompetent to do their jobs.

Notorious GOP on January 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Wow! The MOBYs are out in force today, aren’t they.

DethMetalCookieMonst on January 19, 2009 at 1:08 PM

Thank you President Bush!!!

jencab on January 19, 2009 at 1:09 PM

What the heck? Should have pardoned them.

medguy on January 19, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Your a moron, they shot a ARMED, DRUG SMUGGLER!!! Only crime, they didn’t KILL the SOB! Wussies like you are the bane of America and one more idiot for open borders and loss of American soverenty. I’m happy for the guys, but wish they had better AIM! Maybe they could take a few more INVADERS, yes invaders out with them… Start shooting, like Mexico does on it’s border to the “south” of it…

They had no idea he was a smuggler when they shot him!

Notorious GOP on January 19, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Finally! But why did he wait? If they were worthy of a commutation, then why not do it months/yrs ago? I think he’s legacy shopping the base, and I f#%*ing resent it. I don’t think he thinks Ramos and Compean deserve clemency, but he perceives not doing it as an obstacle to legacy scrubbing from his right flank. I’ve lost pretty much all respect for you George W. Bush. Crawl back to Crawlford and stay quiet until at last 2024. You gave us Obama. You You You! And you can’t pardon us for that sentence, you fool, you fop, you above-the-fray clown.

G-d bless Ramos and Compean, real American heros.

Western_Civ on January 19, 2009 at 1:09 PM

LOL Mark Garnett. That kind of stupid logic is the reason half of America looks at us conservatives like stupid rubes.

CapitalistPig on January 19, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Better late than never. Thank you Mr. President.

Sanjoboy on January 19, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Bishop on January 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

noneya or Drywall to show up and tell us how raaaciiist we are in 5…4…3…

kingsjester on January 19, 2009 at 1:10 PM

The major pardons still to come: Libby and CIA interrogators.

Come on, Bush, time is running out!

Disturb the Universe on January 19, 2009 at 1:10 PM

Overdue, but well done, Mr. Bush!!

Goody2Shoes on January 19, 2009 at 1:10 PM

Thank you JORGE BUSH….about time you dimwit!

SDarchitect on January 19, 2009 at 1:10 PM

Popularity probably just went up 20%…

Yes! 30% approval now. Mission accomplished!!

Vernon Hardapple on January 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Hmmmmmm

Let me see now. R & C spent over a year and Ayers still walks free???? Typ Liberal justice.

But more Ammo!!!!!!!!!

Please excuse my typing I broke a finger on my right hand. LOL

Rick007 on January 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Anyone that thinks they deserved the punishments they got is uninformed about the case, and ignorant about the absolutely wrong steps the prosecutor took during the case.

These two men were railroaded by the Fed. Gov. as a favor to friends in Mexico. Thank God they are getting out of jail though.

Voidseeker on January 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Bishop: I have…and I still am. And THEY SCREWED UP.
CapitalistPig on January 19, 2009 at 1:07 PM

So have I and my actions weren’t sterling either.

You be sure to highlight the portion of your training which says that in all circumstances, with adrenalin running high, tunnel vision occurring and a million scenarios running through your head and only seconds to react, you will automatically choose exactly the right course of action.

Bishop on January 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM

’bout time!

RightWinged on January 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Prayers answered. Thank you w

Bullhead on January 19, 2009 at 1:12 PM

Thank you President Bush. Gosh wonderful news.
L

letget on January 19, 2009 at 1:12 PM

Good.

Weight of Glory on January 19, 2009 at 1:12 PM

noneya or Drywall to show up and tell us how raaaciiist we are in 5…4…3…
kingsjester on January 19, 2009 at 1:10 PM

OH well, I didn’t vote for the Tinted Savior so I’m already a racist, might as well make it official.

Bishop on January 19, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Hallelujah!

The Dean on January 19, 2009 at 1:14 PM

You be sure to highlight the portion of your training which says that in all circumstances, with adrenalin running high, tunnel vision occurring and a million scenarios running through your head and only seconds to react, you will automatically choose exactly the right course of action.

Bishop on January 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM>

Does that stress, tunnel vision and adrenaline surge include picking up your brass afterwards, throwing it in the river, then lying about it several times to investigators? Just wondering.

CapitalistPig on January 19, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Either they lied or were entirely incompetent to do their jobs.
Notorious GOP on January 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Agreed Notorious GOP. Anyone who calls these two morons patriots should really look past their dislike of illegal immigration and look at just what these two clowns did.
CapitalistPig on January 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Bye lemmings, watch that gravity problem as you rush off the cliff.

Western_Civ on January 19, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Guilty as sin, free as birds. Oh well…10 years was too long for the crap these two idiots pulled.

CapitalistPig on January 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Could not of said it better.

KBird on January 19, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Half-assed is still some ass…

Tim Burton on January 19, 2009 at 1:14 PM

In the end, they got the plea deal without having to plea.

RBMN on January 19, 2009 at 1:15 PM

Apparently, CapitalistPig and I are the only ones who see something wrong with contaminating evidence and shooting a guy with drugs who was RUNNING AWAY from them.

Notorious GOP on January 19, 2009 at 1:15 PM

CapitalistPig on January 19, 2009 at 1:06 PM

I recall reading through the whole series of events when it happened, and agree with you. The attempted coverup was the worst part. However, I’m pretty pragmatic, and worse crimes by worse people have been pardoned in the past, so I’m O.K. with the commutation.

a capella on January 19, 2009 at 1:15 PM

CapitalistPig on January 19, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Sir, your NO Conservative… Conservativers want STRICT border policies. Americans, of BOTH parties, to the tune of 76% want a end to ileagle immigrations. We want drug dealers dead, off our streets. Mamby-Pamby, non-Conservatives like you are the end of America, not folks like me that love America and very much stand for it’s defense from INVADERS. If 12 MILLION of ANY group illeagly pushed across a Countries border, it would be an act of WAR.

Mark Garnett on January 19, 2009 at 1:15 PM

Woot. Answered prayer, right there.

Glad they’re free, but it will never change how badly they got screwed.

TexasDan on January 19, 2009 at 1:15 PM

Wow. But the same people that used to hate Bush still hate him, right?

wise_man on January 19, 2009 at 1:15 PM

I told you that Bush would not pardon these 2 heros it would make his good friend Sutton look bad.Not pardoning these men is a out rage. Shame on you Pres Bush.

They weren’t eligible apparently. So relax.

Topsecretk9 on January 19, 2009 at 1:15 PM

Commutation is correct.

In my opinion, you can’t be Pardoned for shooting someone in the back.

Yeh, yeh, yeh… “Heat of the Battle,” and all that…

jus’ sayin’, and I wish he’dve done it sooner.

franksalterego on January 19, 2009 at 1:16 PM

You can thank the Texas congressional delegation for this, probably. All 34 members signed a letter to Bush last week requesting the commutation.

Get ready for the Jubilee,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We’ll give the Texas congressional delegation three times three,
Hurrah! Hurrah!

The laurel wreath is ready now
To place upon their loyal brow
And we’ll all feel gay
When Ramos and Compean come home.

PercyB on January 19, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Flashback:

Two former U.S. Border Patrol agents sentenced to lengthy prison terms for shooting a drug-smuggling suspect have asked a federal appeals court to overturn their convictions, saying they were charged with a nonexistent crime and convicted after the jury was given improper instructions by the trial judge.

Houston defense lawyer J. Mark Brewer said two counts of a grand jury indictment against former agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean charged them under a federal statute with the discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, but the statute does not define a crime and contains only a sentencing factor to be addressed after conviction.

Mr. Brewer said in a 20-page motion that the “improperly-crafted indictment” misfocused the agents, counsel and jury on a nonexistent crime of unlawful discharge of a firearm, because the agents were authorized to possess, carry and use a firearm in the normal course of their job.

Weight of Glory on January 19, 2009 at 1:17 PM

I recall reading through the whole series of events when it happened, and agree with you. The attempted coverup was the worst part. However, I’m pretty pragmatic, and worse crimes by worse people have been pardoned in the past, so I’m O.K. with the commutation.

a capella on January 19, 2009 at 1:15 PM

I agree with that. However, these 2 guys were FAR from innocent.

Notorious GOP on January 19, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Does that stress, tunnel vision and adrenaline surge include picking up your brass afterwards, throwing it in the river, then lying about it several times to investigators? Just wondering.

Hard to say, does getting pressured and threatened by the chain of command above you have anything to do with it?

But hey, you were there, standing right next to Compean and Ramos when everything happened, so who am I to argue?

Bishop on January 19, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Wow. But the same people that used to hate Bush still hate him, right?

wise_man on January 19, 2009 at 1:15 PM

Right.

Texas Gal on January 19, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Oh, and what do the people who made the claim “that no good Boosh won’t pardon Ramos and Compean because he loves all mexicans, hates Americans and doesn’t want to embarrass his good friend the texas prosecutor Sutton!” have to say in response.

wise_man on January 19, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Wow… he did the right thing… Whoo-hoo!

silverfox on January 19, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Sorry, I have to be the contrarian here.

This is not enough. Nothing but a full pardon will satisfy me. Any talk of “not qualifying” for a pardon is bullshit. The power to pardon does not come with a list of rules. It is absolute; without question or limits.

To all those cheering this move, how does that cake taste?

They had no idea he was a smuggler when they shot him!

Notorious GOP on January 19, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Yeah, you’re right. It’s possible he could have been a letter carrier from Iowa on vacation in the middle of the desert who had become lost and was in a desperate search for help for his family.

Yeah…I’d have been thinking the same thing that night if I had been there.

BobMbx on January 19, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Update: Fox News says their sentences will expire now on March 20; they’d been facing terms of more than 10 years each. I’m looking for an explanation for the two-month delay.

Mar 20? I wonder why, too.

StephC on January 19, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Right.
Texas Gal on January 19, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Thanks for not letting me down.

wise_man on January 19, 2009 at 1:19 PM

They had no idea he was a smuggler when they shot him!

Notorious GOP on January 19, 2009 at 1:09 PM

You right. Someone who sneaks across the border during a time of war is considered a spy and can be shot by the military.

Tommy_G on January 19, 2009 at 1:20 PM

Sir, your NO Conservative… Conservativers want STRICT border policies. Americans, of BOTH parties, to the tune of 76% want a end to ileagle immigrations. We want drug dealers dead, off our streets. Mamby-Pamby, non-Conservatives like you are the end of America, not folks like me that love America and very much stand for it’s defense from INVADERS. If 12 MILLION of ANY group illeagly pushed across a Countries border, it would be an act of WAR.

Mark Garnett on January 19, 2009 at 1:15 PM>

Sir: This is a country of laws, not movements, ideologies, or wild-west justice. The fact is that these two idiots have served since their convictions to all of us in federal law enforcement as Poster Childen— to remind us that we are professionals, not vigilantes. That in the end, when its just you and some dirtbag in the desert, that we will act with integrity when no-one is looking. These two failed at that.

CapitalistPig on January 19, 2009 at 1:20 PM

Yeah…I’d have been thinking the same thing that night if I had been there.
BobMbx on January 19, 2009 at 1:18 PM

I was going for the badly lost seashell collector myself.

Bishop on January 19, 2009 at 1:21 PM

Thank You President Bush! I guess today of all days half the country needed a bit of good news.

christene on January 19, 2009 at 1:21 PM

The CIA pardons are more important but think its more important that Bush just argue they did nothing wrong

William Amos on January 19, 2009 at 1:21 PM

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