On January 19, 2009, President George W. Bush commuted the sentences of two former border control agents. Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos were convicted in 2006 of assault, discharge of a weapon in the commission of a crime of violence, tampering with an official proceeding, and deprivation of civil rights. The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit had issued a ruling upholding their convictions in July 2008. President Bush did not pardon the men, but reduced their original, 10-year sentences on the basis that such a penalty was excessive. The men were ultimately released in March 2009.
Learn more about the laws governing presidential pardons and commutations from the JURIST news archive.