Ramos and Compean fundraiser on Saturday
By Linda Bentley | October 1, 2008
A presidential pardon may be only hope
PHOENIX – Citizens are invited to join the ride or just join the day this Saturday, Oct. 4 to keep a spotlight on imprisoned Border Patrol agents Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos and Jose Compean, who are serving 11 and 12-year prison sentences, respectively, and to raise money to help support both their families.
Ramos and Compean were charged with a variety of offenses, including assault and a federal gun law violation, while attempting to apprehend Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, a drug smuggler who was driving a van across the border loaded with approximately 800 pounds of marijuana.
In July, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the major counts against the two agents, reversing only an obstruction of justice count, which did not affect the mandatory minimum ten-year sentences for discharge of a weapon during the commission of a crime of violence.
They are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, they were let down by the Fifth Circuit and U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton granting immunity to the drug smuggler in exchange for his testimony against the two border agents, even though he was caught later smuggling another 750 pounds of marijuana across the border.
During their trial, U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone refused to allow any information about Aldrete-Davila’s second drug load to be presented to the jury and shielded Aldrete-Davila from being questioned about the incident, even though he lied to the jury by saying he only drove the one van full of marijuana across the border that one time because he needed money for his sick mother.
The only possibilities for Ramos and Compean being released from prison earlier than the mandatory minimum 10-year sentence: the charge being reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court, if it chooses to review the case, or a presidential pardon.
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who intends to initiate legislation to clarify the section of law that imposed the 10-year mandatory sentence on the two agents said, “It was never the intent of Congress to have U.S.C. Section 924(c) apply to law enforcement officers.”
Meanwhile, Aldrete Davila, who was charged for his second drug offense only after Ramos and Compean were convicted, is suing the U.S. Government for $5 million, saying his civil rights were violated when he was shot in the butt while fleeing from the Border Patrol.
As of this writing, Ramos and Compean have been in solitary confinement, for their protection, for 622 days.
In April 2007, a report titled “Buried Alive: Solitary Confine-ment in Arizona's Prisons and Jails" (www.afsc.org/az documents/buried-alive.pdf) by Caroline Isaacs and Mathew Lowen, documented the use and impacts of solitary confinement for adults and juveniles in the Arizona Department of Corrections, Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections and the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail.
And, as the title suggests, solitary confinement is likened to being buried alive.
Riders Against Illegal Aliens is cosponsoring Saturday’s events, which will begin at TOSTO’s, 2401 W. Union Hills Drive, for breakfast (free breakfast if registering to participate in the ride) between 7:30 and 10 a.m.
The ride will leave for the Arizona State Capitol at 17th Avenue and Washington Street, where surprise guests are scheduled to speak.
From the capitol the ride will head back north on I-17, where it will pass the federal prison at the Pioneer Road Exit were Ramos is currently incarcerated.
The ride will end at the Roadrunner Saloon, 47801 N. Black Canyon Highway (I-17 North Exit 232 - New River Road) for lunch, music with the band Resonation, raffles, auction and a dunk tank.
All money raised at this event will be split 50/50 between the Ramos and Compean families.
Visit www.raia-southwest.com for more information.
Photo caption: Monica Ramos, wife of imprisoned Border Patrol Agent Ignacio Ramos, is pictured here with Al Garza, national executive director of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, at a February 2007 rally to free her husband and Border Patrol Agent Jose Compean, who are serving 11 and 12-year prison sentences for “doing their job.”
Photo by Linda Bentley