U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Mexican Habeas on Death Row

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Tuesday, February 1, 2005
Bruce Zagaris
On December 10, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted certiorari in the case of a Mexican national on death row who is alleging that lack of timely access to Mexican consular officials under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations deprived him of his fundamental rights. The petitioner, Jose Ernesto MedellĂ­n, is one of 49 Mexican nationals currently on death row in state courts in the U.S., who are covered by the final judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Avena and Other Mexican Nationals. The persons covered by Avena were not advised in a timely manner of their rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to contact the Mexican consular post; they were convicted and sentenced to death without benefit of timely consular services. They have been held by the ICJ to be entitled to review and reconsideration of their convictions and sentences as a remedy for this treaty violation. The petition asks that, since Avena is binding on the U.S., the Supreme Court should revisit its per curiam ruling in Breard v. Greene, to clarify that a federal remedy is available to implement this treaty rights...[more]