Monday, 09 June 2008

Ethics Complaint Filed Against U.S. Attorney in Ramos-Compean Case

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Johnny SuttonChristian Pastor Don Swarthout has filed an ethics complaint with the Texas Bar Association seeking an investigation of U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton’s performance during the prosecution of U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. His complaint alleges that Sutton issued “willfully misleading” statements to the jury that convicted the two men of wrongfully shooting at a drug smuggler attempting to cross into the United States.

The drug smuggler, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, was in the act of transporting one million dollars’ worth of marijuana when intercepted by the two agents. When Ramos believed the man was about to shoot him, he fired and one of his bullets hit the fleeing smuggler in the buttocks. Aldrete-Davila nevertheless escaped across the border, not seriously hurt. Sutton charged the two men with acting without supervisor approval, moving spent shell casings, and not properly reporting that they had fired shots at a suspect. The two are serving 11- and 12-year sentences in solitary confinement in federal prisons.

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Swarthout claims the “whole case stinks to the highest parts of heaven.” He asked, “How is it possible in America to convict two border agents based on the word of a known Mexican drug smuggler?” The president of Christians Reviving America’s Values, Swarthout compared Sutton to the lawyer in the Duke lacrosse team case who has since suffered several penalties for withholding evidence that would have cleared the students.

The convictions of Ramos and Compean have been questioned by many who insist that jurors were not informed of Aldrete-Davila’s continued drug trafficking and were not told that the Border Patrol agent who testified against the two men was a life-long friend of the smuggler. Swarthout also wonders why several jurors claim they were pressured to render a guilty verdict.