Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX-02) and Congressman Bill Delahunt (D-MA-12) led a bipartisan effort to appeal to President George W. Bush to personally intervene and commute the sentences of US Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
In response to the recent decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the most serious, yet the most unjustified charge the letter urges President Bush to consider the improper application of the 924c gun-use charge, requiring a mandatory ten year sentence, and the far reaching implications this case has on the security of our nation.
Clearly, we feel the law was misapplied and law enforcement officers who are on duty and during the pursuit or apprehension of an individual who they believed had committed a crime should be an exception, the letter states. The severity of the charges and the harshness of the punishment are totally disproportionate to the violation in question.
It was never the intent of Congress to have the gun-use charge apply to law enforcement officers carrying a firearm is a requirement of the job, said Poe. Congress must take action immediately to clarify for the courts what seems to be perfectly clear for the rest of America. This sends a demoralizing message to law enforcement in our country and an encouraging message to those wishing to do us harm. I respectively request that President Bush consider the merits of this request, and the far reaching effects on the rule of law in our country, and restore justice by commuting the sentences of agents Ramos and Compean.
Congressman Bill Delahunt urged President Bush to take immediate action. As a former prosecutor and District Attorney, I have a strong appreciation for the rule of law in our country, said Delahunt. It's outrageous that these men should be serving more time than killers and rapists. To hit them with a gun charge carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years is harsh and unnecessary. I once again urge the President to exercise his executive power and right this wrong immediately.
Congressman Poe served as a prosecutor and judge in Houston, Texas for more than 30 years and is recognized nationally for his tough sentencing of criminals and support for law enforcement. For more information on Congressman Poe and his efforts, please visit our website: http://vrc-poe.house.gov/.
Congressman Delahunt, former prosecutor and District Attorney in Massachusetts for over two decades, is recognized for his commitment to law enforcement and lifelong dedication to safeguarding civil rights in Congress. For more information on Congressman Delahunt, please visit our website: http://www.house.gov/delahunt/.