William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Monday, 19, January, 2009

I Beg Pardon?

Filed under: Forensics,Politics,Social Commentary — williamthecoroner @ 21:41

In one of his last acts in office, President George W. Bush has commuted the sentences of two Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.

This was a bad idea.  These two men shot a fleeing, unarmed man in the back and then destroyed evidence and lied about it.  Now, their victim, was certainly a no-goodnik.  He was Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, an illegal alien and a drug dealer.  I’m not a big fan of either illegal aliens or drug dealers.  But neither of those reasons are grounds for summary execution.  I’d hate to be a police officer, and be subject to second guessing of my actions by folks who’ve never been in law enforcement.

Having said that, there are some behaviours that are clearly beyond the pale.  Covering up a shooting and destroying evidence remove Ramos and Compean from the good-guy list.  Those actions point to a guilty mind.  If they thought it was a righteous shooting, they would have stood by their actions.  Obviously, they didn’t.

A uniform and a badge are not a license to lie.  They also do not make one judge and jury.  There are no exemptions to laws because people are elected officials, or law enforcement officers.  If you start making exemptions, you don’t have the rule of law, you have a system that is capricious, arbitrary, and by definition, unfair.

And once you start allowing folks to be unfair in some circumstances, what’s to stop them from being capricious and unfair in all circumstances.



  1. well said.

    Comment by JIGSAW — Monday, 19, January, 2009 @ 23:33 | Reply

  2. I’m hazy on the details, and from what I can gather the details are pretty important. Generally my inclination is that shooting a guy — even the devil s/h/itself — in the back is rather more than merely impolite; you or I would be hanged, drawn, and quartered for doing so (probably just metaphorically); and for LEOs to get special consideration is more reminiscent of a police state than a free country. That said, there’s some good discussion in the posts and the comments on LawDog’s and Marko’s sites.

    Comment by bluntobject — Wednesday, 21, January, 2009 @ 00:31 | Reply

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