Friday, July 8, 2011
U.S. Supreme Court Denies Stay. Mexican National Executed in Texas. Another U.S. Violation of the VCCR
The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request yesterday to stay the execution of Humberto Leal Garcia, a national of Mexico who had been convicted of murder. He had not been advised of his rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), which requires foreign nationals who are arrested to detained to be told that they have the right to inform their consulates of their arrest or detention.
The Governor of Texas ignored pleas from the White House and from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to stay the execution. Humberto Leal Garcia was executed on Thursday afternoon in Texas, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a motion to stay his execution. The decision was 5-4.
The majority decision was unsigned but I suspect it may have been authored by Justice Scalia, to whom the petition for a stay was directed. It essentially held that the man had no enforceable rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and that the prospect of pending congressional legislation to enforce the decision of the International Court of Justice in Avena was too remote.
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the dissenting opinion with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. The dissent noted that Click here to read the majority and dissenting opinions.
Mr. Leal Garcia was represented by Professor Sandra Babcock of the Northwestern University School of Law. Click here for more information about the case.