Thursday, July 7, 2011

Texas Against The World

Humberto Leal is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas today.  On Tuesday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected a request to commute his sentence.  The Obama Administration has called Governor Rick Perry and urged him to stay the execution, and last week it asked the Supreme Court to intervene, arguing that if the execution were carried out, it would affect “foreign-policy interests of the highest order."  Congress has also taken steps to provide a remedy in such cases where a foreign national's consular rights have been violated, but the law will not pass in time to save Leal.  Governor Perry appears unmoved and unmoveable.  You can still call the Governor at 512-463-2000 and ask him to do the right thing.

Below is my prior piece on this travesty of justice. 

It's Time For Texas To Execute International Law Not Mexican Nationals

Humberto Leal
One of the most fundamental tenets of international law is embodied in the Vienna Conventions on Consular Relations (VCCR), a treaty ratified by the United States and 172 other nations.  Article 36 of the VCCR provides that foreign nationals who are arrested must be advised of their right to have their consulate notified of their detention. This is important not only for citizens of other countries who are arrested here, but for Americans who find themselves in trouble overseas.

Humberto Leal García was arrested by Texas authorities in 1994, and then tried, convicted and sentenced to death for the kidnapping, rape and murder of 16-year-old Adria Sauceda.  Leal is a Mexican national, but he was not informed of his consular rights and the Mexican consulate was not notified of his plight prior to his death sentence.

Ten years later, in 2004, the International Court of Justice held that the United States had violated Article 36 of the Vienna Convention in Leal's case, as well as those of 50 other Mexican nationals on death row.  As a remedy, the ICJ held, the U.S. was required to provide judicial "review and reconsideration" of Leal's conviction and sentence to determine how he was prejudiced by the violation of his consular rights.



Here's how.  Had the Mexican consulate been notified of Leal's arrest, it would have, at minimum, ensured that he obtained a competent lawyer.  Instead, as Leal's current attorney Sandra Babcock explains, he received disgracefully inadequate legal representation at his trial.


One of his trial attorneys has been reprimanded or suspended from the practice of law on multiple occasions as a result of ethical violations. Mr. Leal was convicted on the basis of junk "bite mark" science, since discredited by the National Academy of Sciences, and patently unreliable forensic evidence. Although the prosecution's case was reed thin, his defense failed to effectively challenge any of this evidence. During his sentencing hearing, which lasted only a single day, Mr. Leal's attorneys failed to present any of the profoundly mitigating evidence that later came to light with the assistance of the Mexican government. The jury that sentenced Mr. Leal to death never learned that he was the victim of horrific sexual abuse by his parish priest, which had severe and lasting effects. Jurors never realized that Mr. Leal had struggled to overcome learning disabilities and frontal lobe brain damage and spent his childhood dodging neighborhood gangs and beatings from his parents. Based on the distorted, incomplete picture of Mr. Leal provided by the prosecution, he never stood a chance.
While the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed our country's obligation to comply with the ICJ's decision, it determined that it would only be binding if Congress passed a law implementing it.  Texas has blatantly refused former President Bush's call to review the case in accordance with the ICJ's decision because they are not legally required to. 

This not the first time.  In 2008, Texas executed Jose Medillin, a Mexican national who was denied his consular rights, despite objections of the Bush Administration and the Mexican government.  (Mexico abolished the death penalty in 2005.)  Texas Governor Rick Perry asserted at the time:  "We’re concerned about following Texas law and that’s what we’re doing.”  It now intends to carry out Leal's execution, scheduled for July 7, even as Congress plans finally to pass legislation to make the ICJ decision binding.

Former top government officials, diplomats and military leaders who support Leal's clemency understand what Governor Perry does not.  That such a breach of international law could put at risk the lives of Americans abroad.  Retired military figures stressed, in a letter submitted with the clemency petition, that "the preservation of consular access protections is especially important for US military personnel, who when serving our country overseas are at greater risk of being arrested by a foreign government."

As Babcock says, "a stay of execution is essential to prevent an irreparable breach of the United States' treaty commitments, and to protect the rights of all Americans who rely on the protections of the Vienna Convention. And unless Mr. Leal receives a reprieve, he will die before he ever sees justice."

(For more information about the case and how to help, go to http://www.humbertoleal.org/)

3 comments :

ThelmaafterTherapy said...

I am a Texas refugee myself. I left
Texas around the time GW Bush mocked and made fun of a born again Christian woman who confessed her crimes totally and begged for mercy before he executed her. About that same time a gubernatorial candidate Repub I mean ReCorprican Clayton Williams said, "Women should just lie back and enjoy being raped."
I believe in my Closet Christian heart that the drought and fires in Texas are God's punishment for the putrid, sickening hypocrisy in that state that executes mentally ill, brutalized children and women, and minorities.
GET OUTTA TEXAS CAUSE GOD is DOING GOOD WORK DOWN THERE NOW. The reservoirs are almost dry and those "Christians" HA HA HA are gettin their karma! Let's see how TEXAS PROUD they are when they are looking at their ashes for homes and drinkin MUD. GO GOD GO!!!!!!

ThelmaafterTherapy said...

Oh, do ya think this might have pissed God off? GW Bush executed Karla Fay Tucker for killing a couple, confessing totally, converting to Christ and beggin for mercy...then he let Henry Lee Lukas, who killed about 300 women give or take (see he lied about eveything always) LIVE. GOD IS GETTIN TEXAS BETTER GET OUT

ThelmaafterTherapy said...

Karla Fay is waitin in hell! It's gonna be some payback time for some "fine, upstandin citizens"!!! George BE AFRAID BE VERY AFRAID OF Dyin! You know what awaits! Your brother also has Aileen waitin for him!!! YEEEEEHAAAAAAA

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