Recently, a piece of human scum was executed in Texas- Humberto Leal. To restate his crime, he was convicted of murdering and raping a 16-year old in 1994. Not only did he rape her with a stick, which he left in her bloodied nude body, but she was bludgeoned with a 35 pound piece of asphalt. The US Supreme Court, in an unsigned opinion, decided against a stay of execution.
What is disturbing is the response from liberals on this exceution. The reason the Obama Administration wanted a stay of execution was the same reason Bush went to court in 2008- the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Under that treaty, those charged with crimes in another country are entitled to advice from consular officials.
An editorial by E.J. Dionne seems to best exemplify the apoplectic reaction from the Left and the absolute lack of logic in their reasoning. He states, “The International Court of Justice ruled that 51 Mexican-born inmates nationwide, including Leal, were entitled to new hearings in American courts to determine whether their consular rights were violated.” Since when does the International Court of Justice have authority to compel an American court what to do? In 2005 the US pulled out of the Optional Protocol to the original treaty (signed in 1963) that granted that court compulsory jurisdiction over disputes arising under the Convention. Since then, our Supreme Court has twice ruled the Optional Protocol is not binding on US courts or law enforcement personnel. That is what the Court reiterated this time around.
The Obama Administration’s argument was that they were diligently working hand in hand with Congress to rectify the situation and bring the US into compliance with the Protocol. Would have, should have, could have. As the Court stated, they have to rule on the law as it stands now, not how it MAY stand in 6 months time. If Congress thought this was such a major problem with serious international implications, they have had at least six years to address the situation. They haven’t and the Supreme Court said so in their decision.
Quoting Justice Breyer in his dissent, Dionne says, “…it is difficult to see how the state’s interest in the immediate execution of an individual convicted on capital murder 16 years ago…” Sixteen years on death row is an “immediate execution” to Justice Breyer and Mr. Dionne. The state’s interest? How about feeding, housing and securing an admitted murderer/rapist for 16 years?
Regarding Leal’s alleged right to have a consular official present, would it have changed the absolute truth of his guilt? He basically confessed his guilt just before his death. Is it a consular official’s duty to read him his Miranda rights? The entire case revolved around his access to consular officials and nothing else. The truth is that Texas officials never asked him whether he wanted to see a Mexican consular official. And why exactly should they?
What Mr. Dionne and others fail to mention is that Humberto Leal was in this country illegally since 1975. For 19 years before this crime, Leal passed himself off as an American. Should the police in Texas in 1994 have asked anyone with a Spanish surname if they want to speak to a Mexican consular official? Wouldn’t that be racial profiling? While Obama fights the Arizona immigration law that may have prevented this alleged egregious “miscarriage of justice,” it is a law like Arizona’s that would have granted Leal access to a consular official. So in Obamaland, asking if someone is a Mexican national is racist while not asking him is a violation of international law.
Furthermore, in bringing this case to the Supreme Court absolutely NO consititutional questions were raised. Instead, a stay was requested so that Congress can pass a law to officially (and legally) recognize the Optional Protocol. Without Congressional approval, the Protocol has no effect in the US and hasn’t since 2005.
The main worry is the treatment of Americans held abroad for the alleged commitment of crimes in foreign countries. There is one major difference- generally speaking, Americans do not enter foreign countries illegally and pass themselves off as citizens of those countries for 19 years. There are instances of Americans being held abroad- North Korea and Iran come to mind. But we don’t have consular officials in those countries to begin with. In 2008, after the execution of another Mexican national, there was no international conspiracy against Americans held abroad and the dire consequences to international relations predicted by Bush, like Obama in this case, failed to occur. It is telling that the International Court of Justice states “51 Mexicans,” not “51 foreigners.” In all other cases, if law enforcement knows the person is a foreign national, there is not one case of denial to consular access. This is not a case of America running roughshod over international law as liberals would have you believe.
The truth is that Leal confessed to the brutal crime before formally arrested. The fact is that Leal was in this country illegally for 19 years before committing the crime. The police had no reason to believe he was a foreign national and should have been afforded access to a consular official. Leal was guilty of this heinous crime and that is an indisputable fact. Leal was read his Miranda rights, had counsel and a fair trial. By all accounts, it was a textbook perfect prosecution. The State of Texas did the United States AND Mexico a favor when they executed Humberto Leal Garcia. And good riddance.