Border Agents Irked By New U.S. Attorney’s Handling of Murder Case
By Andrew Ramonas | July 6, 2010 11:54 am

Laura Duffy (DOJ)

Some U.S. Border Patrol agents told the voiceofsandiego.org in a report Monday that they are still upset about how the new Southern District of California U.S. Attorney handled the prosecution of a 16-year-old convicted of murdering one of their colleagues.

The law enforcement officials told the news website they were unsatisfied with the 40-year sentence Mexican national Christian Daniel Castro-Alvarez received in April for his role in the murder of border agent Robert Rosas. The teenager faced a life sentence in the case handled by Southern District of California U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.

“It’s just demoralizing for our agents,” Shawn Moran, vice president of the the agents’ union, National Border Patrol Council, told voiceofsandiego.org.  “We’ve always known we’re at the bottom of the pecking order. We can’t get an assault charge to save our lives when we are assaulted, but we thought if one of us is murdered, that no deals would be cut. You just don’t cut deals with people like this.”

The news website said it isn’t certain why Castro received a 40-year-sentence. Duffy declined to comment on the matter to voiceofsandiego.org in her first interview since becoming U.S. Attorney last month.

But Duffy, a 16-year veteran of the San Diego-based U.S. Attorney’s office, has support from other law enforcement officials, including the acting Border Patrol deputy chief of the San Diego sector.

“U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy is a top-notch prosecutor who is tuned in to border issues,” Rodney Scott, the acting deputy chief, told the news website. “She has been a good friend of the Border Patrol for many years and we look forward to working with her.”

Duffy told voiceofsandiego.org that combating border crime and national security issues are  her top priorities. But the prosecutor said she will also focus on efforts to fight financial fraud.

The U.S. Attorney, who is openly gay, said she hopes her tenure as U.S. Attorney will be known for her work and not just her sexual orientation.

“I am honored that people would follow and celebrate the successes of my career, and I take to heart even the possibility that my being open about my orientation may lessen the stigma or apparent limitations even one individual feels,” Duffy told the news website. “It is my sincerest hope, that in the days and months to come, the thing that I become most known and celebrated for is the quality of my leadership and the continued good work of this office.”

Read the full interview here.

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