President Obama joined a lengthy list of prominent U.S. citizens asking that the execution of a Mexican killer be stopped today. Leal is due to be put to death in Texas at 6p.m. tonight for what Governor Rick Perry calls “the most heinous of crimes,” which includes rape and murder. Obama urges Perry to consider the ramifications of this execution to U.S. interests.
Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, has ignored the many appeals he has already received from diplomats, top judges, senior military officers, the United Nations and former president George W Bush. All of these high ranking military and government officials are asking Perry to reconsider and to stay Leal's execution because it could jeopardize US diplomatic interests, as well as Americans arrested abroad, according to Fox News.
The Supreme Court is asked by The White House to put the execution of this Mexican national on hold while Congress passes a law that would prevent the death of this convicted murderer and rapist. The law would not only stop the execution of Leal, but also dozens of other foreign nationals who stood trial for capitol crimes and were denied proper access to diplomatic representation before hand.
Leal, 38, was convicted of the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in San Antonio in 1994. There is little questions as to whether he is responsible for these crimes or not, the evidence was there to convict him. The problem is that Texas authorities failed to inform him of his rights under the Vienna convention. Although he was born in Mexico, Leal has lived in the U.S. since the age of two. Even though he has spent almost all his life living in the U.S., this death row inmate was still entitled to contact the Mexican consulate when he was arrested.
The lawyers for Leal argue that the lack of access to the Mexican consulate played a role in the death penalty sentence for the Mexican national. During "non-custodial interviews" on the day of the murder, he incriminated himself in statements he made to the police. If he had been awarded his legal right of having access to the Mexican consulate, chances are they would have arranged for a lawyer for him, and he would have limited his statements to the police under the advise of that lawyer. The authorities in Mexico were never informed of his arrest in the U. S..
The White House presented a 30-page brief to the Supreme Court, outlining the problems carrying out this execution may cause due to this convicted prisoner's rights being violated at the time of his arrest. The brief stresses that it is in the U.S.'s best interest to meet their obligations under this treaty.
One of the biggest concerns about neglecting to follow the terms put forth from the Vienna Convention is the implications this may have on Americans traveling to other countries. If the U.S. does not honor this, it may open the door for others to follow. This could result in Americans aboard being denied the right to the American consulate if arrested, just as Leal was denied the chance to contact the Mexican consulate.