The four justices (guess which ones?) who were hoping to hold off the execution of Humberto Leal Garcia Jr., a Mexican citizen on death row in Texas, didn’t get their wish Thursday. Leal was executed that evening.
The argument in favor of the delay, supported by the Obama administration, had to do with Leal and other Mexican citizens in U.S. prisons potentially being unaware of the full extent of their rights according to the Vienna Convention. This contention may serve others in similar positions but came too late to change Leal’s fate. —KA
The New York Times:
The administration had asked the court to delay the execution so that Congress might consider recently introduced legislation that would provide fresh hearings on whether the rights of Mr. Leal and about 50 other Mexican citizens on death row in the United States had been violated.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague found that the inmates had been denied their rights under the Vienna Convention. The convention requires that foreigners detained abroad be told they may contact consular officials.
In 2008, the Supreme Court acknowledged that the international court’s ruling was binding but said that the president acting alone could not compel states to comply with it. Congress also had to act, the court said.