President Barack Obama is attempting to block the execution in Texas on Thursday of a Mexican man because it would breach an international convention and do “irreparable harm” to US interests.
The White House has asked the US supreme court to put the execution of Humberto Leal Garcia on hold while Congress passes a law that would prevent the convicted rapist and murderer from being put to death along with dozens of other foreign nationals who were denied proper access to diplomatic representation before trials for capital crimes.
We don’t want to execute someone if they weren’t guilty — surely, there’s a chance that he wasn’t responsible for the rape and murder, right?
Leal, 38, was convicted in 1994 of the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in San Antonio. Few question that he was responsible for the killing but the Texas authorities failed to tell Leal, who was born in Mexico and has lived in the US since the age of two, that under the Vienna convention he was entitled to contact the Mexican consulate when he was arrested.
Leal’s lawyers argue that the lack of consular access played a role in the death penalty being applied because the Mexican national incriminated himself in statements made during “non-custodial interviews” with the police on the day of the murder. Had Leal had access to the Mexican consulate it would have been likely to have arranged a lawyer who would have advised the accused man to limit his statements to the police. As it was, the Mexican authorities were never informed of his arrest.
So, every time an illegal immigrant from Mexico is arrested here in the United States, we need to inform Mexican authorities so that legal representation can be arranged? I don’t know how to say “slippery slope” in Spanish, but I can’t imagine this ending well for those who want justice every time a drunk-driving illegal alien kills a carload of teenagers, or every time an illegal alien gang member murders someone in cold blood.
There were 52 executions in 2009, 46 executions in 2010, and there have been 25 executions so far this year. And yet, as far as I know (and I could be wrong), this is the first instance in which President Obama looked to intervene. How surprising — his intervention is based upon a desire to kowtow to the international community!
Perhaps his focus, and the focus of his administration, would be better served by enforcing the border, shutting down the magnets, and doing everything possible to ensure that people like Humberto Leal Garcia don’t enter the United States in the first place.