Monday, 4 August 2008

Texas parole board won't stop execution of Mexican

Posted on Monday, August 4, 2008

Texas parole board won't stop execution of Mexican

By Dave Montgomery | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday
unanimously recommended against a reprieve for Jose Ernesto Medellin,
a Mexican national who's facing execution in Texas on Tuesday for
raping and murdering two teenage girls 15 years ago in Houston.

The recommendation, approved 7-0, now goes to Gov. Rick Perry for a
final decision on Medellin's fate. Perry is expected to announce his
decision Tuesday, said his spokeswoman, Allison Castle.

The Bush administration, the Mexican government and much of the
diplomatic community have warned of an international backlash if the
execution proceeds without a hearing on Medellin's claim that he was
denied an opportunity to contact the Mexican consulate after he was

At issue is a 1963 international treaty signed by the United States
and 165 other countries. The treaty, which created the Vienna
Convention on Consular Relations, asserts that citizens from any of
the participating countries are entitled to contact consular
officials "without delay" if they're taken into custody abroad.

President Bush ordered Texas and other states to grant hearings to
Medellin and other Mexican nationals who are facing execution, but
the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in March that Bush had overstepped his
authority in issuing the order. The ruling demolished the central
theme of Medellin's appeals and set the stage for his execution.

Medellin's attorneys had asked for an eight-month reprieve to give
Congress or the Texas Legislature time to pass legislation allowing
state or federal court hearings for Medellin and other Mexican
nationals on death rows.

Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., and Texas state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-
Houston, are offering bills that authorize hearings at the federal
and state level, respectively. However, Congress is in recess until
early September and the Texas Legislature won't go into session until

Medellin and other members of a gang called the Black and Whites were
sentenced to death for raping and killing Jennifer Lee Ertman, 14,
and Elizabeth Pena, 16, after the girls stumbled into a gang
initiation while they were hurrying home from a party.

Witnesses said Medellin later bragged about the assault and described
using a shoelace to strangle one of the girls because he didn't have
a gun, according to Texas' Supreme Court brief. Medellin, then 19,
also "put his foot on her throat because she would not die," the
brief said.

The execution is scheduled for sometime after 6 p.m. CDT Tuesday.

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