"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Thursday, July 17, 2008

World Court to TX: We're Serious

Oh no, Texas is in trouble now... the World Court has ordered the U.S. to stop Texas from executing 5 Mexican murderers on its death row.

It seems the WC is upset that the U.S. has not adequately addressed Mexico's claim that Treaty provisions were not sufficiently honored when Texas tried the Mexican nationals now on her death row.

Two options are on the table for the World Court:

Option 1: They can convince the US federal government to re-invade Texas to keep them from executing these poor souls.

Option 2: The World Court can dispatch the Fantastic Four on its behalf to try to break the Mexican 5 from Texas' death row.

1 comment:

dudleysharp said...

The execution of Jose Medellin: Texas fulfilled their obligations to the law
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below

The only treaty violation was that Texas failed to notify the rapist/torturer/murderer, Jose Medellin, "you can contact your consulate if you wish", as per the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VC) (1963) (1).

Some may ask "Is that it?" Such a reaction is understandable.

One or all of the following errors have marked the coverage of this case.

1) "The US/Texas denied Medellin consular access" or
2)"The US/Texas failed to notify the Mexican consulate of the detention" or
3) "The US/Texas denied Medellin a hearing on the notification issue"

As to the first claim, Medellin was never prevented from contacting his consulate. Medellin and his attorneys were free to contact the consulate or consulate attorneys, whenever they so desired. Medellin and his attorneys chose not to contact the Mexican consulate for 4 years.

The US admitted its error, that it violated the VC, by not informing Medellin that he could contact his consulate. As a simple matter of practicality, who doesn't know they can contact their own consulate?

In addition, Medellin grew up in Texas and spent his later 15 years in Texas, prior to committing these heinous acts when he was age 18. He attended Texas schools and spoke fluent English. Texas did not know Medellin was a Mexican national. (2)

The second claim would, specifically, violate the intent of the VC. In the debate, prior to VC ratification, it was decided that only the detained party (Medellin) should be given the option of contacting their consulate. I suspect this was done in order to protect the detained party, in case they were in trouble in their own country. There is no obligation for the taking party (in this case, Texas), to notify a foreign nationals consulate that one of their citizens has been detained.

For the third claim, there is this:

As the US never denied violating the notification provision, the real issue before the The Internal Court of Justice (ICJ) was "what remedy exists for that violation?"

The ICJ instructed: "(Texas/US must) provide, by means of its "own" choosing, review and reconsideration of the convictions and sentences of the [affected] Mexican nationals," "with a view to ascertaining" whether the failure to provide proper notice to consular officials "caused actual prejudice to the defendant in the process of administration of criminal justice,"

Texas did, exactly, that.

Several courts (3) and judges thoroughly reviewed the notification claims, including extensive oral arguments. The did this, even though there were procedural bars, because of the timing of the claim. No prejudice was found.

An additional formal hearing wasn't held because a claim has to reach a certain level of credibility or weight before a hearing is granted. The appellate considerations found that there was no prejudice and that the error was harmless, Therefore, a formal hearing was not held. In fact, as a matter of law, it was also barred.

Texas said no to the ICJ and all other denouncers, for three reasons: 1) Texas had. already, conducted a review of it's own choosing, as directed by ICJ and found no prejudice; 2) there was no need to repeat a process that had already taken place. An additional review of the same material in the same case would have had the same result; 3) The US Supreme Court stated that the ICJ could not force Texas to have an additional hearing - The Vienna Convention was not an obligation on Texas.

However, Texas met the ICJ and VC burden in the three court reviews, inclusive of the oral arguments.

Texas did so, in response to its own due process.

A violation of a treaty occurred. A remedy was prescribed and carried out. The Texas/US treaty obligation was fulfilled.

Medellin was justly executed and had 15 years of extraordinary due process protections.

Some say that US citizens may be subject to additional abuse because of Texas' decision to execute this rapist/torturer/murderer. Why?

An equal "abuse" would be that a non-US nation would (1) arrest US citizens for just cause; (2) fail to tell them "you can contact your consulate, if you wish to"; and (3) give them the extraordinary due process provided to Jose Medellin.

While all citizens would like to get consul notification and those party to the treaty are entitled to it, did all the States (parties to the treaty) give such notification to all detained US citizens and other detained foreign nationals since 1967? Of course not.

Texas didn't know Medellin was a Mexican national. Even if it did, almost no US police officers had even heard of the Vienna Convention, prior to 1997.

Were many police, anywhere in the world, aware of the Vienna Convention since 1967? Unlikely. Did they recite it when they didn't know the detainee was a foreign national? (2) Also unlikely.

Would the world condemn the US and punish US citizens for the same violations they have committed, only because their violations have not been adjudicated? Some parts of it will, some won't.

That said, the treaty should be honored and all States should provide such notification.

My opinion is that Mexico brought this case to the ICJ, as an anti death penalty cause, and, possibly, with a wee hint of anti-Americanism, and not as a principled stance in support of consular rights within the Vienna Convention.

Fact: Mexico, intentionally, included only death penalty cases and avoided all other non death cases of detained Mexican nationals within the US.

Fact: Had this really been about consular rights and the honoring of treaties, Mexico would have filed ICJ lawsuits against every country that had violated the rights of Mexican Nationals under the VC. I suspect that would have involved all countries party to the VC since 1967. Mexico didn't do that.

Fact: Mexico only singled out the US, strictly avoiding non death penalty cases. The VC applies to all cases of detention. Any lawsuit, based upon principle, would have been directed at all violators and for all cases. Mexico went out of their way, only filing action against US death penalty cases.

In other words, absent the death penalty, Mexico never would have filed the lawsuit.

Wouldn't we all like to see what percentage of foreign nationals, detained in Mexico, since 1967, had been properly notified: "you have the right to contact your consulate, if you wish." What do you think? 1% or less?

NOTE: The VC specifically states that it does not infer individual rights, but is intended to facilitate consular relations.

The only human rights violation in this case was the hour long gang rape/torture/murder of two wonderful girls, Elizabeth Pena, 16, and Jennifer Ertman, 14.

Remember them?

Take a look. http://www.murdervictims.com/Voices/jeneliz.html

(1) Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963), Article 36, paragraph b, last sentence

(2) From a practical standpoint, is there no obligation on the part of the detained party to notify the authorities of their foreign national status? Or, are all the world's police supposed to be clairvoyant?

copyright 1999-2008 Dudley Sharp
Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part, is approved with proper attribution.

Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail sharpjfa@aol.com, 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.