Moral Low Ground


Texas Illegally Executes Mexican Cop Killer Edgar Tamayo Despite World Court Ruling

TEXAS-MEXICO EJECUCIONTexas has executed a Mexican national convicted of murdering a Houston police officer despite a World Court ruling that his case should be reviewed because he was never informed of his right to diplomatic assistance.

Edgar Arias Tamayo, 46, who fatally shot Houston police officer Guy Gaddis after being arrested in 1994 for robbery, was put to death by lethal injection Wednesday night in Huntsville, the Houston Chronicle reports. He was injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbital and was pronounced dead 17 minutes later, at 9:32pm.

Following Tamayo’s execution, members of Gaddis’ family addressed the media.

“A little bit of my shredded heart is feeling better,” mother Gayle Gaddis declared.

A last-ditch effort to spare the convicted cop killer was rejected by the US Supreme Court, which denied a motion to stay Tamayo’s execution.

Defense attorneys unsuccessfully argued Tamayo was unfit for execution due to mental impairment. They accused prosecutors of having “steamrolled over evidence” of his mental retardation.

The Mexican government had also unsuccessfully attempted to stop Tamayo’s execution, arguing it was a violation of international law. Mexican officials and Tamayo’s attorneys cited the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which the United States ratified in 1969, which states that foreign nationals arrested or detained have the right to be given notice, “without delay,” of their right to have their embassy or consulate informed of their arrest. Tamayo’s attorneys argued that legal assistance guaranteed under the law may have uncovered evidence that could have kept him off death row.

Mexico warned that killing Tamayo would be “a clear violation by the United States of its international obligations.”

The World Court ruled in 2004 that Tamayo had the right to have his case reviewed because he was never informed of his right to consular assistance.

“The international outcry about this, Texas’ third illegal execution of a Mexican national and the first without any review whatsoever of the consular assistance claim, is unprecedented,” said Tamayo’s lawyers, Sandra L. Babcock and Maurie Levin, in a letter quoted by the New York Times.

US Secretary of State John Kerry intervened in the case, asking Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to postpone Tamayo’s execution. Kerry argued that killing Tamayo “could impact the way Americans are treated in other countries.”

But a spokesman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican who has presided over more executions than any other US governor, dismissed Kerry’s concerns.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from– if you commit a despicable crime like this in Texas, you are subject to our state laws, including a fair trial by jury and the ultimate penalty,” asserted Lucy Nashed.

This was not the first time Texas executed a Mexican national without providing him with the appropriate consular assistance as mandated under the Vienna Convention. In the most recent case, which occurred in 2011, Humberto Leal, convicted of the 1994 rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl, was killed by lethal injection.

Tamayo, who was one of 40 Mexican nationals awaiting execution on death rows across the United States, was the first person executed in Texas this year, and the 509th since the state reinstated capital punishment in 1976.

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