Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RugerNiner, Feb 7, 2007.

  1. RugerNiner

    RugerNiner New Member

    Apr 8, 2003
    Lancaster, Pa.
    Texas deputy to pay price for defending self
    By Jerry Seper
    February 2, 2007

    A Texas deputy sheriff who fired shots at a fleeing vehicle after the driver tried to run him down faces 10 years in prison for injuring one of the passengers, a Mexican national being smuggled illegally into the United States.

    The U.S. attorney, who won lengthy prison terms last year for two U.S. Border Patrol agents in the shooting of a drug-smuggling suspect, also prosecuted Edwards County Deputy Sheriff Guillermo F. Hernandez, who is to be sentenced next month.

    The deputy's boss, Sheriff Donald G. Letsinger, said his officer -- who had been on the job for a year -- "followed the letter of the law" in defending himself in the April 2005 incident and questioned why the government brought charges.

    "This is a fine young man, and I just don't believe he committed the wrong of which he was accused," Sheriff Letsinger said. "I have never had anything hurt me so badly as this prosecution. We've got to make this right."

    Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican, called the prosecution and conviction of Hernandez, known to his friends as "Gilmer," "another example of how the federal government is more concerned about people [who are] illegally invading America than it is about the men who protect America."

    "Once again, our government is on the wrong side of the border war," Mr. Poe said.
    The deputy's Dec. 1 conviction has enraged his hometown of Rocksprings, Texas, population 1,250, where "Free Gilmer" signs have been posted. The Baptist church is paying the deputy's mortgage and others have come up with costs for the family's truck, propane and water bills.

    Hernandez, 25, and his wife, Ashley, have a 4-month-old daughter.
    "The town is outraged that this has happened to our deputy," said the Rev. Albert Green, pastor at the First Baptist Church. "Those people were in this country illegally, and they tried to run him down. They were the criminals, but the prosecutors made our deputy out to be the criminal.

    "I do not know a single person who doesn't feel Gilmer was prosecuted for doing his job," said Mr. Green, who is the deputy's pastor. "I do not know a finer, more well-behaved gentleman. He would not purposely or willfully hurt anyone."

    U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, appointed in October 2001 by President Bush, said Hernandez fired shots at the vehicle as it sped away "knowing it was occupied with the nine individuals," at least seven of whom were illegal aliens -- some of whom later were called to testify for the government.

    Hernandez was convicted after a jury trial in U.S. District Court in Del Rio, Texas, 75 miles southwest of Rocksprings -- found guilty of violating "under the color of law" the civil rights of Maricela Rodriguez-Garcia, a Mexican national.

    The woman was struck in the lip by bullet or other metal fragments after an 11:50 p.m. traffic stop in Rocksprings in April 2005. Reports said Hernandez fired shots at the blue Chevrolet Suburban's rear tires as it sped off after being stopped for running a red light.

    Acquitted on a second count regarding injury to another passenger, he will be sentenced March 12 at the Del Rio court.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Baumann, who prosecuted the case, told reporters that the law does not give law-enforcement officers the right to use "deadly force to stop a car unless it poses an imminent threat to the officer or another person. If the car is going away from you, it's not even a close call."

    Mr. Sutton's office convicted Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos, 37, and Jose Alonso Compean, 28, on charges of causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm in a crime of violence and a civil rights violation. They were sentenced to 11 and 12 years, respectively.

    Shana Jones, spokeswoman for Mr. Sutton, did not return calls for comment yesterday.

    Sheriff Letsinger said an investigation found that Hernandez approached the vehicle and found only the driver was sitting upright and suspected the others were illegal aliens. He said the driver, after being asked to step out of the vehicle, pulled forward and turned into Hernandez -- fleeing from what the sheriff described as the deputy's "legal stop."

    Thinking the driver had tried to run him over, he said Hernandez fired at the vehicle's rear tires. He said at least one of the people inside the vehicle confirmed that the driver had turned it into the deputy.

    Sheriff Letsinger, with three deputies to handle all law-enforcement matters in a 2,000-square-mile county, called the Texas Rangers after the incident to investigate what happened. He said he also called the Mexican Consulate because Mexican nationals were involved, and the consulate later notified the FBI.

    The Rangers' incident report, the sheriff said, noted that after firing shots, Hernandez returned to his patrol car, notified dispatch and pursued the vehicle until it crashed into a fence -- at which time the occupants, except for Mrs. Rodriguez-Garcia, fled.
    Mrs. Rodriguez-Garcia, Ivonne Hernandez Morales and Candido Garcia Perez, all occupants in the vehicle, told investigators that they paid $2,000 to be taken across the Rio Grande from Acuna, Mexico. They said they later met the vehicle's driver and a guide, who were to take them to Austin and Dallas.

    Sheriff Letsinger also said the Rangers and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents, using dogs and metal detectors, found four shell casings at the traffic stop site but none at the crash site -- discounting claims by two of the vehicle's occupants that Hernandez fired shots at them as they fled the vehicle.
    The Texas Rangers did not respond to calls yesterday.

    Noting that prosecutors offered the deputy probation in exchange for a guilty plea, the sheriff said, "This young man didn't do anything wrong and wasn't about to say he had. I think that speaks to his character."

    In the Border Patrol case, Ramos and Compean testified that they shot Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila in the buttocks only after he assaulted Compean and pointed a weapon at both of them. Prosecutors and later a federal jury in El Paso disagreed.

    Aldrete-Davila abandoned 743 pounds of marijuana before fleeing back into Mexico.
  2. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

    Mar 27, 2003
    At SouthernMoss' side forever!
    In my opinion, Sutton should be impeached and disbarred for making false statements in a court of law and continuing to pursue a cause knowingly using said false statements. I base this opinion on the many statements coming out in the Border Patrol cases proving that Sutton used tainted evidence to convict.

    This case cited here appears to have the same earmarks......

  3. njretcop

    njretcop New Member

    Apr 18, 2004
    The Texas Bar Association needs to investigate the actions of US Attorney Johnny Sutton now!
  4. 358 winchester

    358 winchester New Member

    Apr 25, 2004
    Pensacola Fl. area
  5. Marlin, it is a clear case of the abuse of judicial power for the furtherence of one man's political agenda. No nation on Earth places as much power in the hands of its judiciary as the United States. When that power is abused, as it so obviously was in both of the cases mentioned, respect for the law is commensurately diminished. Tell me, my learned attorney friend, has the legal concept of "equity" now been totally abandoned in favor of doctrinaire interpretation of statute? It would certainly appear so in these cases.

    All I have to say to that, Ron, is make sure the 'gators are hungry! :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2007
  6. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

    Mar 27, 2003
    At SouthernMoss' side forever!
    Equity and Common Sense were my basic watchwords all those years that I was either prosecuting or on the bench.
  7. Knowing you, Marlin, I have not the slightest doubt about that. The real question, however, is whether or not common sense thinking, such as you displayed, has become singularly unique in the courts of our land. It seems to me that when we live in an environment where a restaurant chain can be successfully sued for serving a hot cup of coffee, and a criminal can present the defense of having eaten too many Twinkies for lunch--without being laughed out of court--there is something terribly wrong with the system. When I say this to you, I know I am essentially "preaching to the choir," yet what I don't understand is what happened to justice in this country? What happened to common sense and a desire to do what is fair and equitable in any given case? Why is it that we consistantly see the rights and beliefs of the vast majority sacrificed on the altar of "political correctness?"
  8. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk New Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    South Central Texas
    the bible tells what happens to countries that don't have justice practiced in them and I think we are at that point now.
  9. You may well be right, Night. Sometimes I think we're being slowly nibbled away by cockroaches. :(
  10. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

    Mar 27, 2003
    At SouthernMoss' side forever!
    That, mon ami, is the million dollar question. Beginning with the end of WWII it seems all has steadily gone down hill, with the speed gathering to a peak perhaps seven to ten years ago where it all fell off the cliff. It began with the first legislating from the bench when those of that leaning tried it on for size. When they found they could get away with it, their thirst for more and more ran wild. We well meaning folk stood by like the silent majority and let it happen, much as docile sheep let the wolf play havoc.

    A few of us who disagreed and steadfastly stood by the Constitution had a hard row to hoe and endured much criticism casting a light among the darkness, but, alas, we were not enough to hold the line. Now we have routine cases such as the Border Agents and the prosecutors lying or bending the truth for their own selfish gain with no consciences whatsoever. The result is the Bill Clintons, Suttons and Nifongs still in office, not impeached and/or not disbarred while innocents remain stomped on and grossly wronged.....
  11. And, I very much fear my learned friend, we have the beginnings of a police state where "justice" is no longer a matter of law and equity, but rather the whim of the politicos and corrupted jurists. Some of the decisions I see coming out of courts like the 9th Circuit in California make me wonder if Carl Schmitt is not still alive and well. :(
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2007
  12. VegasTech702

    VegasTech702 New Member

    Sep 10, 2006
    Las Vegas, NV
    This country is getting really retarded
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