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Bush, Texas at odds over death case

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071007/ap_on_go_su_co/scotus_mexican_national Bush, Texas at odds over death case By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer 5
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 7, 2007
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      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071007/ap_on_go_su_co/scotus_mexican_national

      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
      teenage girls.

      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
      criminal laws.

      "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
      said.

      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
      October 1994.

      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.
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