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January 31, 2005

Sentencing sensibilities south of the border

My co-author and co-editor Nora Demleitner called to my attention this interesting article from the New York Times concerning the federal government's agreement with Mexican authorities to extradite to the US Agustin Vasquez Mendoza, who is suspected of orchestrating the killing of an undercover American drug agent in Arizona in 1994.  What especially caught our attention was the report that "federal officials have waived the death penalty for Mr. Vasquez, and recommended that any sentence for him include the possibility of parole after 25 years."  Given that there has not been parole in the federal system since 1987, we wondered about the terms of this deal.

Nora did some investigating and reported these interesting details about this case and related issues of extradition:

A Maricopa County, Phoenix, Arizona, grand jury indicted Vasquez for First Degree Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery, Kidnapping and Attempted Armed Robbery following the killing of a DEA agent in 1994.  Even though Mexican authorities arrested Vasquez in 2000, extradition has been held up in part by Mexico's restrictions on extradition.  Though Mexico extradites its nationals, it does not do so if they could either receive a death sentence or a life without a parole term.  The Mexican Constitution, according to Mexico's highest court, assumes that every person is capable of rehabilitation and must be afforded the opportunity to show it.  This is why US officials had to waive capital charges and agree to recommend parole eligibility after 25 years, assuming Vasquez gets convicted.  The Mexican high court's decision not to permit extradition in life-without-parole cases has made extradition with Mexico more difficult.  While Mexico isn't the only country with this restriction, it's the most important for the US in terms of extraditions.

January 31, 2005 at 10:16 PM | Permalink


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Can someone PLEASE tell me how they can offer this man parole when it doesn't exist?

Posted by: Kim | Feb 1, 2005 10:06:50 AM

As most know and many of us are finding out, the US Government justice system is a law unto itself...they do whatever they want, whenever they want...afterall, they are the US Government! That's why they are having problems with the Blakely decision and were saved by the Booker decision. For twenty years the government has wielded unconstitutional raw power...but now, they are being called on the carpet...made accountable and having to find ways to incarcerate us in other clever ways.

The US Governement has an image of being righteous, fighters of crime and freedom but in reality they look to break their own laws daily (in the guise of justice)to put away those they believe need to be put away. They can do no wrong and if they believe you are guilty, you are. Period! If you prove otherwise, it doesn't matter

Posted by: Fredw | Feb 1, 2005 12:21:53 PM

Calm down everyone and take a look at the first line of Nora's paragraph. It says a Maricopa County grand jury indicted him. The State of Arizona has a 'parole after 25 years' option for murder.

Posted by: Hope | Feb 1, 2005 12:42:52 PM

Calm down everyone and take a look at the first line of Nora's paragraph. It says a Maricopa County grand jury indicted him. The State of Arizona has a 'parole after 25 years' option for murder.

Posted by: Hope | Feb 1, 2005 12:43:16 PM

Its still odd that USA would let Arizona (a different sovereignty) prosecute for a dead DEA agent, non?

Posted by: Jay | Feb 1, 2005 3:51:52 PM

I am an educated person. I would never have any professional relationship with the courts nor would I serve on a jury. Like Locke I believe that states are formed to as an instrument of the people specifically to protect people from enemies foreign and domestic. The idea that states were formed to protect the enemies of the people is ludicrous. As the state is an instrument of the people then the state should both follow the wishes of the people and protect them from their enemies. If a government frustrates the wishes of the people and doesn’t not protect people from their enemies it has no right to expect allegiance from then people. Moreover the people have a right to remove such a government by force if need be. .

Things have changed since Locke’s day. I believe that in modern day America we should take what Locke says about the King should be applied to judges and what Locke says about the executive branch should be applied to the judicial branch.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Given that the end of "men's uniting into common-wealths"( par. 124) is the preservation of their wealth, and preserving their lives, liberty, and well-being in general, Locke can easily imagine the conditions under which the compact with government is destroyed, and men are justified in resisting the authority of a civil government, such as a King. When the executive power of a government devolves into tyranny, such as by dissolving the legislature and therefore denying the people the ability to make laws for their own preservation, then the resulting tyrant puts himself into a State of Nature, and specifically into a state of war with the people, and they then have the same right to self-defense as they had before making a compact to establish society in the first place. In other words, the justification of the authority of the executive component of government is the protection of the people’s property and well-being, so when such protection is no longer present, or when the king becomes a tyrant and acts against the interests of the people,

The modern day legal profession denies that anyone but criminals have rights so they believe that it is more important to protect murderers then to stop murder.

Posted by: James Briggs | May 30, 2005 1:14:55 PM

i am a parent of a 20 year old who is accused of armed robbery. he was along with 2 others. he is to be sentenced in the federal system. i am afraid as to how long he will have to spend

Posted by: bshug | Dec 1, 2005 1:34:40 PM

i am a mother.. son is 20 plead guilty to federal
armed robbery.. any idea as to the expected sentence. he has never been in trouble before

Posted by: bshug | Jun 20, 2006 9:34:20 AM

hp f2019 battery

Posted by: | Oct 14, 2008 6:53:37 AM

My fiance is being charged with armed robbery,kidnapping and first degree burglary he was with a 16 year old who basically placed the blame on my love please help

Posted by: Amina | Jan 24, 2009 11:13:59 AM

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