Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Today brings further developments in the saga of the United States' attempts to provide consular notice to foreign defendants in the United States in accordance with its international obligations. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy has introduced a bill to faciliate compliance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The bill reaffirms the duty of state and federal officers to provide timely consular notification in all cases where a foreign defendant is arrested or detained. However, it only provides federal courts with specific jurisdiction to review claims of lack of consular notice in capital cases. In his statement accompanying the bill, Senator Leahy states that he recognizes the need to ensure prompt consular notice in all cases involving foreign defendants, but is seeking support for the narrower Consular Notice Compliance Act as a first step in that direction, particularly in light of the scheduled execution next month of foreign national, Humberto Leal. The bill may be found here.