Misuse of the Law by US Attorney Johnny Sutton
The United States of America is a country governed by law. We expect everybody, from the President to the paupers, to obey the laws that have been laboriously enacted by the forefathers of America and the lawmakers of today. Without the vital regulatory function of the law, our country will be succumbed to crimes, anarchy and even invasion by another country.
However, just like the fact that not all illnesses are caused by germs and viral infections from outside the body and that a pernicious illness can be caused by malfunction of certain organ inside the body, sometimes the threat of breaking down law and order comes not only from criminals but also from people who are supposed to administer the law.
Case in point is the conviction of Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos. The two border agents were charged by the US Attorney Johnny Sutton for “committing a crime of violence” and for discharging a firearm “in furtherance of such crime”.
What violent crime did they commit? Did they use their guns to rob a bank? No. Did they use their guns to shoot at each other during a fight? No. They were charged for committing a violent crime against the drug smuggler Osbaldo Aldrete- Davila after wounding him at the border while he was smuggling drugs into the United States.
Even though there were controversies over the circumstances under which the shots were fired, the facts below are incontrovertible:
1/ The two border agents foiled the attempt of a drug smuggler to smuggle 743 pounds of marijuana into the United States of America at the border.
2/ It has not been denied by the drug smuggler that a scuffle had occurred before his escape on foot.
3/ It has not been proven in the court of law that the drug smuggler was armed or unarmed but US Attorney Johnny Sutton stated it as a fact that the smuggler was unarmed.
4/ It has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt that the two agents fired the shots with intend to commit murder rather than due to possibly bad judgment in an attempt to stop the drug smuggler from escaping.
5/There were border supervisors at the scene after the shooting to whom the two agents reported the shootings verbally.
6/ Three of the jurors submitted sworn affidavits saying that they thought the agents were not guilty but that they were misled by information given to them by the prosecution.
7/The drug smuggler is suing the U.S. government for $5 million.
The two border agents were charged under United States Code Title 18 Section 924 (c) (1) (a) (iii).
(a) Except to the extent that a greater minimum sentence is otherwise provided by this subsection or by any other provision of law, any person who, during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime (including a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime that provides for an enhanced punishment if committed by the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon or device) for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm, shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such crime of violence or drug trafficking crime—
(i) be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 5 years;
(ii) if the firearm is brandished, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 7 years; and
(iii) if the firearm is discharged, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years.
The U S Attorney Johnny Sutton has made a very absurd mistake in applying this law in the prosecution of the two agents.
We all know that border agents have to carry guns on their job because drug smugglers at the border often if not always carry guns. While border agents are chasing after suspected drug smugglers at the border, they need to have their gun drawn so that they can fire back for self-defense without delay when necessary.
It is obvious from the context of Section 924 (c)(1)(a) that the mandatory sentence of not less than 10 years in prison for discharging a firearm in (iii) was enacted with the intent of applying it to the situation that the firearm was discharged “in furtherance of” the crime of violence stated in (a).
However, that was not the circumstance in the Compean and Ramos case.
The acts of firing the shots from Compean and Ramos in this case, irrespective of whether they were justified or not, were NOT in furtherance of any crime of violence because up to the point before any shots were fired, all the things that they did were incontrovertibly legal acts of carrying out their duty of protecting the border, which included the arrest of illegal aliens and drug smugglers at the border.
If Mr. Sutton insists that Section 924 (c) (1) (a) (iii) applies to the Compean and Ramos case, which implies that the act of protecting the US border is a crime of violence, so why not arrest all border agents for possessing a firearm and sentence them to not less than 5 years in prison for violating Section 924 (c) (1) (a) ( i )? And why not arrest all border agents who have drawn their guns at the border in preparing for dangerous confrontation with drug smugglers without firing them and sentence them to not less than 7 years in prison for violating Section 924 (c) (1) (a) ( ii) ?
The reason why no body does that is because the act of protecting the border is NOT a crime of violence.
So even if Compean and Ramos were proved to have no justification in firing those shots which had wounded the drug smuggler, their wrongful acts still could NOT be considered as committed in furtherance to a crime of violence and hence their acts of firing the shots can not be considered as felonies under Section 924 (c) (1) (a) (iii) and under any laws in the US but could only be regarded as violations of Border Patrol protocol.
If two border agents had conspired to rob a bank by threatening the bank staff with violence and they fired shots with their official firearms during the robbery, then United States Code Title 18 Section 924 (c) (1) (a) (iii) certainly applies to them and they can be sentenced to no less than 10 years in prison because the discharge of firearms in this case is definitely in furtherance to a crime of violence.
How come the U S Attorney Johnny Sutton can not see the obvious differences between the two situations?
Of courser, we should not tolerate improper and abusive use of violence of any law enforcement officers towards illegal aliens who just want to cross the border to work instead of committing crimes. Any border agent who fired at and wounded an unarmed illegal alien who offered no resistance to arrest or who just tried to run away without any sign of using violence, should be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. But the drug smuggling illegal alien in the Compean and Ramos case could hardly be a non-violent individual as he testified himself to be against the testimony of the two border agents who had good reasons to believe that the drug smuggler could threaten their lives.
I have just proved that The US Attorney Johnny Sutton has made a mind boggling mistake to charge Compean and Ramos with felonies due to his misunderstanding of the United States Code Title 18 Section 924 (c) (1) (a) (iii). I wonder if he had made other mistakes in relating to the Compean and Ramos case.
I know that in order to protect the right of a suspect of a crime who might be coerced or tricked by law enforcement officers into saying something that may be self-condemning when the suspect is actually innocent, the United States Supreme Court has mandated that the Miranda Warning must be given to the suspect by a law enforcement officer or a magistrate before they are asked questions and/or before they make written statements relating to the crime. In Texas the Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter15 Article 15.17 mandates that Miranda Warning be given to the accused by a magistrate after the arrest. The Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 38 Article 38.22 also mandates that proof of Mirada Warning having been given be shown on the face of a written statement written by or signed by the accused, otherwise the statement is not admissible as evidence against the accuse in any criminal proceeding.
The attorneys for Compean and Ramos should check the records see if the Miranda Rights of their clients have been violated in addition to their being wrongfully charged by Mr. Sutton for a felony they did not commit. If that is the case, the verdicts of the trial were wrongful verdicts due to both reasons. Even if their Miranda Rights have not been violated, their guilty verdict is still a wrongful one due to wrongful prosecution under a law which does not apply to this case.
Since it is evident that Compean and Ramos have been wrongfully convicted as felons and they have already paid for whatever administrative violations they may have committed with the jail time they had spent, it is only reasonable that their wrongful convictions be overturned and be released as soon as possible.
The United States of America is now facing a crisis of being invaded by a huge influx of illegal immigrants some of whom have been committing crimes that ruin the lives of law-abiding Americans. We cannot allow this gross miscarriage of justice to destroy the morale of the Border Patrol officers who risk their lives day after day to protect our border and stop the situation from getting worse.
Released border agents Compean and Ramos .
Prosecute drug smuggler Aldrete for his new drug smuggling offence during immunity
I am not related to any law enforcement departments nor am I the relative of any law enforcement officers. In fact I have been a victim of police brutality. When I was in the US as a tourist many years ago I was mistaken by a police officer as a cruiser. He pointed his gun at my head and threatened to kill me if I didn’t go away immediately even though it was very obvious that I posted no danger to him as I was frozen up from fear with both hands on the steering wheels. I went to the police station to file a complaint but was refused and ignored. Do we still have a police brutality problem? Definitely. Do we have problems with border agents abusing their powers? I believe so. But I also believe that many police officers and border agents are doing their job without abusing their power and they have to face criminals and violent illegal immigrants who would not hesitate to harm or even kill them. Sometimes the officers may make wrong judgment due to the immense stress of their work, but we should try to correct the problem reasonably. Giving a drug smuggler immunity for smuggling drugs into the US while wrongfully convicted two border agents as felons for making pardonable mistakes in trying to arrest the drug smuggler is definitely going to make things worse for the safety of America instead of improving it.