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Editorial:

Local reps. rejoice over agents’ release

January 24, 2009

All the histrionics performed by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher were not the reason Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean got their sentences commuted by then-President Bush last week.

But they didn’t hurt.

Rohrabacher talked about them — and what he perceived as a travesty of justice in their convictions — everywhere he went.

Now, he can sit back and enjoy the fruits of his labor.

“Our prayers have been answered!” Rohrabacher said in a statement released to the media. “This is not just a day of celebration for the families, but it is a victory for all Americans. The hearts of all patriots are filled with joy at the announcement that our brave border defenders ... will be freed from unjust captivity.”

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Rohrabacher wasn’t the only lawmaker jumping for joy.

Rep. John Campbell said he was “very pleased” by the move.

“It’s interesting why he waited until the last day to do it, but either way I think he did right thing,” Campbell said.

Ramos and Compean were serving decade-long sentences after shooting drug smuggler Ovaldo Aldreta-Davila as he fled and for trying to cover up their actions.

The case sparked a national debate over whether the two were simply doing their jobs or whether they went too far.

Rohrabacher was, perhaps, the most ardent and outspoken supporter of the Border Patrol agents, who will be released in the next two months.

He spoke at rallies with the agents’ families and sent out a constant stream of news releases calling for Bush to pardon them or commute their 10-year sentences.

For his part, Campbell said the agents were guilty of wrongdoing, but thought the sentence was excessive.

“They did do something wrong,” Campbell said. “But I thought the sentences were out of line with the crime.”

Whether you agree with Rohrabacher, you have to admire his passion.

In this case, it may have paid off in its own small way. After all, the president can be accused of being a lot of things.

But he’s not deaf.


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