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Texas may be about to carry out an execution despite being told in no uncertain terms that it would violate international law.  Later tonight, the state is due to execute a Mexican man convicted of a 1994 murder--even though when he was arrested, police didn't tell him that he had the right to contact diplomats from his own country.

Secretary of State John Kerry, Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and former Gov. Mark W. White Jr. have urged Gov. Rick Perry and the state attorney general, Greg Abbott, to stop the execution of the man, Edgar Arias Tamayo, 46, to allow a court to review how the state’s violation affected Mr. Tamayo’s trial and death sentence. The execution has been set for Wednesday.

“This has nothing to do with the behavior and the consequences that that behavior had,” Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Eduardo Medina Mora, said in an interview. “A court has to examine the consequences of that violation, a violation that has been conceded by both the United States and the State of Texas.”

Mr. Tamayo was sentenced to death for shooting and killing a Houston police officer in January 1994. The officer, Guy P. Gaddis, had arrested Mr. Tamayo after a robbery and was taking him to jail in his patrol car when Mr. Tamayo pulled out a pistol and shot him three times in the back of the head. While he was in custody, the authorities failed to notify Mr. Tamayo of his right to contact the Mexican Consulate, an omission that violated the international treaty known as the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

No one disputes that Tamayo is guilty of killing Gaddis.  However, Tamayo is one of 51 Mexican nationals on death row across this country whom the World Court suspects had their Vienna Convention rights violated.  In 2004, the World Court ordered the United States to review those convictions.  In response, Bush 43 ordered Texas to review all convictions of those Mexicans on its death row covered by the order.  But in 2008, the Supreme Court said that the president couldn't make such a move on his own authority.  Rather, Congress had to pass a law mandating such reviews--but unfortunately, Congress has yet to act.

How serious is this?  The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has also applied pressure, saying that the execution would be "a serious and irreparable violation" of American international obligations.  Kerry has gone as far as to personally appeal to Abbott, telling him that if the execution is carried out it could have serious consequences for how Americans are treated abroad.

Perry and Abbott take the line that Texas isn't directly covered by the World Court order.  In fact, Texas has executed two other people covered by it without a review.  After a federal appeals court turned down Tamayo's appeal, his lawyers are appealing to the Supreme Court.  Hopefully the Supremes can act on this soon.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Some in Texas salivate... (7+ / 0-)

    at the idea of war with Mexico.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 03:33:52 PM PST

  •  Texas - it's a whole 'nother country! (14+ / 0-)

    I just wish that what happened in Texas, stayed in Texas.  Unfortunately, it doesn't.  Texas is a one of 50 states in these United States, and what happens there reflects (poorly) on the other 49.

    My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

    by NM Ray on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 03:35:56 PM PST

  •  The death penalty is ALWAYS wrong. n/t (15+ / 0-)

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 03:47:40 PM PST

  •  I would hope this would also give the companies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, swarf, Hastur

    sorry, countries, that are pushing the TPP some reason to doubt that the United States follows through on treaties and therefore they should halt including the US in the treaty.  After all, from the reports that treaty is supposed to override the laws of the whole country and all jurisdictions therein, which should mean Texas.

  •  having met Gaddis' survivors (6+ / 0-)

    and having some idea of what Americans abroad are currently NOT protected against, I have zero problem with this execution going forward.

    While the crash injured both Tamayo and a fellow prisoner, Tamayo was able to kick out the window glass of the left rear door and escape. He was caught a block or two away.Tried and convicted on Nov. 1, 1994 — almost 13 years ago — he got the death penalty and many more lucky breaks than Guy Gaddis.

    Although raised in Texas, Tamayo was technically still a Mexican national and as such received special appellate consideration through the International Court of Justice in The Hague. He claimed in his appeal that he wasn't immediately aware of his right to consult with the Mexican consulate for legal advice and a lawyer, notwithstanding the fact that he was provided court-appointed attorneys the minute he was arrested.

    His appeal went to The Hague and back. As the system moved like a tortoise, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Texas courts are not bound by decisions of The Hague. Our Supreme Court said any Hague decision didn't make any difference.

    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 04:20:05 PM PST

    •  Is your point that he's scum, (5+ / 0-)

      that it's legal for states to defy international treaties, that the SCOTUS decision is correct, or that such treaties should be ignored until Congress acts?

      Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

      by Bob Love on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 05:05:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What are your thoughts about the death penalty? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, DSPS owl

      In general? Is life without possibility of parole inadequate? Granted, this was a really bad guy, who did a horrible thing. Is death the only outcome that will satisfy justice?

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 05:20:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  my point of view is that any chance ever that (3+ / 0-)

        he might do something like this again -- to a guard, to another prisoner, to another cop, to an innocent bystander the next time he engineers a transport wreck -- is too much leeway to give this guy. He had prior criminal history in California, too.

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 06:37:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Could the President, (0+ / 0-)

        use his pardon powers to commute this death sentence to one of life in prison without the possibility of parole?  His powers to do something like this, IMO, is not limited in any fashion.  Texas would have to abide by his exercise of that power.  And Congress would not be able to prevent it.  I would rather see him do this, rather than to see us violate yet another international treaty obligation.

        •  He could not (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dr Swig Mcjigger

          His power to pardon is limited to federal offenses.

          “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

          by Catte Nappe on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 09:01:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  oh well then (0+ / 0-)

      Texas declares itself not subject to the decisions of The Hague.  Fantastic!  I hereby declare myself not subject to any decisions of the government! I am a sovereign citizen and you can't tell me what to do!

      Seriously, am I the only person seeing the complete lack of sense-making on this one?

      •  am I the only one not seeing that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheDarkPeasant, Dr Swig Mcjigger

        a murderer won't get a chance to kill again here and that decision went through the whole appeal process before the sentence was carried out?

        there was never any question this guy hadn't done the murder.
        Never any.

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 01:54:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're missing the point (0+ / 0-)

          I don't think anyone is attempting to justify what this guy did, what we are more concerned about is where will this end. When we allow individual states/cities/counties... to make their own decisions about abiding by the laws that are set by the international community, we are entering dangerous waters. The guy sounds like a bad guy, but that does not undermine the law.

  •  I wonder why..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Justanothernyer
    But in 2008, the Supreme Court said that the president couldn't make such a move on his own authority.  Rather, Congress had to pass a law mandating such reviews--but unfortunately, Congress has yet to act.
    Congress did not act while we controlled both Houses.
  •  Once again (0+ / 0-)

    I am ashamed to be an American.

    Tyrion Lannister: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy."

    by psychodrew on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 04:58:02 PM PST

  •  One of the earlier instances (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom
    Humberto Leal Garcia Jr., a Mexican national convicted of raping and killing a 16-year-old girl in 1994, was executed by lethal injection [July 2011] in Texas.
    The case's flurry of legal appeals and pleas for clemency were prompted by an international dispute over the rights of the foreign-born on American death rows.
    The Supreme Court earlier denied a stay of execution for the convicted killer, despite opposition from the Obama administration and the Mexican government.
    http://www.cnn.com/...

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 05:06:17 PM PST

  •  Small correction (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Swig Mcjigger

    You say:
     

    In fact, Texas has executed two other people covered by it without a review.
    The NYT article says:
    Texas has executed two other Mexicans whose cases were part of the World Court’s order. Those two had their convictions reviewed in connection with the Vienna Convention violations, but no United States court has done so in Mr. Tamayo’s case.

    Disclaimer: If the above comment can possibly be construed as snark, it probably is.

    by grubber on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 05:42:49 PM PST

  •  They don't care; they love killing too much (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hastur

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 06:01:47 PM PST

  •  Conflation (0+ / 0-)

    There seems to be a conflation between two different terms that is actually not that unusual.

    There are two separate bodies; the World Court (or the International Court of Justice) and the International Court of Human Rights. Normally individual appeals go to the ICHR but disputes between countries to the former. Since the World Court is a super-national court set up under the United Nations, the violation to adhere to its decisions would appear to be Treaty under which the USA is a member of the UN. (Surely another reason why the USSC decision was actually unconstitutional in itself.)

    We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 06:42:13 PM PST

  •  And what would have happened... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yosef 52

    ...to alter the outcome, had he contacted the Mexican Consulate at the appropriate time?  If nobody can say anything about that, how is it different from "harmless procedural errors" that appeals courts routinely dismiss as reasons to turn back the clock?

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 06:53:53 PM PST

    •  That's exactly what it is (0+ / 0-)

      Courts don't require trials to be perfect. They routinely reject appeals based on things that are clearly in error, but wouldn't have made an difference. This appears to be one of those cases. Let's say he had been told he could call the Mexican consulate. Then what? Even the diarist concedes that no one denies his guilt. Would Mexico have supplied some superlawer who could have gotten him off despite being unquestionably guilty? This strikes me was impossible.

  •  A broken clock is right twice a day (0+ / 0-)

    Well at least this time the guy deserves it. Usually guilt has nothing to do with the death penalty in Tx. They kill for the sheer joy of it. Texans are the most un-evolved "Whatever they are" on the planet. If I was a cop I think I would probably search the guy I was arresting. Not an excuse to kill him, but evolution may have had something to do with this...Oh that's right , they don't believe in evolution in Tx.

    If I said anything that offended anyone, you probably deserved it.

    by Mokislab on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 07:07:41 PM PST

  •  Once again, as someone who is opposed to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Swig Mcjigger, TheDarkPeasant

    capital punishment, I find it hard to get lathered up about this. How would calling the Mexican consul have changed the course of this thoroughly adjudicated case? The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights can blow it out their barracks bag.

    •  Because if we refuse to abide by international (3+ / 0-)

      treaties we are signatories of, it puts American citizens in jeopardy should they be arrested in foreign countries who are also signatories. Why should they abide by these treaties if we do not?

      "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity" Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..

      by mindara on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 08:15:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I dunno why that's hard to understand.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mindara, Cassandra Waites

        ...I think they aren't stupid, they KNOW it will affect the way Americans are treated by foreign countries, particularly Mexico, they just don't give a fuck!

        It's not THEIR problem, their problem is to keep getting reelected by an electorate that seethes with blood lust....

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 08:37:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Same reason it's hard for them to understand (3+ / 0-)

          that we follow the Geneva Conventions, not just because it's the right thing to do, but it also protects our soldiers abroad. Nothing created more danger to Americans, America and our Armed Forces than the Bush/Cheney doctrine of extraordinary renditions, "enhanced interrogation techniques", Abu Gharib and Gitmo.

          "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity" Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..

          by mindara on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 09:47:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  US Supreme Court Decision (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Swig Mcjigger

        Yes, the United States would have had to comply if Tamayo had been guilty of a federal crime, but the US Supreme Court stated that this treaty was "not binding domestic law" that obligated that nation's separate states, each having independent judicial systems and rules.

        If the Federal government wants to starts enforcing some  laws such as protecting our borders (or at least let us do it) and shipping illegal aliens back to Mexico who don't belong here, then we might listen - until then, if you come here and murder one of our police officers, then face the justice that you deserve.

      •  But again, what would the difference be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adolf Verloc

        in this case? Not every violation requires a rememdy. There are such things as immaterial breaches. This appears to be one. No one denies that this POS is guilty. He had counsel. He's had decades of appeals. Its not as if he were arrested without a warrant, denied counsel and coerced into pleading guilty with no appeals.

    •  Because US Constitution (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites

      If you get arrested in Mexico, you're going to want to talk to a US consular officer before you go to trial. If this guy were Brazilian, his execution would probably mean that Americans no longer had such a right (they're pretty strict about literal reciprocity: do unto others as they do unto us). That's what Kerry is concerned about.

      As for flipping a bird to the international treaty organizations, well, that's fine, as long as you accept that you are literally and explicitly violating the US Constitution in the process. It's right there in Article Six:

      This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
      That's not terribly complicated, now is it?

      Groups: Toolbox and Trolls... to preserve the best & the worst of DailyKos.

      by opendna on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 12:06:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't go to Mexico, or Brazil, or anywhere (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Swig Mcjigger

        unless you are prepared to accept the fact that the local system of justice will usually be stacked against you. And it does seem that the Supreme Court has ruled that states and localities are not bound by this nonsense. Once again, these weepy criminal-enablers can blow it out their barracks bag.

  •  Don't Mess With Texas (3+ / 0-)

    If you come here and murder one of our police officers, there is a good chance you'll face the death penalty for that crime.

    For those not familiar with the facts of this case,

    1) Houston police office Guy Gaddis, who had been on the force for two years, was driving Tamayo and another man from a robbery scene when evidence showed the officer was shot three times in the head and neck with a pistol Tamayo had concealed in his pants. The car crashed, and Tamayo fled on foot but was captured a few blocks away, still in handcuffs, carrying the robbery victim's watch and wearing the victim's necklace.

    2) Tamayo was an illegal alien - one way of avoiding this situation would have been to stay in Mexico and kill people there instead of Texas

  •  Oops (0+ / 0-)

    Once again Texas goes it alone.

  •  Perhaps.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rainne

    We should be placing sanctions on Texas instead of on Iran.

  •  We'll yell and scream alot but (0+ / 0-)

    when it comes down to it Texas has the bigger balls.  The Feds should have just gone in with troops if necessary and taken the prisoner somewhere else until this could be resolved.  Too late now.  The prisoner is dead.  Can't undo that.  

  •  To whom the who belongs (0+ / 0-)

    "No one disputes that Tamayo is guilty of killing Gaddis.  However, Tamayo is one of 51 Mexican nationals on death row across this country whom the World Court suspects had their Vienna Convention rights violated."

    "...is one of 51 Mexican nationals on death row across this country WHO the World Court suspects..." Christian.

  •  It's Texas. Nothing outside of Texas matters. (0+ / 0-)

    On the other hand, maybe God is taking care of the situation with that whole drought thing.

  •  Yeah.... (0+ / 0-)

    NOW America is going to care about international relations- I won't hold my breath.

    "I'm not scared of anyone or anything, Angie. Isn't that the way life should be?" Jack Hawksmoor

    by skyounkin on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 07:50:36 PM PST

  •  Alamo 2.0 (0+ / 0-)

    Coming soon.

  •  Bigger Question (0+ / 0-)

    I support efforts to ensure that the gross violation of this man's international rights did not unduly affect either his conviction or resulting sentence.

    I do have one question though...

    How in the HECK did this guy manage wind up in a patrol car with a gun?!

    Didn't the officer pat him down before putting him in the car?

    Wasn't this guy handcuffed with his hands behind his back while in the car?

    Seems to me these are typical actions taken when arresting someone for a crime like robbery.

    Apparently the officer did not do either of these things.  If he had, Mr. Tamayo would not have had access to a gun and would not have been able to draw it, aim it and pull the trigger even if he did manage to find one in the back of the patrol car.

    I think what Mr. Tamayo needs is to be sent back to Mexico to suffer the full weight of that country's justice system.  Of course this should be done with the full assurances of the Mexican government that Mr. Tamayo will never, ever be able to enter the US alive again.  This solution solves two major issues:

    Mr. Tamayo will be convicted and sentenced according to the laws of his own country. absolving the US of any ethical or moral angst if Mexico decides to execute him for his crime.

    The US will not have to continue paying the high costs of housing, feeding and caring for Mr. Tamayo.

    Sounds right to me!

    •  tamyo committed his crime here (0+ / 0-)

      Texas is the proper place for him to serve whatever sentence he gets. In this case, death.  Mexico can't execute him for a crime committed in the US.

      As for your questions, what is the point of asking them? They are irrelevant. None of them excuse murder.

  •  ADIOS... (0+ / 0-)

    Edgar Arias Tamayo was pronounced deader than the proverbial doornail on Wednesday. He's toast. Stick a fork in him. He's done. I'm sorry, but I don't feel one iota of sympathy for this cop-killer, nor can I muster up a tear for his demise. The crime he committed, pumping three bullets into the back of a young policeman's head, was so heinous and went so far beyond the pale, he forfeited his right to live amongst decent society. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    Fuck the Mexican government, the Vienna Convention, international law, the Mexican consulate and everybody else who tried to intervene in this case to stop Tamayo's execution. Just how much review and reconsideration did this monster deserve? He's been sitting on Death Row for 20 years since his conviction, which is 20 years longer than his victim got to enjoy. The situation was made especially tragic because his young wife was expecting their first child at the time of his murder.

    There's a simple moral to this story. If you're a Mexican national, don't cross the U.S. border and kill a cop. Get the word out that creeps who come to our country illegally and break U.S. laws are going to face the consequences of their actions. And for those who piss and moan about how foreign criminals' "rights" are being violated by the American justice system, I say, "BOO-FUCKING-HOO."

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