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US Opposes Mexican's Execution for the RAPE and MURDER of a 16 year old American

Lyle Denniston Reporter
Posted Friday, July 1st, 2011 6:26 pm

U.S. opposes Mexican’s execution
The Obama Administration takes the rare step of urging the Court to block temporarily a state from executing a convicted individual — in this case, a Mexican national who contends that Texas violated his rights under an international treaty, the Vienna Convention.
Making the unusual move of trying to stop a state execution, the Obama Administration on Friday afternoon urged the Supreme Court to delay temporarily the scheduled execution in Texas next Thursday of a Mexican national, Humberto Leal Garcia, convicted of the kidnap, rape, and murder of a 16-year-old girl in 1995. Speaking for the Justice and State Departments, Solicitor General Donald B.Verrilli, Jr., argued that Leal’s execution would cause the U.S. to violate treaty obligations with “serious repercussions” for foreign policy and would raise threats of retaliation to Americans who travel or work abroad.
Leal’s American attorneys, strongly supported by the Mexican government and several other foreign governments, are seeking to postpone his execution for the same reasons that Verrilli offered Friday: that there is not time, before next Thursday, for Congress to pass a new law that would give Leal and other foreigners convicted of crimes in the U.S. a right to challenge their conviction because they were denied their treaty rights under the Vienna Convention. That treaty supposedly guarantees a foreign national a right to consult with agents of his home country when arrested for crimes in another nation.
It is rare for the federal government to go to the Court to support delays of execution in state cases. The new legal efforts of Leal’s defense counsel and the Obama Administration are an attempt to gain a different outcome for him than similar efforts met three years ago. Then, the George W. Bush Administration and defense lawyers made the attempt to save another Mexican with the same treaty complaint, Jose Ernesto Medellin. After losing his challenge in the Supreme Court, Medellin was executed in August 2008 in Huntsville, Texas.
Medellin and Leal were among 51 Mexicans, convicted of crimes in the U.S. without having access to a home-country diplomat, who won a World Court decision in 2004 declaring that the U.S. had failed to live up to its obligations under the Vienna Convention — that is, the duty to give those individuals a chance to contest their convictions because of the breach of the treaty. Medellin’s case went to the Supreme Court after President Bush sought to directly order state officials to abide by the treaty.
The Supreme Court ruled, however. that the President’s efforts did not make the Convention enforceable in state courts. In that ruling, however, the Court left an opening: Congress, it said, would have the power to pass a law to implement the Convention, and require states to abide by it. The prospect of such legislation at the time, though, was found by the Court to be too remote to spare Medellin’s life.
That opening was at the center of the arguments made by the Solicitor General, along with Leal’s lawyers, as they argued that circumstances have changed in recent months. On June 14, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont, introduced a bill to carry out the Vienna Convention for foreign nationals like Leal. The measure also would delay executions in such cases until the convicted foreign nationals had had a chance to show that their convictions violated the Convention. Chairman Leahy, the new filings noted, has promised to hold a Judiciary Committee hearing in July.
Verrilli noted that the Obama Administration has been engaged in strenuous efforts to craft the new Leahy bill. He also noted that the Bush Administration had not been involved in earlier efforts to craft such legislation, so that situation, too, has changed since the Medellin ruling. The Solicitor General urged the Court to delay Leal’s execution until the end of the current session of Congress — which can run no later than next Jan. 3 — in order to give Congress time to pass the new legislation.
It is vitally important to U.S. foreign relations, Verrilli contended, that the U.S. obey the obligations it undertakes under global agreements like the Vienna Convention.

In a footnote of the new government brief, Verrilli pointedly noted that the government was not intending, by seeking to intervene in the case, to support two petitions for review of his case that Leal’s lawyers have filed in addition to two applications to delay his scheduled execution.
The issue of delaying the execution is pending before Justice Antonin Scalia, the Circuit Justice for the geographic area that includes Texas. Scalia has the authority to decide the stay issue himself, but he also can share it with his eight colleagues. It has become quite common in the Court’s practice for a single Justice to bring in all members of the Court so that the stay issue is resolved all at once, rather than raising the prospect of repeated pleas to different Justices.
Leal’s stay applications are docketed as 11A1 and11A2. His two cert petitions are 11-5001, a regular petition seeking review of lower courts’ rejection of his treaty-based challenge, and 11-5002, an “original writ” of a kind that is filed only in the Supreme Court, with no prior action on it in lower courts. All of the filings are titled Leal Garcia v. Texas.
Justice Scalia and the Court are not expected to take any action until the state of Texas has responded.
© 2011 SCOTUSblog
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Comment by Molly on July 4, 2011 at 9:33pm
Don't mess with Texas - I hope the governor will stand up for justice. The Mexican government is absurd in speaking out for this killer and Obama, well, you know.
Comment by Charles O McVey Sr on July 3, 2011 at 8:36pm

This is not the first time that a person who was not a legal Citizen of the US has been put on Death Row in a Prison here in the USA, and the Mexican Government has whined and cryed for the "poor" scumbag, I am sure it will not be the last either so long as we do not secure our border and start to shove the damn Criminal Immigrants back into Mexico.  As far as I am concerned I do not give a flying flip who is in the WH if they attempt to inferferr with Due Process in a Soverign State than they are breaking the Law.  I am almost at the point where I think we may need to extract some vigilanty justice in order to get this nation back the way it is supposed to be, when the Government cares more for the rights of Criminal Immigrants who Rape and Murder any American Citizen, maybe it is just time to take action ourselves.


Comment by Tony Bulver on July 3, 2011 at 7:00pm
It's ironic that Mexico makes such a racket on something like this when the U.S. doesn't even practice what they preach when Americans run afoul of Mexican laws. I recall an instance in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico a number of years ago when an elderly couple, driving their motor home, were involved in an accident with a Mexican cattle truck. The cattle truck driver was responsible for the accident, but the Mexican police arrested the American man because he hadn't obtained Mexican vehicle insurance and forced his elderly wife to live in their motor home, parked on the parking lot of the Hermosillo Police Department for over a month, while Mexican courts went through their usual slow procedures at so-called judicial justice. The U.S. Consulate in Hermosillo just wrung their hands and pitifully said they "couldn't do anything about the incident" and that the couple were on their own.
Comment by Carolyn L. Cooper on July 3, 2011 at 6:43pm

All in favor of vigilante justice, raise your right hand. I mean, they did it in the cowboy movies: Storm the jail, get the outlaw, take him out and hang him. Since this is no longer a nation of laws, why not ? I'm in favor of declaring all drug cartel members, coyotes, and other non-law abiding so-and-so's, outlaws. Just be sure you've got the right *&%$#@ in your gun sights.

At this point in his dictatorship, it should be clear to everyone, that states rights, legal precedent, the Constitution, and any judicial mandate contrary to what Useful Idiot #1's commands are, are totally irrelevant. Law and legal necessity to hold this nation together = don't matter to these people.

Comment by Tony Bulver on July 3, 2011 at 6:40pm
Can anyone tell me how the perpetrator's "rights" were violated by not having a member of the Mexican government present at the trial? The Mexican government could have 100 consular officials at the trial and it wouldn't have changed the jury's decision to convict the slimebag. It had nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of the perpetrator, nor would it have in any way changed the presentation of evidence in the trial. This is just a blatant attemt by Mexico to interfere with the internal affairs of our country simply because Mexico doesn't have a death penalty and Mexican prisons and judges can be bribed to release b******* like this. 
Comment by sherrill on July 3, 2011 at 6:38pm

Isn't this just wonderful now we are going to cry for a killer because of some silly treay, you can bet that if the thing was reversed and it was a american in mexico they sure as hell would not worry about a tready, in fact the convict would probably be pushing us a cactus already.

Comment by Thomas Berquist on July 3, 2011 at 6:25pm
The Obama administration has no business ...this is a Texas court that handed down the verdict not DC.
Comment by Jim from Texas on July 3, 2011 at 5:16pm
The headline is misleading.  I doubt that the entire U.S. opposes Humberto Leal Garcia's execution, and the important thing is that Texas does not oppose it!
Comment by Tom on July 3, 2011 at 5:04pm
I read it Charles very good I might add I was referring to "U.S. to violate treaty obligations with “serious repercussions” for foreign policy and would raise threats of retaliation to Americans who travel or work abroad." Sounds like a lame excuse to let a rapist Loose we are already in danger in most other country's
Comment by Charles O McVey Sr on July 3, 2011 at 4:15pm
Tom, if you had read the entire post, you would have found that the crime occurred in Texas, the Perp was in the USA in Criminal Violation of our Laws, and the Victim was a citizen of the USA residing in Texas.  The Crime did not occur in Mexico.

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