Thursday, June 21, 2007

Johnny Sutton has this story about Johnny Sutton, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas. Sutton, you may recall, was the prosecutor of U.S. Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, which I've been following. Sutton continues to stand his ground, basically saying they got what they deserved. A while back, I pointed to the transcript of an interview Glenn Beck did with Sutton, but didn't take the time then to break it down at all. Here's some of the interview:

BECK: Let`s start with the alleged cover-up. The two agents go, and they shoot at the drug smuggler...

SUTTON: Fifteen times.

BECK: ... 15 times, they shoot at him. He`s running away. He`s shot in the butt. Forensics show that it looks like he may have been turned around, which shows that he was running. They go and pick up the shell casings, right?


BECK: OK. There are two agents -- I`m sorry, seven agents and two supervisors there. What kind of cover-up is going on when they`re picking up the shell casings with seven -- or, I`m sorry, nine other people?

SUTTON: Right, and that`s another big part of the misinformation here. At the time of the shooting, there were not seven agents. There was three. And that`s Compean, Ramos and Agent Juarez, who is standing right there. I mean, they have this drug dealer in a ditch with his hands in the air. All they had to do was put the handcuffs on him. And, instead, someone yells in English, "Hit him," and Compean tries to hit him with the shotgun.

BECK: According to the drug smuggler.

SUTTON: No, no, Juarez says that, and Compean says that. I`m sorry, the drug smuggler and Compean say somebody said, "Hit him," in English. I mean, Compean admits that in his own testimony.

BECK: But you said -- I`ve heard you on several problems -- you said the real problem here is the cover-up. So, again, I`ve got nine agents, including two supervisors, there, watching people pick up the...

SUTTON: No, all those people show up later.

BECK: Really?

SUTTON: All those people show up later. And even Compean and Ramos admit that the supervisors weren`t there. They admit that in their own testimony at trial, supervisors weren`t there. There were agents who were involved in a cover-up. Agent Vazquez picked up the shell casings with Compean. Compean only found nine of his 14 shots, so he was missing five shells. Vazquez went back and picked those up and threw them away and called them on his cell phone.
If you read that closely, you can see Sutton twisting his responses to avoid the facts that Glenn received from official government documents regarding the case. Glenn is asking where the cover-up is when there are seven agents and two supervisors there when the casings are being picked up. Sutton's response is to say that those agents weren't there at the time of the shooting. So to clear this up, there were three agents there at the time of the shooting, then by the time the casings were picked up, there were seven agents and two supervisors there.

So if Ramos and Compean are being prosecuted for the cover-up, Sutton's got some explaining to do about why the other five agents and two supervisors weren't prosecuted as well. Sutton himself says that Vazquez was involved in picking up the casings, but Vazquez (or Juarez as Sutton previously referred to him) was not prosecuted.

And I don't get the "somebody said, 'Hit him,' in English" argument. So an agent who sees his partner with his firearm ready, and thinks the suspect is armed and ready to shoot, cannot say "Hit him"? Or can he just not say it in English? But I do continue to appreciate the U.S. Government building a case on the testimony of an illegal alien drug smuggler. That's nice.

Here's some more:
BECK: ... Let me give you -- this comes from the Department of Homeland Security. This is the actual report. You didn`t have the FBI. You had the Department of Homeland Security investigate this. So this is from their actual report, that they were on location during the shooting incident or of the shooting incident. They assisted in destroying the evidence of the shooting and/or knew or heard about the shooting, and it lists all of them, including the two supervisors.

SUTTON: Everyone agrees, including Compean and Ramos, their supervisors were not on the scene. And even their own testimony says, "We didn`t tell our supervisors. We just assumed someone else did."

Look, when you shoot somebody, you`ve got to say that you shot somebody. You don`t have to incriminate yourself, but you at least have to explain that guns were fired so the investigation. And, by the way, Ramos is on the sector evidence team, so he knows, whenever there`s a shooting, you`ve got to mark it, you`ve got clear it off, you`ve got to pick up the evidence.

BECK: Sure. But you don`t write a report, do you?

SUTTON: No, you do write a report.

BECK: No, you report to your supervisor orally, I understand.

SUTTON: Right, what you do is you must report within one hour of a shooting. And then you don`t have to...


BECK: And if your supervisors were coming to the scene, you would just assume that it...


SUTTON: You`re supposed to tell them that, "I shot 15 times at a guy who pointed a gun at me."

BECK: So is that 10 years for assuming that nine people there on the scene pretty much understood it? Is it 10 years...

SUTTON: No, 10 years is for committing a number of serious crimes. When you shoot an unarmed guy in the back.
Again, there's Sutton twisting the timeline, in addition to forgetting what the reporting procedure is. I find it extremely believable that Ramos and Compean didn't tell their supervisors "I shot 15 times at a guy who pointed a gun at me" because they were there while the casings were being picked up. To me, that's a bit like going into your boss's office each day to tell him that you're at work. It's not like they needed documentation - it's supposed to be an oral report, remember Johnny?

One final portion:
SUTTON: Then it becomes a debate about punishment. And that is a different -- I have a lot of sympathy for those who say, look, punishment is too high, you know, 10 years. I agree. Punishment in this case is extremely...

BECK: Really? You agree?

SUTTON: I agree it`s extremely high.

BECK: Have you written the president? Have you written your good friend, Gonzales, about this?

SUTTON: What I say about that is the punishment is set by Congress. They set...

BECK: So you have no discretion, you can`t write the president and say, "Come on"?

SUTTON: I do have discretion.

BECK: Have you made that? Have you written it?

SUTTON: And we have discretion at the beginning of the trial with regard to plea bargains and things like that. And what people have said...


BECK: So you can`t make a recommendation?

SUTTON: We have no interest. We have no interest.

BECK: You can`t make the reconstruction?

SUTTON: With regard to a pardon or clemency, at some point, the Department of Justice will probably ask for my recommendation. And when that comes, we`ll make one.
Another great part. I love the "I have a lot of sympathy ... the punishment is too high ... I have discretion ... We have no interest ... at some point they'll probably ask for my recommendation" part. This is what I hate about politicians - and yeah, I consider this guy a politician. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I call it a duck. Stop talking out of both sides of you butt, say what you mean, mean what you say, and stand up for your convictions!

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