Right now, the Senate Judiciary Committee is beginning a hearing regarding the prosecution of Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean. Johnny Sutton, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas whose office prosecuted the Ramos/Compean case, is scheduled to testify.

Over at my blog, my valued commenter DRJ has provided a detailed post which compares the claims made in Johnny Sutton’s most recent press release against the facts that emerged at trial.

DRJ’s post today draws on a thorough knowledge of the trial transcripts in the case, which she has summarized in previous posts at my site. DRJ shares my concern for the problems posed by illegal immigration. She is somewhat more suspicious of the Ramos/Compean verdict than I am, but is first and foremost a rational and fair-minded individual who bases her decisions on the facts. Here are some of her conclusions about the trial, and Johnny Sutton’s press release:

  • The testimony of Agent Oscar Juarez, who corroborated parts of the story of drug smuggler (and shooting victim) Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, is in DRJ’s opinion “of questionable reliability” because he gave several conflicting stories before trial. Indeed, DRJ notes, even the Government’s investigator didn’t believe Juarez had been fully honest.
  • The facts at trial demonstrate that Johnny Sutton originally misstated the nature of the immunity given to Aldrete-Davila. In a previous press release, Sutton claimed that the government had merely agreed that Aldrete-Davila’s testimony at trial could not be used against him — a limited form of immunity. DRJ notes, with citations to the transcript, that the immunity agreement was actually much broader. It was essentially a promise of transactional immunity — i.e., Aldrete-Davila cannot be prosecuted for his actions on the day he was shot.
  • Regarding the immunity agreement, DRJ notes: “There was no provision in Aldrete-Davila’s immunity agreement that the deal was off if he lied.” As a prosecutor, I must say that I find this astounding. The first rule of an immunity agreement is that the witness must tell the truth; thus, it is a standard condition that the deal is off if the immunized witness lies. I can’t imagine a legitimate reason that Aldrete-Davila’s agreement apparently contained no such stipulation.

While these facts favor the agents’ position, DRJ establishes that the facts at trial also support the Government’s position in several respects. For example:

  • DRJ agrees with the U.S. Attorney that “Agent Ramos stipulated that the bullet extracted from Aldrete came from his service weapon” — a stipulation that was “based on independent forensic analysis that Ramos did not dispute at trial.” So you can stop whining about how the bullet might not have come from Ramos’s gun. It did.
  • DRJ sets forth no facts to dispute the Government’s contention that supervisors were not aware of the shooting on the day it happened. She says the evidence at trial showed that “no supervisors were on the scene during the shooting.” While it is true that two supervisors showed up to the scene of the shooting afterwards, the Government’s evidence showed that they were not made aware that there had been a shooting. They learned about the shooting weeks or months after the fact. By the way, it’s also a myth that Border Patrol policy prevents agents from reporting a shooting — although DRJ disagrees that the policy requiring reporting was as clear as the Government made it out to be.

Incidentally, Sutton’s fact sheet alleges that Ramos — the agent who was beaten in prison — had asked to be placed in the general population, because he did not want to suffer the “punitive consequences” of segregation (which is not always itself considered a picnic). DRJ and I have no idea whether this is actually true.

I commend DRJ’s entire post to anyone interested in judging this case based on facts, rather than ranting based on rumors and emotion. You can read it here.