Administration calls for halt to Texas execution of Mexican

by
July 4, 2011

By Mark Sherman-Associated Press

The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to stop Texas from executing a Mexican citizen convicted of raping and killing a 16-year-old girl.

The administration said the court should delay the planned execution Thursday of Humberto Leal for up to six months to give Congress time to consider legislation that would directly affect Leal’s case.

The 38-year-old native of Monterrey, Mexico, wasn’t told he could contact the Mexican consulate after his arrest for the murder of Adria Sauceda. His lawyers say police violated an international treaty by not telling Leal he could have consular assistance.

Legislation pending in the Senate would allow federal courts to review cases of condemned foreign nationals to determine if the lack of consular help made a significant difference in the outcome of their cases. Last week, a federal judge refused to delay the execution.

The Supreme Court has previously ruled that states can’t be forced to comply with the provisions of treaties without some intervening federal legislation.

The federal government rarely intervenes in state death penalty cases. The thrust of the administration’s legal argument deals with the government’s international treaty obligations, not Leal’s guilt or innocence, or even whether he should ultimately be executed.

“This case implicates United States foreign-policy interests of the highest order,” including protecting U.S. citizens abroad and promoting good relations with other countries, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. said.Mr. Verrilli, the administration’s new chief Supreme Court lawyer, has long represented death row inmates free of charge in his private practice.

The United Nations human rights office has also asked Texas to call off the execution.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jul/3/administration-calls-for-halt-to-texas-execution-o/

 

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