U.S. Supreme Court

High Court Asked to Stay Execution of Mexican National

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Lawyers for a Mexican national on Texas’ death row petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court today for a stay of the inmate’s scheduled July 7 execution.

The petition (PDF) has the backing of the Mexican government, which is expected to file an amicus brief in the case later today calling on the United States to live up to its treaty obligations with other countries, according to a press release (PDF) from the inmate’s lawyers.

The inmate, Humberto Leal Garcia, is set to be executed next week for the 1994 murder and sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl.

The petition alleges that Leal, a citizen of Mexico, was denied his rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to consult with Mexican consular officials after his arrest.

It cites a 2004 ruling by the International Court of Justice in the Hague saying that Leal and more than 50 other Mexican nationals with death sentences in the United States are entitled to “judicial review and reconsideration” of their claims that their cases had been hurt by the failure of local authorities to allow them to contact Mexican consular officials.

It also cites legislation pending in Congress that would bring the U.S. in compliance with the terms of the Vienna Convention and would specifically allow for judicial review of Leal’s and other inmates’ cases. But the proposed legislation, which has the support of many government officials, former judges, retired military leaders and diplomats, couldn’t possibly become law before Leal’s scheduled execution.

If Leal’s execution is allowed to proceed, the motion for stay of execution (PDF) says, it would not only be unlawful but would “irreparably violate the nation’s treaty obligations just as the appropriate political branches are attempting to prevent such a breach.”

Leal’s lawyers have also filed a petition for clemency with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and have asked Texas Gov. Rick Perry for a reprieve.

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