Texas Vs. The World in Capital Case
Medellin set to die Tuesday despite World Court order
By Jim Forsyth
Monday, August 4, 2008
It’s again Texas versus the world in an issue involving the state’s active use of capital punishment, as Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is considering executing a vicious killer despite orders from the Mexican government and the World Court of Justice to commute the man’s sentence, and requests from former Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Secretary of State Rice not to follow through with the execution, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Jose Medellin viciously raped, slashed, stomped, and beat two teenaged girls to death as part of a gang initiation in Houston in 1993. The problem…when Medellin, who is a Mexican citizen who was in the U.S. illegally, was arrestd, he was not granted the right to consult with the Mexican consulate after his arrest, a right granted by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, a 1963 treaty.
“We endanger the lives and the safety and the access to justice of Americans when they are detained overseas,” said Scott Cobb, President of the Texas Moratorium Network, a group which is urging the state to place all executions on hold while issues of due process are considered.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Perry said the Board of Pardons and Paroles is considering the case and will come up with a recommendation tomorrow. The governor can agree to the recommendation or can reject it.
“The World Court has no jurisdiction here,” the spokeswoman said. “We re concerned about upholding Texas law, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Medellin has asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a 270 day stay to allow the legislature to consider a bill to be introduced by State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) which would require that Texas follow the Vienna Protocol.
Cobb says if Texas executes Medellin, it will make it more difficult for Texas to hold nations like Iran and North Korea to account for treaties they sign.
“Some people in the U.S. have criticized other countries for violating treaties which they have signed with the United States, and here we are violating a treaty that we have signed.”
Cobb and other death penalty opponents say Texans may even be singled out for rough treatment by nations upset over the state’s liberal use of the death penalty.
There are 51 inmates in similar situations on death rows across the U.S.