Madam Speaker, before I came to Congress, I had a career in public service in Texas, first as a prosecutor for 8 years. I was a chief felony prosecutor and tried felony cases in Houston, Texas. And then I assumed the bench for 22 years and tried felony criminal cases and heard over 25,000 felony cases.
And I say that to say during that time, both as a prosecutor and as a judge, I heard cases where peace officers were the victims of crime and I heard cases where peace officers were accused of criminal conduct against other individuals, people they had arrested. And I want to talk about a situation that has occurred down to the Texas-Mexico border involving a Border Patrol agent by the name of David Sipes. David Sipes was a Border Patrol agent patrolling the south Texas area, and he came in contact with a coyote. A coyote is a phrase we use in the vernacular for a person who is a smuggler of human beings into the United States. He makes money off of the plight of people who want to be in the United States for economic reasons.
David Sipes arrested a coyote by the name of Jose Guevara, who resisted arrest. There was a fight that ensued and David Sipes hit Jose Guevara in the back of the head when he resisted arrest and he was charged with smuggling people into the United States.
But what happened was, the U.S. Attorney's Office, rather than prosecute the human smuggler, they decided to prosecute the Border Patrol agent for using too much force in arresting the coyote and charged him with civil rights violations against the illegal in this country smuggling other human beings.
David Sipes was tried for that offense. This all occurred back in April 2000. He was tried for that offense, civil rights violations, and the U.S. Attorney's Office vigorously and relentlessly prosecuted him for this so-called offense. But after the trial it turned out, after he was convicted of the civil rights violation, that the U.S. Attorney's Office hid evidence from David Sipes and his lawyer.
So the district judge ordered a new trial because the U.S. Attorney's Office cannot hide evidence in a criminal case, but they did so against this Border Patrol agent. Why? We don't know, but they did. So the district judge ordered the case to be retried. But before it could be retried, the U.S. Attorney's Office appealed the judge's decision, and the Fifth Circuit agreed with the trial judge that David Sipes was entitled to a new trial and the Federal Government's appeal was thrown out and this year David Sipes was retried.
The jury heard all of the evidence, evidence that the U.S. Attorney's Office hid from the jury when it was first tried, and in less than an hour David Sipes was found not guilty, and properly so.
The evidence that the U.S. Attorney's Office hid from the jury, well, first of all they never told the jury that the U.S. Attorney's Office gave this drug smuggler travel expenses so he could go back and forth to Mexico, that they gave him witness fees, that they gave him free telephone access, that they gave him a border crossing permit, that they gave him a U.S. Social Security card, and they even gave him a Texas driver's license. But the biggest thing that the jury never heard about, besides all these benefits, back room deals he was given, it turns out that this human smuggler brought in another load of humans into the United States and the jury never heard about the second situation.
Why does our U.S. Attorney's Office hide this type of evidence from a jury? We are going to find out why, Madam Speaker. Not only that, but Guevara was given $80,000 by our United States Government when he threatened to sue our government for his so-called illegal arrest, and reports are that he has gone back to Mexico and bought himself a ranch down there with American taxpayer money.
Madam Speaker, just last week David Sipes asked to receive back pay. Of course, our Federal Government fought that, too, but he received back pay for the 6 or 7 years that he was out of service with the Border Patrol. But his life was destroyed. His wife divorced him because of this. He went bankrupt. He is destitute and he lives with his original trial lawyer. All of this because our Federal Government fought every inch of the way to prosecute a Border Patrol agent for arresting a criminal on our border smuggling human beings instead of prosecuting a human smuggler, a coyote.
Our government had the choice, prosecute border agent or prosecute human smuggler, and our government chose poorly, and they prosecuted a Border Patrol agent.
Of course we all know this isn't the end of the story because with agents Ramos and Compean the same situation has occurred. But, Madam Speaker, justice is the one thing we should always find. And finally, after 7 years, a jury heard all of the evidence in this particular case and David Sipes was vindicated and our government chose the wrong side. We are going to follow this case and other cases and see why the government has gone wild about prosecuting Border Patrol agents.
And that's just the way it is.
CLICK TO WATCH