Texas to Execute Foreign Citizen After Vienna Convention Violation

As the New York Times reported yesterday, time is running out for Humberto Leal Garcia, Jr., who is scheduled to be executed in Texas on July 7.  Convicted of a 1994 murder and aggravated sexual assault, Leal, a Mexican citizen, was not notified of his right to contact his consulate pursuant to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and subsequently sentenced to death.  The treaty violation could have been the difference between life and death; some legal experts argue that while help from the Mexican consulate, particularly better counsel, may not have gotten Leal acquitted, he may well not have been sentenced to death.  When Leal later learned of his Vienna Convention rights, his right to object to their violation was considered waived under state procedural default rules.

Leal was one of fifty-one plaintiffs in an International Court of Justice case brought against the United States in 2004, Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America), in which the ICJ ruled that the United States was obliged to review and reconsider sentences of Mexican nationals convicted without being notified of their rights under the Vienna Convention.  In Medellin v. Texas, the Supreme Court decided in 2008 that the Vienna Convention was not a self-executing treaty and did not give rise to rights enforceable in U.S. courts without implementing legislation enacted by Congress.  Leal’s lawyers recently requested a stay from the Southern District of Texas, arguing that Leal had a due process right to stay alive until Congress voted on such legislation, but were rebuffed.  Despite pressure from human rights groups, Texas Governor Rick Perry has indicated his intention to proceed with the execution.

Read the full New York Times article here.


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  • I think cold blooded heinous murder trumps the Geneva Convention any day. My only regret is that lethal injection is quick and painless…people like this deserve something a lot more painful than a quick death.

  • Yes, especially when this guy smashed her skull with a 40 pound piece of ashphalt after he raped her. The “international community” and our dear president Odumbo can go to hell. Obama needs to stay the hell out of sovereign state matters. He seems hell bent on destroying this country by giving all illegals a free pass, even to murder.

  • BS!

    SP4- “In March 2005, the United States pulled out of the Optional Protocol to the Convention, which allows the International Court of Justice to have compulsory jurisdiction over disputes arising under the Convention. In June 2006, the United States Supreme Court ruled that foreign nationals who were not notified of their right to consular notification and access after an arrest may not use the treaty violation to suppress evidence obtained in police interrogation or belatedly raise legal challenges after trial (Sanchez-Llamas v. Oregon[1]). In March 2008, the Supreme Court further ruled that the decision of the International Court of Justice directing the United States to give “review and reconsideration” to the cases of 51 Mexican convicts on death row was not a binding domestic law and therefore could not be used to overcome state procedural default rules that barred further post-conviction challenges (Medellín v. Texas [2]).”

    Not only is it not a Ratified treaty under US law, we pulled out of the ICOJ optional protocol (I guess it was the word “optional” eh?), Texas is under no federal or state legal mandate to honor it, and in a bewildering twist, I’m suuuuuuuuuuuure his lawyer neeeeeeeeeever spoke up about it, even once……eh? Also, I am suspect of the fact that, were the defense to have brought a lawyer from the consulate as “associate counsel” to the prison, that he would be prevented from seeing the prisoner.

    One other thing: if he did not have a valid passport correctly identifying his citizenship, I would think we’re under no obligation to allow consular visits, unless he can correctly prove citizenship.

  • What he and his pals did to this girl is unspeakable. He forfeited his “rights” when he chose to torture, rape and brutally murder a 16 year old girl from Texas where the rule of law still means something. This is a bogus argument meant to overturn State’s Rights, as another attempt to make null and void the Constitution of the United States.

  • A couple years ago, 3 hikers were arrested for allegedly crossing a border into Iran. They were arrested and charged. They asked the Iranians to inform the U.S. government. The government of Iran is a participant in the Vienna Convention.They complied and a U.S. State Department representative was allowed to visit them and has been doing what he can to help them and keeps their families informed.

    No one is saying that Garcia is innocent. He’s a monstrous person who did immeasurable harm when he was alive. The State and Governor of Texas’ decision to allow the execution to happen now, allows Garcia to continue hurting people into the foreseeable future.

    As an American citizen who spends a lot of time abroad, it has always been a comfort to know that if something bad should happen that my government would have my back. By not following the Convention or issuing a stay of execution Governor Perry single-handedly creates the real possibility that some country will deny me this right.