Supreme Court denies Obama request to stay execution in Texas.

Update: Sr. Leal is no longer among us, having quite properly been executed.

Humberto Leal Garcia Jr. is still scheduled to be executed today in Texas, the Supreme Court having denied a request in which the Obama Administration had joined to stay it.

The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected a bid by the Obama administration to spare the life of a Mexican national set for execution for the 1994 rape-murder of a San Antonio teenager.

Humberto Leal Garcia Jr., 38, is to be put to death at 6 p.m. today.

His case gained international attention because arresting authorities did not advise him of his right to contact his nation’s consulate. Failing to do so violated the United Nations’ Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and Leal’s advocates said, puts Americans held for offenses in foreign countries at risk.

Leal was sentenced to die for the May 1994 killing of Adria Sauceda, 16, whose nude body was found on a rural road near San Antonio. She had been bludgeoned with a chunk of concrete.

The Mexican government, former American diplomats and the Obama administration joined in calling for a stay in the case.

. . . .

The Supreme Court noted that it could not grant a stay to allow for the possible passage of the Leahy bill. “Our task is to rule on what the law is, not what it might eventually be,” the court ruled.

The court also discounted arguments that “grave international consequences” may follow Leal’s execution.

“We have no authority to stay an execution in light of ‘an appeal of the president’ presenting free-ranging assertions of foreign policy consequences, when those assertions come unaccompanied by persuasive legal claim.”

Unless Governor Perry unexpectedly delays the execution, it may have happened before this is posted.  It should.

Further Update: Mexico is all upset.

MEXICO CITY – Mexico condemns “in the most energetic terms” the execution of a Mexican national at a prison in Huntsville, Texas, the country’s foreign ministry said.

The death by lethal injunction of convicted murderer Humberto Leal Garcia was a “clear disobedience” of the 2004 order from the International Court of Justice that the United States review the death sentences of 51 Mexicans then awaiting execution in Texas because they had been denied their right to consular assistance at the time of arrest, the ministry said in a statement.
….

The Mexican government, the Obama administration and dozens of former U.S. officials, diplomats and military officers all urged Perry to suspend the execution pending a vote in Congress on a bill to comply with the 2004 ICJ decision.

In that March 31, 2004, ruling, the ICJ said Texas had violated the rights of Leal and other Mexican nationals by failing to inform them of their right to consular assistance under the Vienna Convention, to which both the United States and Mexico are party.

Mexico’s foreign ministry deplored Perry’s decision not to delay the execution and said the Texas governor refused on Thursday even to accept a call from the Mexican ambassador in Washington, Arturo Sarukhan.

A formal protest over “this violation of international law” has been conveyed to the U.S. State Department, the ministry said.

The article does not mention the decision of the Supreme Court on the matter, noted here. The States, to the apparent disappointment of some in the Obama Administration and others who seem not to have a clue on the subject, still retain at least some vestiges of sovereignty.

About danmillerinpanama

I was graduated from Yale University in 1963 with a B.A. in economics and from the University of Virginia School of law, where I was the notes editor of the Virginia Law Review in 1966. Following four years of active duty with the Army JAG Corps, with two tours in Korea, I entered private practice in Washington, D.C. specializing in communications law. I retired in 1996 to sail with my wife, Jeanie, on our sailboat Namaste to and in the Caribbean. In 2002, we settled in the Republic of Panama and live in a very rural area up in the mountains. I have contributed to Pajamas Media and Pajamas Tatler. In addition to my own blog, Dan Miller in Panama, I an an editor of Warsclerotic and contribute to China Daily Mail when I have something to write about North Korea.
This entry was posted in Constitution, Courts, Judges, Justice, Law, Supreme Court, United States. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Supreme Court denies Obama request to stay execution in Texas.

  1. kenny komodo says:

    Well I’m with Mexico. I’m also upset. I’m upset that it took 17 or so years to put this mad dog killer to death. So if the Mexican government, or if the fine and upstanding citizens of Mexico don’t want to get upset, don’t send your mad dog killers to Texas to rape, torture and murder 16 year old girls. Pretty simple, right? Now do it.

  2. Bohemond says:

    Please allow me to explain something to our friends south of the Border: in Texas, if you kill one of their teenage girls, they will kill you back. If you don’t like it, don’t go to Texas.

  3. Pingback: The PJ Tatler » Execution of Mexican national upsets Mexico | mexico

  4. mojo says:

    Oh, the “International Court of Justice”, is it?

    Never hoid of ’em…

  5. Pingback: The PJ Tatler » Execution of Mexican national upsets Mexico

  6. Frank Davis says:

    God bless Texas. This was just another attempt by “the chosen one” to interfere in state’s rights. One down a few dozen to go.

  7. I don’t get this at all. Why did the Obama administration try to get involved in this particular case? What makes it special besides some insignificant legal technicality? I’d understand this if there were serious doubts about this person guilt, if some new DNA evidence surfaced, or something.

    The idea that it puts Americans in foreign countries at risk makes no sense to me whatsoever. Are the foreign law enforcement agencies expected to enter into some kind of a conspiracy to avenge this guy?

    I’d say that at this particular moment in time the President should have other things on his mind.

    • There is a United Nations’ Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, apparently binding on the United States. Several years ago, the Supreme Court held it not binding on the States. Unlike in many other countries, the States still retain a bit of sovereignty.

      There had been and probably still is a bit of an upset in Mexico. Not being a mind reader, I don’t know but assume that the Obama Administration filing about Leal was merely for show: the authors of the Department of Justice brief certainly knew about the earlier decision.

      In any event, and aside from the prior decision, the short excerpts from the Supreme Court decision put the factual context pretty well.

  8. Pingback: Opinion Forum » Supreme Court Denies Obama Request to Stay Execution

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