Johnny Sutton, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, has expressed respect for then-President George W. Bush's decision on Jan. 19 — Bush's last full day in the Oval Office — to commute the long prison sentences of former U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and his co-defendant Jose Alonso Compean. So, too, have two former U.S. attorneys from Texas. “There was a general consensus that they were too severely punished,” says Matt Orwig (pictured on left), a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas and now managing partner in the Dallas office of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal. Richard Roper (pictured on right), a former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas who this month left to become a partner in the Dallas office of Thompson & Knight, says, “I believe they were justly convicted.” But, he says, he believes the sentences were overly harsh because there exist mandatory 10-year prison terms for the charge each man was convicted of related to their use of a firearm during an assault. Law enforcement officers, he notes, carry firearms as part of their jobs.
-- Miriam Rozen