« DC Circuit notes, then avoids, circuit split over ex post facto Booker issue | Main | Another notable discussion of Booker ex post issues »

July 17, 2008

Texas shrugs in response to World Court call for execution stays

As well covered yesterday by SCOTUSblog and DPIC, yesterday the World Court issued a ruling calling for a stop to five scheduled Texas executions.  Here are the basics on the ruling from SCOTUSblog:

Acting on a claim by Mexico’s government that the U.S. government has not done enough to assure the treaty rights of Mexican nationals facing execution for murders in the U.S., the World Court on Wednesday ordered the U.S. — by a 7-5 vote — to stop five imminent executions in Texas.

Leaving it up to the U.S. to choose the way to carry out the order, the international tribunal — formally, the International Court of Justice that sits in The Hague, Netherlands — told the U.S. only to “take all measures necessary to ensure” that Texas does not execute five individuals on its death row.

As reported this morning in this Houston Chronicle story, headlined "Texas still plans to execute killer despite U.N. order," state official seem not too troubled by the Wourt Court's order.  Here are the details:

Texas will go ahead with the scheduled Aug. 5 execution of Houston rapist-killer Jose Medellin despite Wednesday's United Nations world court order for a stay, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry said....

"The world court has no standing in Texas and Texas is not bound by a ruling or edict from a foreign court," Perry spokesman Robert Black said. "It is easy to get caught up in discussions of international law and justice and treaties. It's very important to remember that these individuals are on death row for killing our citizens."

July 17, 2008 at 01:31 PM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e200e553a5a0488833

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Texas shrugs in response to World Court call for execution stays:

Comments

I don't like the idea of a world court. And I especially don't like it medling in the US justice system. I know it is only an advisory court and has no authority but the idea of it seeking and being granted authority make me shutter. Probably won't happen but who knows.

Posted by: Paul | Jul 17, 2008 4:31:50 PM

No ... you have yet to evolve and codify all your State laws into the Federal domain ;)

BTW, can you spell 'NWO'? :)

Nigel.

Posted by: Dr Nigel Leigh Oldfield | Jul 17, 2008 4:56:50 PM

What are you a doctor of?

Posted by: S.cotus | Jul 17, 2008 7:27:08 PM

Natural Sciences.

Been a teacher/manager at 'Middle-High School' level.

My present academic interests are Law and Criminology (amongst others).

Nigel.

Posted by: Dr Nigel Leigh Oldfield | Jul 17, 2008 7:47:58 PM

I remember having read something about this in the media--If I'm not mistaken, this is the case Bush sent a virtual "birdie" to the Mexican gov't when by playing the politics of leaving the decision to the USSC. The article read..."In a defeat for the Bush administration, the Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 Tuesday that President George W. Bush does not have the authority to force a state to reconsider a death penalty case, even if the conviction in that case violates an international court's ruling." http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/SCOTUS/story?id=4520197&page=1

In Bush v. Texas, Scalia...""You're telling us we don't need Congress. The president can make it domestic law" on his own..." http://www.nationalledger.com/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi?archive=18&num=16580&printer=1

I fear the Mexican president, Fox, might attempt to incite a mini riot if not TX proceeds with this. In his last visit he said he wanted Congress to vote on a bill to allow 11.5 MILLION illegal immigrants to STAY here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5010824.stm). A great advocate for illegal immigration since Mexicans are sending BILLIONS back home via Western Union, eh? Not to mention what they leave behind.

This case has been "airing" out since 2007. I wonder if this had any bearing when the Justices were considering capital punishment for rape cases as it mentioned something in its opinion in re how society is...

Federal domain will eventually turn over to some type of international law body formalized by treaty among UN members as we get closer and closer to globalization,as the natural progression of capitalism.

I suspect the "federal domain" will be something like the Law of European Union/Supranational law but on a more universal/global level with tiers as like the current EU structure--police and judicial cooperation in re criminal matters, social and econ rights, and foreign security.

I look forward to the exploitation of an economic system at it's worst/best. The funny thing it that in order for capitalism to work at its "best," or worst if you prefer, in the form of globalization (the marriage btw capitalism an socialism), there must be some social-ism (cooperation between nations and the reduction/restriction/absence of freedom) and an increase number of participants of "fair" trade.

The World Court is MORE than just advisory, it's international politics at work.

We have historically made the UN work for us but have never bowed to its desires. I don't think, in leadership terms, we are to bow down to them in this question as we are among the few members of the UN to STILL use the death penalty. If they have not pressured us enough to eliminate capital punishment, we shouldn't heed to them in this regard. Because the next thing we know is they'll ask us for Bush's head on a silver platter and some crazy/wise nut might just give in to that request. I think our title of World Leader gives us the hand up on this. We can always do some damage control with a good talker/liberal, in the White House.

I'll stop the politics now. :)

Posted by: | Jul 17, 2008 10:57:49 PM

Texas has made some pretty outrageous statements on this. For example, "The world court has no standing in Texas and Texas is not bound by a ruling or edict from a foreign court." This statement is an assertion that Texas is not part of the U.S. True, the Supreme Court ruled in this case that the World Court's judgment was not directly enforceable without implementing legislation by the Congress, but that was only its interpretation of this treaty, which it found to be non-self-executing (even though it clearly is self-executing). Other treaties that funnel disputes through "foreign" courts may well be interpreted as self-executing and their judgments directly applicable. (I suspect, given our current ideological court, these will mostly be economic treaties that harm American workers.)

Texas is making a grave mistake. By taking such a hard line approach over such a trivial matter (all that the judgment requires is judicial review of the claim), it is putting at risk the liberty interests of all Americans abroad, Texans or not. Our country (including our state governments) is in desperate need of responsible leadership. The blustery fools who have seized power across the nation must go. Now.

Posted by: DK | Jul 18, 2008 10:57:57 AM

'Texas'

"It's like a whole different world."

Nigel.

Posted by: Dr Nigel Leigh Oldfield | Jul 18, 2008 11:39:05 AM

Oh DK, gimme a break. No one is going to care once Medellin is put down--not even the twit Mexican diplomats who wring their hands over the fate of Mexican murderers. Haven't the victims' families suffered enough? The ICJ overstepped its authority to poke a finger in our eyes. Texas is telling them to jump in a lake. I, for one, find that refreshing.

Mexico also is in zero position to talk. Mexico has had some pretty sketchy convictions of American nationals.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 18, 2008 12:50:37 PM

"Mexico has had some pretty sketchy convictions of American nationals."

Perhaps with the decision to continue with the execution this will continue, hmm?

Posted by: Angelina | Jul 18, 2008 3:58:06 PM

Medellin's conviction is not sketchy. There is no doubt he did it. None. He got a free lawyer, and he got an immense amount of process.

And lost in all this is that the ICJ really expanded the treaty in issuing the Avena decision. The Mexican government has far more important things to worry about than some guy who came to America when he was three and grew up to be a savage.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 18, 2008 6:38:38 PM

"He got a free lawyer"

Some may argue that that can be the problem. Then you have others that may say that since TX has a pretty high of rate of convicting innocent people (32 exonerations thus far), it may be more likely than not that this guy...well, just something to think about.

Posted by: | Jul 18, 2008 8:21:20 PM

Not something to think about in this case . . . .

Time for Medellin to die.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 18, 2008 10:20:52 PM

Federalist,

Not even Bush or his State and Justice Departments believe Medellin should be killed prior to the U.S. complying with its acknowledged international legal obligations. Other states besides Texas have acted responsibly. Why do you believe Medellin is worth jeopardizing Americans' liberty interests abroad? Is it just machismo? Because that doesn't strike me as sufficiently important.

Posted by: DK | Jul 19, 2008 12:41:58 AM

DK, the ICJ ruling was garbage. So screw 'em. No one is going to remember this POS after the world is made a better place with his exit.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 19, 2008 1:03:18 AM

federalist:

You seem to recognize, even if others don't, that:

1. Texas is not a signatory to the treaty and therefore cannot be bound by it.

2. If Bush, DOJ or any part of the federal government attempted to blackjack Texas into obeying a World Court "order" by which it is not bound, the Administration would be accused (again) of arrogant power-grabbing. This time the accusation would be correct.

3. The complaints about Bush's effectively ignoring the Supreme Court's decision in Medellin would be even louder, and also correct.

4. The idea that other countries will behave toward American nationals based on how we treat Medellin is abusrd. Other countries will treat American citizens as those countries' national interest dictates. Mexico's interest in keeping American tourist dollars coming will massively outweigh any misgivings (if there are any genuine misgivings, as opposed to diplomatic posturing) about the execution of this particular killer.

5. The real engine behind the argument to spare Medellin is simply anti-DP thinking dressed up in a different wardrobe. But this time there is a broader agenda as well, that being to weaken America by having it (and its states) give away components of their sovereignty. The same people who wag their fingers at the possibility that Texas will execute Medellin -- who has had more due process than 99% of defendants in this or any other country ever get -- have nothing to say about, for example, Iran's repeated and flagrant flouting of the IAEC and its contined progress toward building The Bomb to pull off a second Holocaust.

As usual with this crowd, the Blame America First theory is front and center.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 19, 2008 9:01:05 AM

Bill Otis wrote: "Texas is not a signatory to the treaty and therefore cannot be bound by it."

You should not have a law license if you don't understand why this statement absurd.

Bill Otis wrote: "2. If Bush, DOJ or any part of the federal government attempted to blackjack Texas into obeying a World Court "order" by which it is not bound, the Administration would be accused (again) of arrogant power-grabbing. This time the accusation would be correct."

Nobody disputes the U.S.'s legal obligation. (Texas is part of the U.S., by the way.)

Bill Otis wrote: "3. The complaints about Bush's effectively ignoring the Supreme Court's decision in Medellin would be even louder, and also correct."

First, this is irrelevant, since nobody is arguing that Bush do anything. Second, the Supreme Court only said that the treaty was not self-executing and that Bush, alone, could not execute it. This has nothing to do with the U.S.'s legal obligations, acknowledged to be as such even by all members of SCOTUS.

Bill Otis wrote: "4. The idea that other countries will behave toward American nationals based on how we treat Medellin is abusrd. Other countries will treat American citizens as those countries' national interest dictates. Mexico's interest in keeping American tourist dollars coming will massively outweigh any misgivings (if there are any genuine misgivings, as opposed to diplomatic posturing) about the execution of this particular killer."

Even our extreme, right-wing federal government disagrees with you. The U.S. relies heavily upon the Vienna Convention to protect the liberty interests of American citizens abroad. Undermining the treaty so overtly harms those Americans' interests.

Bill Otis wrote: "5. The real engine behind the argument to spare Medellin is simply anti-DP thinking dressed up in a different wardrobe. But this time there is a broader agenda as well, that being to weaken America by having it (and its states) give away components of their sovereignty. The same people who wag their fingers at the possibility that Texas will execute Medellin -- who has had more due process than 99% of defendants in this or any other country ever get -- have nothing to say about, for example, Iran's repeated and flagrant flouting of the IAEC and its contined progress toward building The Bomb to pull off a second Holocaust."

This has nothing to do with whether Medellin will be executed. It has to do with the United States's compliance with its acknowledged international legal obligations. Nobody--not even the U.S.--disputes that the U.S. is in breach. It can remedy the breach (simply by giving Medellin judicial review of his Vienna Convention claim) or it can not remedy it. If it does not, it will have impaired its ability to invoke the Vienna Convention in favor of American detainees abroad. It's straightforward. And it's nothing short of irresponsible to advocate overtly breaking America's legal obligations, particularly when what has been requested is so slight. It reeks of reckless bravado, which is foolish. Responsible leadership now.

Bill Otis wrote: "As usual with this crowd, the Blame America First theory is front and center."

What are you, 12?

Posted by: DK | Jul 19, 2008 6:51:13 PM

DK:

The truth of the matter is that you don't want Medellin to be executed no matter what, just as you don't want John Couey to be executed, just as you didn't want Timothy McVeigh to be executed. Whatever the dodge du jour is will suffice. Today it's a treaty, tomorrow it will be that Couey just "made a mistake," and the next day, for the next grisly killer, it will be something else.

As "Not the same" noted, after a while we get the picture.

As to our "extreme, right-wing federal government," I was under the impression that Congress, which is rumored to be part of said government, was under the control of Harry Ried and Nancy Pelosi.

But they're extreme right wingers, I tell you!!!

"What are you, 12?"

Most people would say a comment like that is a little lacking in, uh, analysis, but for you it's an improvement. At least you're no longer calling Abraham Lincoln a racist pig (for the moment).

Congratulations!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 19, 2008 7:30:06 PM

Bill Otis wrote: "The truth of the matter is that you don't want Medellin to be executed no matter what, just as you don't want John Couey to be executed, just as you didn't want Timothy McVeigh to be executed. Whatever the dodge du jour is will suffice. Today it's a treaty, tomorrow it will be that Couey just "made a mistake," and the next day, for the next grisly killer, it will be something else."

Medellin will most likely be executed whether the U.S. complies with its international obligations or not. So whether I "don't want Medellin executed no matter what" is quite irrelevant, isn't it? What I want more than anything is a modicum of responsibility in positions of power and the government's compliance with its acknowledged international legal obligations.

Bill Otis wrote: "As to our "extreme, right-wing federal government," I was under the impression that Congress, which is rumored to be part of said government, was under the control of Harry Ried and Nancy Pelosi."

While Ried and Pelosi are centrists, the Executive branch--which has communicated to Texas its desires with respect to this dispute--is under the control of right-wing extremists (you know that already). And they support the U.S. complying with its international legal obligations, as even the most marginally responsible persons would.

Posted by: DK | Jul 19, 2008 7:57:28 PM

DK:

Whether you want to let John Couey off the hook is "irrelevant;" Reid and Pelosi are "centrists;" and Condolezza Rice et al. are "right-wing extremists."

Righto.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 19, 2008 8:23:13 PM

GREAT SOCIETIES THAT DO NOT PROTECT THE INNOCENT BECOME THE GUILTY !
PRESIDENT OBAMA NEEDS TO TELL THE LEADERS OF THE FREE WORLD ~

** GIVE THEM LIBERTY OR GIVE THEM LAWYERS **

WILL THE INTERNATIONAL WORLD COURT AND THE POPE COME TO THE RESCUE OF THESE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF ENSLAVED POORER AMERICAN'S ??

***The CATHOLIC CHURCH could really help AMERICA right now by arranging a speech from the VATICAN by the POPE concerning THIS modern day ENSLAVEMENT of POORER AMERICAN'S by our complacent US CONGRESS who appears to be more interested in financing other US Congressional interests then our UNDERFUNDED AMERICAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM.**THERE ARE REPORTED TO BE OVER 100,000 INNOCENT AMERICAN'S IN US PRISONS NATIONWIDE WITHOUT PROPER LEGAL REPRESENTATION AND MANY ARE EVEN ON DEATH ROW !!

****THE POPE KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STATE MURDER OF TROY DAVIS IN GEORGIA, AND A JUDICIAL EXECUTION OF TROY DAVIS IN GEORGIA ***
MANY INTERNATIONAL CITIZENS HAVE ALREADY STARTED TO BOYCOTT THIS ROGUE STATE OF GEORGIA !

WILL MILLIONS MORE OF CARING AMERICAN'S AND INTERNATIONAL CITIZENS AVOID GIVING THE STATE OF GEORGIA ANY FUTURE BUSINE$$ IF A 3YR. BOYCOTT TAKES PLACE OVER THIS STATE NOT EVEN OFFERING JUSTICE WITH A NEW LEGITIMATE CRIMINAL TRIAL FOR MR.TROY DAVIS? IT'S BEEN SAID BY MANY THAT A THREE YEAR INTERNATIONAL BOYCOTT OF THIS STATE MIGHT VERY WELL COST IT TENS OF MILLION$ WHERE A NEW AND FAIR TRIAL OF TROY DAVIS MIGHT COST THE STATE $100,000.

**** A SPECIAL FEDERAL TASK FORCE MADE UP OF INVESTIGATORS AND LAWYERS DESIGNED TO VERIFY EVERY ASPECT OF THE 3,300 VARIOUS DEATH ROW LEGAL CASES NATIONWIDE,IS OUR COUNTRIES ONLY REAL METHOD TO MAKE SURE WE DO NOT ALLOW STATES LIKE GEORGIA TO CONTINUE ATTEMPTING TO MURDER POSSIBLE INNOCENT POORER AMERICAN'S LIKE MR.TROY DAVIS!

*** FOR THOSE MILLIONS OF AMERICAN'S WHO BELIEVE IN GOD, WE ALL HAVE TO WONDER IN TOTAL AMAZEMENT, HOW OUR AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS HAVE ALLOWED THIS HORROR TO CONTINUE WRONGFULLY EXECUTING AND INCARCERATING INNOCENT AMERICAN'S ALL ACROSS OUR COUNTRY ???

LAWYERS FOR POOR AMERICANS IS DEDICATED TO PREVENTING FURTHER CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY CONTINUING TO BE INFLICTED ON MIDDLE CLASS AND WORKING POOR AMERICANS WHO ARE BEING DENIED PROPER LEGAL REPRESENTATION & BEING FALSELY IMPRISONED AND EXECUTED ALL ACROSS AMERICA!!
lawyersforpooramericans (at) yahoo.com (424-247-2013)
******************************************************************************************

THE GREAT LIE
by Gerry Spence

The idea that we should furnish the poor with a public defender has been an effort to save our nation from shame - for sending the poor to prison without adequate representation. But today the nation's public defender system has become a mockery of justice.

To provide an accused with a public defender who has three hundred other cases to defend is simply to laugh in the face of both justice and the accused himself. It takes me months to prepare the average criminal case for trial. The trial itself can take weeks, even months.

While O.J. Simpson was being tried in Los Angeles for murder, a case that cost millions to defend and months to conclude, another black man was being tried in the same courthouse for a similar murder. It took only three days for a jury to find him guilty. He had a public defender with scores of other cases to defend. Many prosecutors boast that they have over a 90 percent conviction rate. Little wonder. Under the present public defender system the prosecutors should enjoy one hundred percent convictions, and many in fact approach perfect conviction rates.

The public defenders in seven states have finally refused to take on any new cases. It's about time. If I walked into court to defend my client and had never talked him, never previously opened his file, never discovered the witnesses against him, much less interviewed them, never reviewed the evidence in the hands of the prosecution, never demanded my clients rights to discovery, never read the cases relevant to the case at hand, never prepared the cross examination of the witnesses against my client, never ... and on and on, I would be guilty of legal malpractice.

Every public defender who purports to represent an accused under circumstances in which he or she has neither the time nor the resources to fully defend the client is guilty of malpractice. These public defenders cannot be saved from malpractice because they are crushed under a ridiculous case load - some with even as many as five hundred cases or more. No one who was accused with such an attorney has received a fair trial and every such accused is entitled to an appeal on that basis alone. The judge must not sentence the accused under these circumstances because the judge would be taking part in a fraud on the system. Yet hundreds of thousands of indigent persons go to prison each year under circumstances no better than those outlined above.

When I was coming up as a young prosecutor, the defendants were represented pro bono by the lawyers in the local bar. It was part of the duty of members of the bar to take part in the justice system. Today that idea is unheard of. The practice of law is first and foremost a money-making profession. I see nothing wrong with that notion, but what about giving back?

Every trial lawyer should be required to take on a couple of pro bono cases every year. At our office we have a separate pro bono law firm and have for over ten years. It often brings us more satisfaction than our big money wins. The job of a lawyer is to represent the people - the lost, the forgotten, the damned, the hated, the voiceless and the poor. Indeed, God forbid, we may one day become one of those who are entitled to representation but cannot afford it.

Every time an accused goes to prison without having received a fair trial we are one step closer to the loss of our own freedoms. Our rights are, in fact, being fought for by public defenders who can never fulfill their duty to their clients because of their pathetic, impossible, caseloads. When they fail, we are in danger. Our system becomes a hypocritical charade. And we prove, once and for all, that the promised justice for all in America is an evil lie that is imposed on the poor.

If only those with money can receive justice, then how can we permit our children to recite a horrible falsehood in school when they chant, "with liberty and justice for all." That can no longer be the truth in America.
******************************************************************************************
GERRY SPENCE IS A RENOWNED LAWYER AND PATRIOTIC AMERICAN WHO EVEN AT THE AGE OF 82, CONTINUES TO SHOW A KEEN INTEREST IN WANTING TO BETTER AMERICA FOR THE MASSES OF POORER AMERICANS BEING CAUGHT IN OUR UNDERFUNDED JUDICIAL SYSTEM.LAWYERS FOR POOR AMERICANS THANKS YOU MR.SPENCE FOR TAKING YOUR TIME AND INTEREST IN SPEAKING THE TRUTH ABOUT A JUDICIAL SYSTEM IN NEED OF C*H*A*N*G*E...

** WE CAN ONLY HOPE AND PRAY OTHER AMERICAN LAWYERS AND JUDGES WILL FOLLOW YOUR LEAD SO THE PROPER FINANCING CAN BE ALLOCATED BY OUR IVORY TOWER US CONGRESS !

*** ANYONE INTERESTED CAN GOOGLE OR YAHOO GERRY SPENCE ON THE WWW FOR MANY OTHER ENLIGHTENING HONEST ARTICLES.

Posted by: DOUGLAS FIELD | Dec 3, 2008 4:13:00 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB