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Latino Daily News

Wednesday July 6, 2011

Stay of Execution for Mexican National Denied by Texas Board, Despite Obama and UN Push for Stay

Stay of Execution for Mexican National Denied by Texas Board, Despite Obama and UN Push for Stay

Photo: Humberto Leal Garcia Jr. was convicted and sentenced to death for the May 24, 1994 murder of 16-year-old Adria Sauceda

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

President Obama and the United Nations had been pushing for a stay of execution for a Mexican national denied access to Mexico’s consulate after he was arrested for the 1994 rape and murder of a San Antonio teen, but the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole rejected the request Tuesday.

Humberto Leal Garcia Jr., now 38, was convicted and sentenced to death for the May 24, 1994 murder of 16-year-old Adria Sauceda. The teenager’s naked body was found on a rural San Antonio road after being raped and murdered. Coroners concluded that she had been bludgeoned to death with a large piece of asphalt.

Tuesday’s decision comes after Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.’s friend-of-the-court brief, in which he stated the execution of Leal “would place the United States in irreparable breach of its international-law obligation to afford (Leal) review and reconsideration of his claim that his conviction and sentence were prejudiced by Texas authorities’ failure to provide consular notification and assistance under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.”

Also, in a letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, asked that Leal’s sentence be commuted to life in prison, said spokesperson Rupert Colville.

“The lack of consular assistance and advice raises concerns about whether or not Mr. Leal Garcia’s right to a fair trial was fully upheld,” Colville said to CNN

ImageGov. Perry can still grant a 30-day stay without the recommendation of the board, but he rarely grants such requests.

If a reprieve is granted by the Supreme Court, Congress would possibly have time to act on a bill that would require for federal review of capital cases involving foreigners denied access to their consulate.

If the Thursday execution proceeds as scheduled, it will be the second time in four years that Texas has defied international demands that it follow the rules and laws set forth by the Vienna Convention. The other being in regards to the execution of Mexican citizen Jose Medellin in 2008. Medellin had been convicted of the 1993 strangulation of two Houston teens.