The Champion

April 2007 , Page 4 

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Border Shooting Provides Window of Opportuniy Regarding Mandatory Minimums

By Martin S. Pinales

Read more President's Column columns.

There was a recent trial in Texas involving two border patrol agents who shot an unarmed drug smuggler in the backside as he ran away from them. Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean fired 15 shots, and afterwards they picked up the shell casings and decided not to report the incident. The agents refused a plea deal, thinking no jury would convict “cops” for shooting a Mexican.

Because of mandatory minimum sentencing statutes, Ramos and Compean received lengthy prison sentences (11 and 12 years, respectively). These sentences have sparked an outrage among grassroots organizations and lawmakers. U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone denied a motion for the two to remain free on bond pending appeal.

Supporters of the border agents have deemed the judge’s ruling a “disgraceful act” and said the government should be ashamed for taking the word of a drug smuggler. They have started a petition demanding a presidential pardon for the two men now viewed by many as heroe

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