WASHINGTON – President Bush promised to review a case for a possible pardon of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents serving time in prison for shooting a Mexican drug runner.
Bush said in an interview with KFOX-TV in El Paso, Texas, Thursday that he would "take a sober look at the case" as it works its way through the appeals system.
"There are standards that need to be met in law enforcement and according to a jury of their peers, these officers violated some standards," Bush said. "On this case, people need to take a tough look at the facts, the evidence a jury looked at, as well as [the] judge. And I will do the same thing."
Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean reported to prison Wednesday to begin serving their sentences for the 2005 non-fatal shooting of Osvaldo Aldrete Davila. Ramos faces 11 years and one day while Compean will serve 12 years. Davila fled to Mexico after he was shot in the buttocks and later admitted he was transporting over 700 pounds of marijuana in the U.S. illegally.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., introduced a bill to pardon the agents, joining a growing group of supporters of the men, including Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Ted Poe, R-Texas.
"There's a compelling case that this was an extreme injustice," Hunter told FOXNews.com.
Hunter, a potential 2008 White House contender, said he collected 72 co-sponsors on a bill within 15 minutes after he introduced the measure on the House floor. The bill is the first of its kind in Congress, said Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper. The legislation is likely to head to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.
"There's nothing to lose because these gentlemen are already in prison," Hunter said, who has met with the agents' families and urged the White House to get involved.
Hunter also sent a letter to the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons requesting the two former agents be segregated from the general prison population — some of which the ex-agents may have helped put away.
Ramos and Compean were fired after their convictions on several charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, obstruction of justice, and a civil rights violation.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., requesting an oversight hearing for a "public explanation and opportunity for questioning."
"I write to urge you to continue to conduct vigorous oversight of the federal government's commitment to protecting Americans who live and work along the border," Cornyn said in his letter.
Cornyn said he and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who chaired the committee last year, investigated the case and that his office personally interviewed prosecutor Johnny Sutton.
Compean and Ramos were convicted by a jury last March of violating the civil rights of Davila when they shot him on Feb. 17, 2005, in Fabens, Texas, about 30 miles east of El Paso, then tampering with evidence by picking up shell casings from the shooting.
The ex-agents say Davila had a gun, and that's why they fired at him, but a gun was never found.
In exchange for his testimony against the two agents, Davila was granted immunity from prosecution by the U.S. government for attempting to smuggle nearly 750 pounds of marijuana, which had a street value of more than $1 million, into the United States on the day he was shot. He was treated in a U.S. hospital and is now suing the federal government for $5 million, Poe said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.