Full Story Here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/20/wa...ntence.html?hp
By DAVID STOUT
Published: January 19, 2009
WASHINGTON — President Bush on Monday commuted the sentences of two former border patrol agents who had been sentenced to more than a decade in prison for shooting and seriously wounding a Mexican drug dealer in Texas in 2005.
With a day left in his presidency, Mr. Bush exercised his constitutional power to grant clemency — for the last time, according to a senior White House official — in a case that has touched off fierce debate in the Southwest. The two former agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, had attracted considerable support among advocates of tougher border security, who argued that the agents were just doing their jobs.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” the lead prosecutor in the case said in 2007, scoffing at the idea that the defendants were defending themselves. The agents said at trial that they had scuffled with the dealer, Osvaldo Aldrete Davila.
“These agents shot someone whom they knew to be unarmed and running away,” said the prosecutor, United States Attorney Johnny Sutton. “They destroyed evidence, covered up a crime scene and then filed false reports about what happened. It is shocking that there are people who believe it is O.K. for agents to shoot an unarmed suspect who is running away.”
The incident touched off heated debate about law enforcement and illegal immigration. A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 2007 brought out the fact that Mr. Aldrete-Davila had crossed the United States-Mexican border illegally and driving a van containing 743 pounds of marijuana worth almost $1 million.