Letter to President Bush calling for inquiry of Johnny Sutton's conduct

03/16/2007

16 March 2007

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing on behalf of the membership of the Fraternal Order of Police to request that you direct U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to have the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) to launch a formal inquiry into the conduct of Johnny Sutton, United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas.

The conduct of Mr. Sutton relative to the cases against U.S. Border Patrol Agents Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos as well as Edwards County Deputy Sheriff Guillermo Hernandez has been called very much into question, with respect to how he decided to pursue and prosecute these men.

The two Border Patrol Agents, both Americans of Mexican descent, are currently serving lengthy prison sentences after being convicted of several offenses during an encounter with a Mexican drug-dealer who had illegally crossed the border into the United States. The drug dealer, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, who had 743 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle at the time of the encounter, is the only eyewitness to these supposed offenses. According to Agents Compean and Ramos, he assaulted one of the agents and, during his flight back across the border, aimed a firearm at them—a contention supported by the entry wound that Aldrete-Davila received when the officers fired at him in self-defense.

Similarly, Mr. Sutton chose to aggressively pursue the prosecution of Deputy Sheriff Hernandez, who fired shots in self-defense at a vehicle which was trying to run him down. A Mexican national, illegally present in the United States (as were the other passengers in the vehicle), was wounded by a ricocheting bullet. Despite every indication that the officer fired in self-defense, U.S. Attorney Sutton—just as he did in the cases against Agents Compean and Ramos—sought out foreign nationals to testify against this sworn law enforcement officer. In all three cases, the foreign national that witnessed the event was in violation of Federal law.

It has been alleged that the U.S. Attorney pursued these cases with vigor at the expressed wish of the Mexican government. If this is the case—if a United States Attorney is prosecuting U.S. law enforcement officers who defend themselves in life-threatening situations against Mexican nationals illegally present or conducting illegal activity within the borders of the United States—then we need to know about it. Law enforcement officers are sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not act at the behest of foreign governments.

In the case against the Border Patrol Agents, Mr. Sutton granted full immunity to a foreign national and known drug smuggler who illegally entered this country with 743 pounds of marijuana, who assaulted and, then, while fleeing across the border and beyond the reach of the United States, aimed a firearm at two Federal law enforcement officers. Unlike the two Federal agents he confronted, he faced no prosecution, no conviction and will serve no time in prison.

Similarly, Mr. Sutton granted full immunity to the driver of the vehicle, who was paid to drive several foreign nationals across the border, and to those foreign nationals whose presence in the United States was a violation of Federal law, in exchange for their testimony against Deputy Sheriff Hernandez.

Prosecutors are supposed to prosecute criminals based on the testimony of law enforcement officers, not prosecute law enforcement officers by offering immunity to criminals in exchange for their testimony. That said, the FOP understands that, in some cases, you must make decisions and bargain with those guilty of violating the law. But the decisions in these three cases are so unusual, they bear official scrutiny.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention to this request. Please feel free to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco if I can be of any additional assistance in this matter.

Sincerely,

Chuck Canterbury
National President