Mexican National Faces Execution in Texas Despite Obama Protests
(NewsCore) - A Mexican national convicted of rape and murder was due to be executed in Texas on Thursday despite calls for a stay from President Barack Obama, the State Department and Mexico.So amigos, go and have a fine day and stay out of trouble or you might wind up in front of a jury of your peers.
Humberto Leal Garcia was convicted in 1995 of kidnapping, raping and murdering 16-year-old Adria Sauceda in San Antonio and was sentenced to death. But the US and Mexican governments believe he could have avoided the death penalty if he had received legal advice from diplomats.
Under the United Nations' Vienna Treaty, foreign nationals must be informed of their legal right to contact their embassy or consulate if they are arrested.
Leal is a Mexican citizen, but he was not informed of his rights because the US does not currently have legislation that enforces the Vienna Treaty domestically, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
A bill to enforce the treaty is now pending in Congress. Leal has petitioned the Supreme Court for a stay of execution to allow the bill to pass, triggering a retrial in his case. The Texas Board of Pardons and The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals have already rejected similar petitions. Texas governor Rick Perry (R) also has the power to grant a stay.
The Obama administration Friday petitioned Texas to delay the execution, and other senior lawmakers have called on the Supreme Court or Perry to grant Leal the stay, arguing that failure to do so would have serious diplomatic and security consequences.
"If we do not comply with our obligations under the Vienna Convention, we put at risk Americans, including Texans, who travel and may be arrested overseas," John B. Bellinger III, who was the US government's senior international lawyer under President George W. Bush, told The New York Times.