Second Ex-Border Agent Resentenced in Shooting Case as Supporters Call for Pardons
A second former Border Patrol agent who received a lengthy sentence in a case involving the shooting of a fleeing drug smuggler has been resentenced to his original 11 years and a day in prison, as the agents' supporters hold out hope for presidential pardons.
Ignacio Ramos got the same sentence two years ago when he was convicted in the shooting of Osvaldo Aldrete Davila, an admitted, and now convicted, drug smuggler.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone gave Ramos' partner, Jose Alonso Compean, his original 12-year sentence, 10 years on a charge of using a weapon in the commission of a felony and another two for assault and other charges. Both men have been in prison since January 2007.
In September, the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans threw out some convictions against Ramos and Compean, prompting this week's new sentencing hearings. But the court upheld the majority of the case against the pair, including the weapons charge that brought the mandatory sentence.
Ramos' resentencing was not unexpected, his attorney, David Botsford, told FOXNews.com.
"The judge had originally been quite fair in the original sentencing given the fact that she could not go below the 10-year mandatory minimum on count 4 [using a weapon in the commission of a felony]," Botsford said.
A call to the U.S. Attorney's Office in El Paso was not immediately returned.
Botsford was pleased that the judge seemed receptive to removing Ramos from 23-7 lockdown to a facility that does not house illegal immigrants. Ramos was attacked in his first week of custody and has been in lockdown for his own protection ever since.
"She was very receptive to the argument that Mr. Ramos’ conditions of confinement are worse than those imposed upon foreign detainees in Guantanamo Bay," Botsford told FOXNews.com. "So she did agree to recommend to the Bureau of Prisons that Mr. Ramos be incarcerated in a federal prison camp."
Ramos and Compean's supporters continue to hold out for assistance from President Bush.
"The best hope for these agents remains commutation from either the outgoing or the incoming president," T.J. Bonner, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, told FOXNews.com. "We still remain very hopeful that that will happen, and if it doesn’t, we’ll have the appeal to the Supreme Court."
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Calif.) called on Bush to show mercy.
“Many patriotic Americans are dismayed by the continued persecution and legal torture of former Border Patrol officers Ramos and Compean," Rohrabacher said in a statement released Thursday.
Botsford said a clemency petition is pending with the Office of the Pardon Attorney for his client.
U.S. presidents traditionally issue pardons and sentence commutations in their final days in office. So far, though, Bush has not indicated whether he is considering acting on the agents' requests.
"There’s also the option of proceeding to the Supreme Court of the United States, that is something that’s under consideration, but a commutation could well impact upon that," Botsford said.
The case initially prompted a massive outcry from the agents' supporters, who argued U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton should have focused his office's efforts on prosecuting Davila for his drug-smuggling activities.
Davila, who admitted smuggling several hundred pounds of marijuana on the day he was shot in 2005, pleaded guilty earlier this year to drug charges related to two smuggling attempts. The attempted smugglings happened several months after he was shot in the buttocks while running away from Ramos and Compean.
Ramos and Compean argued during their trials that they shot Davila, who they believed was armed, in self defense. Davila has denied having a weapon the day he was shot.
"Ultimately we’re hoping that justice is served in this case because both of those agents are innocent," Bonner said. "All they were doing was their job defending themselves against an armed drug smuggler in the process of stopping a load a marijuana that was worth more than a million dollars."
FOXNews.com's Sara Bonisteel and the Associated Press contributed to this report.