"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 07, 2011

Texas Contra Mundum, or at least Contra Mexico

National People's Radio yesterday broadcast a blurb wherein it was asserted that "despite" "errors" in his trial, the state of Texas was planning to carry out the sentence of death on an illegal Mexican immigrant, Humberto Leal. Wow, sounds horrible, executing someone whose trial was riddled with errors. Surely NPR could let us know what those errors were?

Leal was convicted of capital murder for the rape and killing of a 16 year old girl who was

drunk and high on cocaine at an outdoor party in an undeveloped neighborhood of San Antonio and was assaulted by several males. At some point, prosecutors said, Leal showed up and said he knew her parents and would take her home and explain the situation to them.

Witnesses said Leal drove off with Sauceda around 5 a.m. Some partygoers found her brutalized body later that morning and called police, prosecutors said. When officers arrived, they found Sauceda's head battered by a 30- to 40-pound chunk of asphalt and evidence that she had been bitten, strangled and raped. A large stick that had a screw protruding from it was left in her body.
The errors that NPR and the Obama administration are wringing their hands over? Leal was supposedly not informed of his right under the Vienna Convention to contact the Mexican consulate. This "error," it is argued, deprived him of the chance to have really, really good attorneys provided to him by the Mexican government.

Got it? The problem is not that he's innocent of the crime; not that he was denied a fair trial with competent representation; not that imposition of the death penalty is disproportionate in his case. The reason Texas and it's citizens in the form of a jury are to be deprived of the opportunity to punish a crime committed in their state, according to NPR and the President, is that the murderer may not have been able to call the Mexican consulate, a fact that apparently grievously offends the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Never mind that the U.S. Supreme Court has specifically ruled, in Medellin v. Texas that "the U. N. Charter does not contemplate the automatic enforceability of ICJ decisions in domestic courts. Article 94(2)—the enforcement provision—provides the sole remedy for noncompliance: referral to the United Nations Security Council by an aggrieved state."

So: Mexico can complain to the Security Council about Texas executing a rapist/murderer. But Texas has every right under the law to give effect to the determination of the jury in this case.