On the trial of the Border Patrol Agents Ramos & Compean; Was the drug smuggler they shotright-handed or left-handed and why does the question matter?In numerous articles, including one from my favorite magazine, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culturehttp://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/, writers report that the drug smuggler Aldrete-Davila was left-handed.Scouting through the trial transcripts online, however, I saw some disagreement on this point. Aldrete-Davila testified on direct-examination that he was right-handed. Aldrete-DavilaDirect Examination by Attorney for the government’s prosecution, Assistant United States Attorney Jose Luis Gonzalez, at page 107, lines 5 & 6, Volume VII of XVIII, February 22,2006. (Question: “…[A]re you right-handed or left-handed? Answer: “I am right-handed.”)http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/txw/press_releases/Compean-Ramos/Volume%207.pdf.Granted, the statement was in the present tense, so it is possible that Aldrete-Davis, agrown man, went from left-hand dominant to right-hand dominant in the year that elapsedfrom the incident to the trial, but that sounds impossibly unlikely.On cross-examination, defense counsel did not directly challenge Aldrete-Davila on hisright or left-handedness. The most they did to impeach his credibility was a sort ofdemonstration. Ramos’ defense counsel Mary Stillinger had Aldrete-Davis indicate, with a pointer, his location and course of travel on several maps. Although the transcriptrecords that such indicating took place [e.g. (indicating)], it does not record which hand Aldrete-Davis used. But there was this exchange:12 Q. Okay. Mr. Aldrete, I noticed when you're using the pointer13 you're holding your right hand up with your left. Do you have14 a problem with your right hand?15 A. I don't have -- I don't have a -- my hand doesn't hold16 steady.17 Q. Okay. Because I thought I saw you earlier holding it with18 your left hand.19 A. No. It's my right. Aldrete-Davila Cross-Examination by Attorney for defendant Ramos, Mary Stillinger, at page172, lines 12-19, Volume of XVIII, February 22, 2006.http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/txw/press_releases/Compean-Ramos/Volume%207.pdf.But that was it for defense counsel challenging Aldrete-Davila on the issue of whether hewas left-handed or right-handed.Recall Agent Ramos was already locked into his story that Aldrete-Davis turned around tohis left and seemingly pointed something shiny, possibly a gun, in the direction of Ramosand his partner, Agent Compean. Ramos eventually stuck with this version of events in histestimony when called as a defense witness.Returning to the prosecution's case, the prosecution also bolstered Aldrete-Davila’sdirect testimony with the direct testimony of Special Agent, U.S. Dept. of HomelandSecurity, Office of Inspector General, Christopher Sanchez. Sanchez testified that, inthe course of his investigation of the events, he observed Aldrete-Davila writing anddrawing maps and otherwise displaying right-hand dominance. Christopher Sanchez DirectExamination by Attorney for the government’s prosecution, Assistant United States AttorneyDebra Kanof, 34-35, lines 17-25 and 1-8, respectively, Volume X11 of XVIII, March 1, 2006.http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/txw/press_releases/Compean-Ramos/Volume%2012.pdf. Now, Mr. Sanchez was and is a family relation of Aldrete-Davila, but the fact remains heoffered unchallenged testimony on this right-handed versus left-handed issue.