LegalReader.com  ·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

Supreme Court Takes Second Look at Death Sentences for Foreigners


— April 30, 2007

The Supreme Court stepped into a Texas death penalty case Monday that mixes Bush administration claims of executive power with the role of international law in state court proceedings.

The case accepted by the justices for argument this fall concerns the fate of Jose Ernesto Medellin, a Mexican national who was sentenced in 1994 to die for the rapes and killings of two teenage girls.

The state wants to go ahead with Medellin’s execution, despite a ruling from the International Court of Justice in The Hague that the convictions of Medellin and 50 other Mexican-born prisoners violated the 1963 Vienna Convention because they were denied legal help available to them under the treaty.

The pact requires consular access for Americans detained abroad and foreigners arrested in the United States. Mexico sued the United States in the international court, alleging the prisoners’ rights had been violated.

Unusual for a death penalty case, the administration is siding with Medellin in asserting that the president’s primacy in conducting foreign policy is being challenged.

Bush is actually opposing a death sentence? From Texas? Astonishing. Details here from the AP via Law.com.


The Supreme Court stepped into a Texas death penalty case Monday that mixes Bush administration claims of executive power with the role of international law in state court proceedings.

The case accepted by the justices for argument this fall concerns the fate of Jose Ernesto Medellin, a Mexican national who was sentenced in 1994 to die for the rapes and killings of two teenage girls.

The state wants to go ahead with Medellin’s execution, despite a ruling from the International Court of Justice in The Hague that the convictions of Medellin and 50 other Mexican-born prisoners violated the 1963 Vienna Convention because they were denied legal help available to them under the treaty.

The pact requires consular access for Americans detained abroad and foreigners arrested in the United States. Mexico sued the United States in the international court, alleging the prisoners’ rights had been violated.

Unusual for a death penalty case, the administration is siding with Medellin in asserting that the president’s primacy in conducting foreign policy is being challenged.

Bush is actually opposing a death sentence? From Texas? Astonishing. Details here from the AP via Law.com.

Join the conversation!