White House Pleads With TX To Stay Execution of Mexican National

Neon

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White House seeks delay of Mexican man's execution

HUNTSVILLE (AP) — The planned execution Thursday of a Mexican national has prompted a flurry of appeals on his behalf, including a rare plea from the White House, because of what it could mean for other foreigners arrested in the U.S. and for Americans detained in other countries.

Humberto Leal, 38, is awaiting a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on whether to block his lethal injection in Huntsville. He was sentenced to die for the 1994 rape and murder of 16-year-old Adria Sauceda of San Antonio.

The appeal contends that authorities never told Leal after his arrest that he could seek legal assistance from the Mexican government under an international treaty, and that such assistance would have aided his defense. Leal moved to the U.S. as a toddler.

Leal's attorneys have support from the White House, the Mexican government and other diplomats who believe the execution should be delayed so his case can be thoroughly reviewed.

"There can be little doubt that if the government of Mexico had been allowed access to Mr. Leal in a timely manner, he would not now be facing execution for a capital murder he did not commit," Leal's attorneys told the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles in a clemency request rejected Tuesday. "Unfortunately, Mexico's assistance came too late to affect the result of Mr. Leal's capital murder prosecution."

President Barack Obama's administration took the unusual step of intervening in a state murder case when it asked the Supreme Court last week to delay Leal's execution for up to six months. The U.S. solicitor general told the court that Congress needed time to consider legislation that would allow federal courts to review cases of condemned foreign nationals to determine if the lack of consular help made a significant difference in the outcome of their cases.

The legislation, backed by the U.S. State Department and the United Nations, would bring the U.S. into compliance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations provision regarding the arrest of foreign nationals.

Lower courts already rejected the pleas, agreeing with the Texas Attorney General's office that since the legislation hasn't been passed and signed into law, it doesn't apply. At least two measures like it failed earlier in Congress.

"Leal's argument is nothing but a transparent attempt to evade his impending punishment," Stephen Hoffman, an assistant attorney general for the state of Texas, told the Supreme Court.

Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico's ambassador to the U.S., wrote numerous congressional members and Texas officials calling attention to the legislation and the case and urged Gov. Rick Perry to stop the punishment.

Perry had the authority to issue a one-time 30-day reprieve but made no decision while the courts remained involved.

Prosecutors said on the night she was killed, Sauceda was drunk and high on cocaine at an outdoor party in an undeveloped neighborhood of San Antonio and was assaulted by several males. At some point, prosecutors said, Leal showed up and said he knew her parents and would take her home and explain the situation to them.

Witnesses said Leal drove off with Sauceda around 5 a.m. Some partygoers found her brutalized body later that morning and called police, prosecutors said. When officers arrived, they found Sauceda's head battered by a 30- to 40-pound chunk of asphalt and evidence that she had been bitten, strangled and raped. A large stick that had a screw protruding from it was left in her body.

Leal, a mechanic, was identified as the last person seen with her. He was questioned and arrested.

A witness testified Leal's brother appeared at the party, agitated that Leal had arrived home bloody and saying he had killed a girl. Testifying during the trial's punishment phase, Leal acknowledged being intoxicated and doing wrong but said he wasn't responsible for what prosecutors alleged.

The question of protection for foreign nationals under the international treaty isn't new.

President George W. Bush in 2005 agreed with an International Court of Justice ruling that Leal and 50 other Mexican-born inmates nationwide should be entitled to new hearings in U.S. courts to determine if their consular rights were violated at the time of their arrests. The Supreme Court later overruled Bush, negating the decision from the Netherlands-based court.

Jose Medellin, condemned for participating in the rape-slayings of two Houston teenage girls, in 2008 raised a Vienna Convention claim similar to the one pending for Leal. It failed and he was executed.
Link.

Now, I can sorta understand the reasoning behind the legislation, but this man MOVED TO THE U.S. AS A TODDLER. He wasn't like a tourist or a fence jumper who could genuinely benefit from consular advice, he lived in the US all his life, but happened to be Mexican.
 

CousinDave

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Like the savages will treat Americans better if this guy isn't executed
 

Party Rooster

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Now, I can sorta understand the reasoning behind the legislation, but this man MOVED TO THE U.S. AS A TODDLER. He wasn't like a tourist or a fence jumper who could genuinely benefit from consular advice, he lived in the US all his life, but happened to be Mexican.
I kinda agree. I think I've turned the corner on the death penalty in the U.S. It takes too long and costs too much and it's really not a deterrent at this point. Leave it on the table if an inmate opts for it, like McVeigh and people like that guy in Utah recently. Supposedly that's one of the things that got Casey Anthony off.

Don't be surprised if the Repubs don't try and Willie Horton Obama over this though...
 

Falldog

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I think the execution should continue under the "You Snooze, You Loose" policy.
 
Dec 8, 2004
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Kill him... and send his corpse back to Mexico... yeesh...
 
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What's awesome is that I've driven past the Hunstville prison twice in the last two days... Not a single protester to be seen anywhere.
 

CousinDave

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I kinda agree. I think I've turned the corner on the death penalty in the U.S. It takes too long and costs too much and it's really not a deterrent at this point. Leave it on the table if an inmate opts for it, like McVeigh and people like that guy in Utah recently. Supposedly that's one of the things that got Casey Anthony off.

Don't be surprised if the Repubs don't try and Willie Horton Obama over this though...


Why I'm as pro executions as I am pro drug legalization and pro pregnancy terminations, the death penalty as instituted is not a deterrent and should only be used as a form of retribution.

This is a case where the death penalty is justifiable.

I can't see why Little Barry is getting involved in this one, its a fight he can not win, especially against a potential opponent for the election next year.

If the Supreme Court gets involved, I can guarantee you, Perry will make it a central issue in his campaign for POTUS - Little Barry and the SCOTUS don't believe foreigners who commit crimes in this country should face the same consequences as an American would for the same crime.

Oh and Willie Horton was a legitimate issue (first brought up by Al Gore in the '88 Democrat Primary) Dukakis just responded to it all wrong, his response should have been, hey the federal gov't under Reagan and Bush let violent inmates out on furloughs all the time too.
 

Falldog

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I can't see why Little Barry is getting involved in this one, its a fight he can not win, especially against a potential opponent for the election next year.
Pressure from diplomatic sources.
 

CousinDave

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Pressure from diplomatic sources.

If the Mexican gov't is really concerned about their nationals in this country how about they pay for the cost of educating, incarceration, medical, etc... expenses
 

Norm Stansfield

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If the Supreme Court gets involved
The Supreme Court is involved. It has ruled that failure to inform someone of their right to contact their consulate is not grounds for a retrial, several years ago. It has also ruled that the international courts demanding a stay of execution have no jurisdiction over this matter. All this has been settled a long time ago, and the only thing that would be different after a stay would be that the guy would breath another six months.

That said, cops really should start informing foreigners of their rights and notifying consulates when they arrest their nationals. That treaty is legally binding, and it would be nice if we could stick to the shit we agree to.
 

mascan42

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That said, cops really should start informing foreigners of their rights and notifying consulates when they arrest their nationals. That treaty is legally binding, and it would be nice if we could stick to the shit we agree to.
While that's true, so is this:
Lower courts already rejected the pleas, agreeing with the Texas Attorney General's office that since the legislation hasn't been passed and signed into law, it doesn't apply.
You can't stay the execution based on potential future legislation that might affect the case if it passes. Even if it does pass, you can't apply it retroactively, due to the prohibition on ex post facto legislation.
 

Josh_R

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I kinda agree. I think I've turned the corner on the death penalty in the U.S. It takes too long and costs too much and it's really not a deterrent at this point. Leave it on the table if an inmate opts for it, like McVeigh and people like that guy in Utah recently. Supposedly that's one of the things that got Casey Anthony off.

Don't be surprised if the Repubs don't try and Willie Horton Obama over this though...
The Penn and Teller Bullshit episode about the death penalty said it best: If the point of putting someone to death is to ensure that they never harm anyone else in society again, how is it not good enough to keep them in maximum security for the rest of their lives? The death penalty is really about making the rest of society feel better that the bad man is dead. It has no deterrent effect, it is purely a vehicle for vengeance. I think it should only be used where there is 100% undeniable proof that the person committed the act (Nidal Hassan or Jared Laughner who were taken down while shooting people, for example), otherwise throw them in a fucking hole for eternity for all I care.

I am sure that this is going to be great fodder for campaigns, though. "President Obama wants Mexicans who r@pe little girls with sticks and bash their brains in to live on the taxpayer dime..."
 

Norm Stansfield

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The Penn and Teller Bullshit episode about the death penalty said it best: If the point of putting someone to death is to ensure that they never harm anyone else in society again, how is it not good enough to keep them in maximum security for the rest of their lives? The death penalty is really about making the rest of society feel better that the bad man is dead. It has no deterrent effect, it is purely a vehicle for vengeance.
No, it's a vehicle for justice. This same exact thing came up in another thread, and back then I just posted that it's not vengeance, it's justice. I didn't explain exactly what justice is, but I'll try to do that now:

Justice, just like logic but on a more abstract level, is a principle that binds humans to reality, allowing us to understand our world and prosper in it both as individuals and as a society. One way to state the basic principle justice is derived from would be this: in any system that exists in reality, including human societies, every action has an equal reaction. If we apply this to human society specifically, the statement becomes: In the long run, there is always balance between crime and punishment. Every crime will eventually result in an equal reaction against the person committing the crime or the people appeasing, protecting or encouraging him. That's the principle of justice. (Everyone should read the book "Crime and Punishment", if you haven't, by the way. It goes a long way in illustrating how this principle tends to manifest itself, and it's one of the greatest novels ever written.)

In the real world, people who understand and live by the laws of reality can prosper. Such people recognize the basic need for balance between crime and punishment for instance (and the many other aspects of reality not relevant to this thread). A society which deliberately chooses to punish great crimes with lesser punishments is consciously defying justice, and by doing that it is defying reality itself. That doesn't mean, however, that this second type of society somehow managed to alter reality and make justice disappear. You can fight reality, logic and justice, but you can't win. Instead, the society which is ignoring reality is going to absorb the unavoidable reaction to the crime itself. And deservedly so.

P.S. By deservedly, I simply mean that it is in accordance with a principle that exists independent of my feelings: justice - not that it makes me happy or sad. Justice is the polar opposite of vengeance: it relates to reality and only reality, while vengeance relates to our feelings and only our feelings. The death penalty is just because it restores balance, not because it makes us feel good. That's why the death penalty for pedophiles isn't just, for instance, but for cold blooded murderers it is.

I would argue that your brand of clemency (or forgiveness, or being humane, if that's what you wanna call it), is a lot like vengeance, because it reflects your feelings instead of a rational evaluation of reality.
 
Dec 8, 2004
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#21
Yep...

Texas executes Mexican who said he should have gotten consulate help; White House sought stay

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to block Texas from executing a Mexican citizen despite a White House-backed appeal that claimed the case could affect other foreigners arrested in the U.S. and Americans in legal trouble abroad.

Humberto Leal was executed Thursday evening for the 1994 **** and murder of a San Antonio teenager after his attorneys, supported also by the Mexican government and other diplomats, unsuccessfully sought a stay. They argued that Leal was denied help from his home country that could have helped him avoid the death penalty.

From the death chamber, Leal repeatedly apologized and then shouted “Viva Mexico!” as the lethal drugs began taking effect. The 38-year-old mechanic was sentenced to death for killing 16-year-old Adria Sauceda, whose brutalized nude body was found hours after the two left a street party.

Leal was just a toddler when he and his family moved to the U.S. from Monterrey, Mexico, but his citizenship became a key element of his attorneys’ appeals. They said police never told him following his arrest that he could seek legal assistance from the Mexican government under an international treaty.

Mexico’s government, President Barack Obama’s administration and others wanted the Supreme Court to stay the execution to allow Congress time to consider legislation that would require court reviews for condemned foreign nationals who aren’t offered the help of their consulates. The high court rejected the request 5-4.

But questions remain over how Leal’s execution may affect relations between Mexico and the U.S. — and Texas, the country’s busiest death penalty state that shares a roughly 1,250-mile border with Mexico.

Leal’s relatives who gathered in Guadalupe, Mexico, burned a T-shirt with an image of the American flag as a sign of protest. Leal’s uncle, Alberto Rodriguez, criticized the U.S. justice system and the Mexican government, saying “there is a God who makes us all pay.”

Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the government condemned Leal’s execution and sent a note of protest to the U.S. State Department. The ministry said Mexican ambassador Arturo Sarukhan attempted to contact Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who refused to speak on the phone.

The governor’s office declined to comment on the execution Thursday.

Relatives said Leal would be buried in a cemetery next to his grandmother in Monterrey, Mexico, as he requested.

“I have hurt a lot of people,” Leal said during his final minutes Thursday. “I take full blame for everything. I am sorry for what I did.”

“One more thing,” he said, then twice shouted “Viva Mexico!” He told the prison warden he was ready, adding “let’s get this show on the road.”

He grunted, snored several times and appeared to go to sleep. He was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m., 10 minutes after the lethal drugs began flowing into his arms.

In denying his attorneys’ appeal, the Supreme Court’s five more conservative justices doubted that executing Leal would cause grave international consequences. “Our task is to rule on what the law is, not what it might eventually be,” the majority said.
Link/More
 

Creasy Bear

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They should've strapped the animal to a Patriot missile and deported him back to Mexico at Mach 5.

They could still do it with his corpse, but that won't be nearly as much fun.
 

Party Rooster

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P.S. By deservedly, I simply mean that it is in accordance with a principle that exists independent of my feelings: justice - not that it makes me happy or sad. Justice is the polar opposite of vengeance: it relates to reality and only reality, while vengeance relates to our feelings and only our feelings. The death penalty is just because it restores balance, not because it makes us feel good. That's why the death penalty for pedophiles isn't just, for instance, but for cold blooded murderers it is.

I would argue that your brand of clemency (or forgiveness, or being humane, if that's what you wanna call it), is a lot like vengeance, because it reflects your feelings instead of a rational evaluation of reality.
For the vast majority of people, I would think they fall under the vengeance reasoning behind being in favor of the death penalty. And you're still arguing it based on what you perceive as "justice." A lot of people think that giving these people a quick painless death and exit from this life is not as "just" as making them rot in a prison cell for the rest of their lives.
 

CousinDave

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#24
For the vast majority of people, I would think they fall under the vengeance reasoning behind being in favor of the death penalty. And you're still arguing it based on what you perceive as "justice." A lot of people think that giving these people a quick painless death and exit from this life is not as "just" as making them rot in a prison cell for the rest of their lives.


That is something that conflicts me as well, problem is that for most inmates prison isn't really that bad - its not really like what you see in the movies and hell, I've seen county jails that are better than any college dorm room and most of the hotels I've stayed in.
 
Jun 2, 2005
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#25
Huntsville smells like refried beaner.

What were we talking about in here?