Bush Commutes Sentences of Border Patrol Agents (Updated)
Fox News just announced that President George W. Bush has commuted the sentences of — but not pardoned — two unjustly-convicted U.S. Border Patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
According to an Associated Press report citing a senior administration official, Bush decided against a pardon and opted instead to commute the prison sentences he believed were excessive.
While welcome, the news is too long in coming for the agents who began serving a combined 23 years in prison Jan. 17, 2007, after being charged with what they described as a nonexistent crime and being convicted by a jury given improper instructions by the trial judge.
Furthermore, the commutation of sentences means that the two will carry criminal records with them for the remainder of their lives — unless, that is, another president opts to grant them a full pardon at some future date.
UPDATE 1/19/09 at 1:06 p.m. Central: Below is a link to the White House news release about the commutations: