Moral Low Ground

Civil Liberties

Obama Administration Asks Supreme Court to Stop Texas Execution

The Obama administration has asked the US Supreme Court to stop the state of Texas from executing a Mexican citizen convicted of the brutal rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl over concerns that the man was denied his right to consular access established under international treaty.

Verrilli: US obligated to halt Leal's execution.

According to the Associated Press, 38-year-old Humberto Leal of Monterrey, Mexico was not told he had the right to contact his country’s consulate following his arrest for the rape and murder of 16-year-old Adria Sauceda in 1994. Leal’s attorneys claim that the arresting officers violated an international treaty by failing to inform him of his right to contact the consulate.

Leal is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on July 7. The Obama administration wants the Supreme Court to delay the execution for up to six months so that Congress can mull legislation that would allow federal courts to review death penalty cases of foreign nationals in order to determine if a lack of diplomatic assistance affected the outcome of their cases.

The Obama administration request comes just one week after a federal judge rejected a delay of Leal’s execution.

Executing Leal “would place the United States in irreparable breach of its international-law obligation to afford (Leal) review and reconsideration of his claim that his conviction and sentence were prejudiced by Texas authorities’ failure to provide consular notification and assistance under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” US Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief.

Rick Perry, Texas’ Republican governor, has overseen more executions than any other governor in modern US history. Despite the President’s desire and internationally efforts, led by the Mexican government, to have Leal’s death sentence overturned, the convicted killer’s prospects for reprieve look bleak.

Rachel Terry, Sauceda’s mother, told KSAT that the very prospect of a stay of execution would be devastating for her family. “A technicality doesn’t give anyone a right to come to this country and rape, torture and murder anyone, in this case my daughter,” she said.


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