Bush, Texas at odds over death case
By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer 5 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - To put it bluntly, Texas wants President
Bush to get out of the way of the state's plan to
execute a Mexican for the brutal killing of two
Bush, who presided over 152 executions as governor of
Texas, wants to halt the execution of Jose Ernesto
Medellin in what has become a confusing test of
presidential power that the Supreme Court, which hears
the case this week, ultimately will sort out.
The president wants to enforce a decision by the
International Court of Justice that found the
convictions of Medellin and 50 other Mexican-born
prisoners violated their rights to legal help as
outlined in the 1963 Vienna Convention.
That is the same court Bush has since said he plans to
ignore if it makes similar decisions affecting state
"The president does not agree with the ICJ's
interpretation of the Vienna Convention," the
administration said in arguments filed with the court.
This time, though, the U.S. agreed to abide by the
international court's decision because ignoring it
would harm American interests abroad, the government
Texas argues that neither the international court nor
Bush has any say in Medellin's case.
Medellin was born in Mexico but spent much of his
childhood in the United States. He was 18 in June
1993, when he and other members of the Black and
Whites gang in Houston encountered two teenage girls
on a railroad trestle.
The girls were gang-raped and strangled. Their bodies
were found four days later.
Medellin was arrested a few days later. He was told he
had a right to remain silent and have a lawyer
present, but the police did not tell him that he could
request assistance from the Mexican consulate.
Medellin gave a written confession. He was convicted
of murder in the course of a sexual assault, a capital
offense in Texas. A judge sentenced him to death in
Medellin did not raise the lack of assistance from
Mexican diplomats during his trial or sentencing. When
he did claim his rights had been violated, Texas and
federal courts turned him down because he had not
objected at his trial. Mexico later sued the United
States in the International Court of Justice in The
Hague on behalf of Medellin and 50 other Mexicans on
death row in the U.S.