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Old 08-05-2008, 09:34 PM   #1
furo
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Default Mexican Executed

Originally Posted by NYT
Texas Executes Mexican Despite Objections

By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
Published: August 6, 2008
HOUSTON — In a case that has drawn international attention, Texas executed José E. Medellín on Tuesday night in defiance of an international court ruling and despite pleas from the Bush administration for a new hearing in his case.

The execution, by lethal injection, came just before 10 p.m. Central time, shortly after the United States Supreme Court denied Mr. Medellín’s last request for a reprieve, as protesters for and against the death penalty clamored in the rain outside the Huntsville Unit, about 70 miles north of Houston.

Gov. Rick Perry rejected calls from Mexico and Washington to delay the execution, citing the brutal torture, rape and strangulation of two teenage girls as just cause for the death penalty.

“After reviewing all of the facts in what is the most gruesome death penalty case I have reviewed since being in office, I have decided not to grant José Medellín a 30-day reprieve,” Mr. Perry, a Republican, said in a statement

Fifteen years ago, Mr. Medellín took part along with five other teenage boys in the rape and murder of two teenage girls in a Houston Park. He was sentenced to die, along with two other members of his street gang.

His case has become the focal point of a dispute between Mexico and the United States over whether some Mexicans have been denied fair trials because they never were given an opportunity to talk to a Mexican consul. A 1963 treaty requires foreigners accused of crimes to be given that opportunity.

Over the last five days, Mr. Medellín’s lawyers tried to stop the execution by arguing before the Supreme Court that it should be put off until Congress had a chance to pass pending legislation that would require a review of similar cases. They argued that Mr. Medellín would be deprived of life without due process if he died before Congress acted.

But Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, said the possibility of Congressional action was too remote to justify a stay. Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote in dissent that to permit the execution would place the United States “irremediably in violation of international law and breaks our treaty promises”

Mexico opposes the death penalty and has used the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to try to block the executions of Mr. Medellín and 50 other Mexicans in the United States.

Mr. Medellín was identified as the first of six street gang members to attack the girls, Elizabeth Pena, 16, and Jennifer Ertman, 14, as they cut across a railroad bridge in Houston. The gang raped the girls for an hour, then strangled them. Their corpses were found two days later.

One other member of the gang, Derrick O’Brien, was executed in 2006. Two others, Efrain Perez and Raul Villarreal, had their sentences commuted to life in prison because they were 17. A fourth, Peter Cantu, remains on death row. The sixth, Mr. Medellín brother, Vernacio, is serving a 40-year sentence.
I applaud the Governor here for making the right decision.

And I dunno what's up with the Bush Administration's protest here, but thank goodness Bush didn't step in and stop it.
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:21 AM   #2
Pafuna
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Originally Posted by furo View Post
And I dunno what's up with the Bush Administration's protest here, but thank goodness Bush didn't step in and stop it.
I'm not so sure they had any legal recourse to do so - the jurisdiction was solely the state of Texas, thus the federal government has no say over capital crimes prosecuted by the state.

In any case, I would agree it is the governor's decision to make; since we don't have all the facts of the case before us, I'd defer to the governor's statement on its 'rightness'.
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:24 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Paffy
I'm not so sure they had any legal recourse to do so - the jurisdiction was solely the state of Texas, thus the federal government has no say over capital crimes prosecuted by the state.
True, except that he has the power to pardon...
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:59 AM   #4
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