Friday, December 10, 2004

New York Times again not giving the whole story Article on the Supreme Court taken the appeal of José Ernesto Medellín who is on death row for as the NYTimes puts it "gang-related murder". The Supreme Court accepted an appeal on Friday from still another Texas death-row inmate in a case with significant international implications. The question is whether the federal government can permit Texas to execute a Mexican whose rights under a binding international treaty were violated when he was tried and sentenced to death without Mexican officials being notified. At his 1994 trial for a gang-related murder, Mr. Medellín, an indigent 18-year-old, was given a court-appointed lawyer who called no witnesses. Unknown to the trial judge at the time, Mr. Medellín's lawyer had been suspended from law practice for ethical violations. At the penalty phase of the trial, which lasted two hours, the lawyer put on only one expert witness, a psychologist who had never met Mr. Medellín. The Vienna Convention, which the United States ratified in 1969, requires the authorities of a government that is detaining a foreign citizen to act "without delay" in notifying the prisoner of the right to request help from a consul of his home country. Mexican officials learned that Mr. Medellín had been convicted of murder after he had been on death row for three years. Mexico sued the United States in the World Court last year on behalf of Mr. Medellín and the other Mexican inmates. Two things stand out, I could give a hoot about the World Court and its ruling, Jose did a crime( more on that later) on American soil, tried and convicted in American courts. IF as the Nytimes said the lawyer was that incompetent and not legally able to be used in the case, then I say retry the guy. What I hope the Supreme Court doesn't do is allow the World Court ruling with the briefs from the EU and Mexico become a part of a decision for this guy even in a little way. I say hope and should because the Supreme Court seems to have some judges who want the world courts and international community to love them led by O'Connor and Ginsburg. The second is they Nytimes is in advocacy mode for the criminal and Mexico by the tone of the story and what is being left out like what exactly was the "gang-related crime" You have to read the Dallas Morning News for that. Medellin has been on Texas' death row since September 1994. He was one of five Houston gang members known as the "Black and Whites," who raped and killed 14-year old Jennifer Ertman and 16-year-old Elizabeth Pena when they accidentally happened upon a gang initiation. The lesson here is when you want to present a criminal in a good light, you better whitewash what he exactly did or you won't get as much sympathy from your liberal readers as the NYTimes has.

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