When public corruption cases end up in federal court, defense attorney Sean Chapman has experience defending Border Patrol agents on trial. Chapman explained some of the circumstances that can lead to corruption charges.
“What happens quite a bit is that the agents themselves may have grown up in the communities where they’re working,” Chapman said. “What I see happening quite frequently is that maybe some of their relatives are involved in cartel activity and they find themselves getting involved in that way. And somebody that never thought they would do anything like that ends up taking a couple grand to allow a load of drugs to go through the I-19 checkpoint or something like that.”
Once cases make their way to court, Chapman said polarizing views about border issues can make jury selection difficult.
“The community’s really divided. There are a lot of people that think if you’re an agent you can do no wrong and you should be given a medal just for being a law enforcement officer,” Chapman said. “And there are people that want to demonize you because you’re in law enforcement, so it makes it really difficult to find a fair jury in that type of case.”