In relation to Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, the below article from The Monitor is quite telling. It appears a former border patrol agent by the name of David Sipe, who had been found guilty of excessive force against an illegal alien and sentenced to prison back in 2001, has now been acquitted of that charge due to information and documentation that was being withheld by the prosecution for years.
Border patrol agent acquitted in excessive force case
Monitor Staff Writer
BROWNSVILLE — A former U.S. Border Patrol agent was acquitted Friday of using excessive force to arrest an illegal immigrant in a retrial of a 2001 case.
A federal jury said David Sipe was not guilty of using excessive force against Jose Guevarra on April 5, 2000. The case was first tried in front of Judge Ricardo Hinojosa in McAllen’s U.S. District Court in 2001. At the time, a jury found Sipe guilty after a five-day trial.
But while preparing for sentencing in the 2001 case, Sipe’s attorney, Jack Lamar Wolfe, found evidence the U.S. Attorney’s Office had withheld information requested before the trial.
Wolfe cited in a motion for a new trial that prosecutors had not revealed at least four pieces of information:
l A government witness’ criminal background
l Testimony favorable to Sipe by one of his former co-workers
l Additional benefits given to witnesses, like Social Security cards and reimbursements
l Pictures of the victim re-enacting the arrest for investigators
Hinojosa granted the request for a new trial on April 11, 2003.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with the decision for a new trial on Nov. 19, 2004.
Sipe and Wolfe started preparing for a new trial, but Sipe applied for a change of venue in November last year. The case was subsequently moved to Brownsville’s U.S. District Court.
David Sipe is a once convicted criminal who can honestly say he “didn’t do it.”
“Relief. Relief. After 7 years, it’s gone. It’s over.”
The ex-border patrol agent gets a 2001 guilty verdict overturned in his retrial for civil rights violations against a smuggler. The incident dates back to April of 2000 in Penitas.
“He was striking me in the side… he was very close to my weapon… and I had to do what I could to control the situation as fast as I could.”
Fearing for his life, David subdues the smuggler by hitting him with his flashlight. It results in staples to the smugglers head. A border patrol investigation is launched and deems his actions inappropriate– even illegal.
“I don’t know how they’re able to do that… but I don’t think that’s fair.”
Neither did a jury who overturns his conviction from the first trial against him.
David says the government, who he faithfully worked under for nearly 4 years, turns its back on him while rolling out the red carpet, as he puts it, for the illegals turned witnesses.
“They got to stay here and work in our country.”
The smuggler even gets a government settlement.
“80 thousand dollars… he now has his own ranch in Mexico.’
As for David– he doesn’t collect a thing. In fact, his life and family gets ripped apart.
“My house foreclosed on after having to file bankruptcy, my children having to live through this… of course my wife divorcing me.”
Through it all, he says, justice is served. And while most about David is forever changed one thing returns and it’s most important thing to him of all.
“I have my freedom back. I’m a man of honor again.”
What lead to this morning’s “not guilty” verdict reversal against the former border patrol agent? Turns out his attorney says the prosecution in the first trial supressed evidence and lied about benefits given to “Alien” witnesses.
Attorney Jack Wolfe explains.
“They with-held evidence about their witnesses who had prior convictions…they didn’t tell us… they were supposed to tell us. In fact, they told us that they had no witnesses with convictions.”
A new trial was granted and David Sipe’s conviction was thrown out. As a result, Sipe is a free man and fighting to get his job back.