A Honduran national, scheduled to be executed Thursday evening in Texas, asked the Supreme Court Thursday morning to delay that process and hear his claim that Texas violated a U.S.-Honduran treaty in his case. The challenge by lawyers for Heliberto Chi (petition 08-5652, stay application 08A112) came two days after the Supreme Court allowed Texas to execute another foreign national, Mexican Jose Ernesto Medellin.
The cases are similar, in that both Chi and Medellin contend that they were denied access to diplomatic officers from their country as their criminal cases went forward in Texas. Chi’s challenge is not based directly on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations — the treaty at issue in the Medellin case — but rather on a consular rights treaty between the U.S. and Honduras, dating from 1927. His appeal contends that this bilateral agreement is “self-executing,” unlike the Vienna Convention, and thus is binding within the U.S. and on Texas.
Earlier coverage is here.