Skip to comments.Supreme Court to weigh fate of Houston teens' killer
Posted on 05/03/2007 11:12:58 AM PDT by Anita1
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to consider whether one of the six killers of Houston teen-agers Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Peña should escape execution because he was denied a chance to get legal assistance from the Mexican consulate...The debate has strained relations between the United States and Mexico and could determine the fate of more than 50 Mexicans on death row in the United States, including more than a dozen in Texas.
(Excerpt) Read more at chron.com ...
Siding with the killer are the Mexican government, a group of international law experts and the pro-death penalty White House, which considers a Texas court's decision in Medellin's case an affront to the president's sole authority to conduct foreign policy.
Harris County Assistant District Attorney Roe Wilson said Medellin is not a great example of the foreigners the Vienna Convention was meant to protect because he spent the bulk of his life in Houston from about age 6.
''When you talk about the Vienna Convention, you envision someone visiting another country and not knowing anything about the country's legal system," Wilson said Monday. "And that's not true in his case. He grew up in Houston and was not by an stretch of the imagination a foreigner in a foreigner land."
Mexico sued the United States over the consular issue in the International Court of Justice, or World Court, at The Hague, the United Nations' top court for international disputes.
In February 2005, after the World Court ruled that the convictions of Medellin and 50 other Mexican prisoners violated the treaty, President Bush ordered new state court hearings for the defendants.
A few days later, he also withdrew the United States from the part of the treaty that gives the World Court final say in international disputes.
In November, a unanimous, all-Republican Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said the Republican president had overstepped his authority in ordering the state court reviews. The Texas court said the judicial branch, not the White House, should decide how to resolve the cases.
It also said Medellin wasn't entitled to a new hearing because he failed to complain at trial about any violation of his consular rights. Medellin then appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Bush administration has said in court papers that while it disagrees with the World Court's decision in the matter, ** it intends to keep its promise to abide by it.
The Texas court, **the administration now argues in its "friend-of-the-court" brief **supporting Medellin, is undermining Bush's determination of how the United States will comply with its treaty obligations.
"The authority to decide whether this nation will comply with a (World Court) decision, and if so, how compliance should be achieved, falls on the President," the administration told the justices.
Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, who represents the state in the case, disagreed. He said in writing Monday that Medellin "voluntarily confessed to the brutal gang rape and murder of two teenage girls and his conviction has been upheld at every stage of the legal process."
The president's intervention in the case, Cruz said, "exceeds the constitutional bounds of presidential authority."
The high court agreed to take Medellin's case once before, but dismissed it in 2005 after Bush ordered the state court reviews.
Ertman and Pena were sexually assaulted, strangled and beaten to death in a northwest Houston park on June 23, 1993, by members of a youth gang known as the "Black and Whites" who were initiating a new member. The teenagers' bodies were found four days later.
Medellin and four other gang members were convicted of capital murder in the case and sentenced to death...
This is a despicable case - the two young girls were walking home when they accidentally got caught by a Black and White gang who was doing initiations.
And from the reports at the trial it says: Evidence showed the girls were gang raped for more than an hour. At least one of the girls was forced to perform oral sex on one of her attackers. The girls were kicked, had teeth knocked out and hair pulled out, and stomped on so hard that ribs were broken.
They were strangled in a frenzy police described as sadistic. A red nylon belt, with an attacker tugging at each end, was pulled so tightly around Ertman’s neck that the belt snapped. Shoe laces likely were used to strangle Pena, authorities said.
Four days later, the girls’ bodies were found, decomposing and mummifying in 100-degree heat, culminating a frantic search by their worried families and police.
And now, the Administration has filed a “friend of the court brief” for the convicted slayer just because the Mexico sued the United States over the consular issue in the International Court of Justice, or World Court, at The Hague.
Whose side are we on??
It is that. I guess the murderous thug's lawyers have to do everything they can to save him as repulsive it is. The worst part of the whole thing now is the Bush administration dancing like a puppet with Mexico pulling the strings. But then that's nothing new.
Yes, from the beginning, the Bush Administration has been on the Mexican side - Look at how they have not stood with our people (Compean and Ramos), but rather taken the side of Mexico!
When we say the Bush Administration has filed a brief, that is Gonzales’s job - right?
SCOTUS can’t possibly side with Bush on this. You can’t throw out a conviction just because there was a procedure that the defendant didn’t use. Our courts can’t be hogtied by the lack of a request for help from the embassy. The treaty should recognize this kind of situation as a non-violation. The world court should go to you-know-where.
If Mexicans illegally come to the U.S. for what it has to offer then also deal with the offer of the sentence of death for murder.
I could see a strict constructionalist siding with the killer too, if the treaty/treaties said he needed to be permitted Consulate help. I wish it weren’t so, but under the Constitution, isn’t a ratified treaty the law of the land?
As I understand the law/treaty, the defendant was entitled to assistance from the embassy IF he requested it. He failed to request it. He was NOT denied assistance, so that should have been the end of it. The defendant MIGHT be able to make a case for ineffective counsel for the failure to request help from the embassy, but that would be a different argument.
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