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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Texas set to execute Mexican

    Texas set to execute Mexican national despite last-minute objections

    By Keri Blakinger
    Published 10:17 pm, Tuesday, November 7, 2017




    Photo: Jon Shapley, Staff Photographer
    Greg Kuykendall, left, director of the legal assistance program for capital cases, and Oscar Rodriguez Cabrera, consul general of Mexico in Houston, say that the execution should be halted.


    A day before Ruben Cardenas Ramirez is scheduled to die by lethal injection in Huntsville, Mexican officials gathered Tuesday in Houston to voice their continuing opposition to the execution of their countryman.

    The condemned man was convicted of raping and slaughtering his 16-year-old cousin in Hidalgo County, but in the intervening two decades his case - and his innocence claims - have yet again renewed an international furor over Texas' alleged treaty violations and apparent disregard for international law.


    "For the Mexican government, capital punishment constitutes one of the most essential violations of human rights," said Ambassador Jacob Prado Gonzalez, general director for protection of Mexicans abroad.

    READ ALSO:
    'Tourniquet Killer' murderabilia hits internet just days from his expected execution


    But it's not the use of capital punishment that's drawn sharp rebuke south of the border - it's the treaty violations following the 1997 arrest when local law enforcement allegedly failed to tell Mexico of the arrest or notify Cardenas of his rights to consular notification.

    The Wednesday execution plans come amid rising tensions between the neighboring nations, driven in part by President Trump's calls for a border wall and harsh campaign season rhetoric.

    Along with funding Cardenas' defense, Mexico has pushed back against the impending death date by notifying the U.N. Security Council of the treaty violations and firing off a letter to the World Court. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has already weighed in with a resolution recommending that the U.S. vacate the death sentence.


    Yet officials in Hidalgo County on the Texas-Mexico border have stayed firm in their determination to see through the execution, with one prosecutor calling the convicted killer "guilty as sin."

    The 47-year-old Cardenas was found guilty of murdering Mayra Laguna after a boozy February night of partying with his buddy, Antonio Castillo.

    The girl's sister spotted an unknown man slipping through the window and forcing the bound and half-clothed teen to leave with him. Afterward, Laguna was found beaten and dumped in a canal.

    Authorities in Hidalgo County first arrested Cardenas hours after the abduction but did not immediately tell Mexico or notify the accused of his right to talk to his country's consulate, according to court documents — an apparent oversight that violates Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.


    A 2004 U.N. World Court ruling mandates that foreign nationals who weren't told of their consular rights are allowed a review to examine whether that oversight influenced the outcome of the criminal case.


    And for Cardenas, there's some chance that it could have. Because of the lack of consular notification, Mexican officials didn't find out about the arrest for five months, long after Cardenas had given multiple, conflicting confessions that his lawyer argues were coerced.


    Cardenas repeatedly asked for a lawyer, but authorities ignored his pleas until 11 days after his arrest, instead pushing on in their interrogations without telling him about his consular notification rights, his attorney alleged in court filings.


    But a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision deemed the U.N. order unenforceable unless Congress takes legislative action — and it hasn't.


    "It's not a question of whether there really is a binding legal obligation or not, every justice in the Supreme Court agrees that there is," said Gregory Kuykendall, the Arizona attorney who heads up the Mexican Capital Legal Assistance Program. "The only question is who is going to implement the legal mechanism to put it into place."


    But if Cardenas manages to beat his death date, it won't be because of the alleged treaty violations. There's no legal path for the United Nations to halt a Texas execution, so the condemned man's only hope lies in the courts.


    On Monday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals slapped down a pair of appellate claims seeking DNA testing, called the request a possible delaying technique and that testing results wouldn't be enough to prove innocence anyway.


    "Yesterday the Texas CCA raised the bar and changed the rules of the game essentially in terms of describing what standard of proof is necessary for a defendant to establish before he can gain access to DNA samples," Kuykendall said Tuesday.

    The condemned man's attorney, Maurie Levin, decried the use of "legal technicalities" to block the testing.


    "His conviction was based on junk science, coerced and unreliable confessions and a tainted courtroom identification by a purported eyewitness - all hallmarks of wrongful convictions," Levin said. "To permit his execution to proceed when there is potentially exculpatory DNA testing available violates the most basic notions of fairness and justice."


    The Board of Pardons and Paroles has already denied a clemency request, but attorneys filed a federal civil suit Tuesday over DNA testing.


    If Wednesday's death date stands, Kuykendall said, he will be the fifth Mexican national Texas has executed in apparent violent of international law.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry...b0baea26339447
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    Mexican citizen executed in Texas for cousin's 1997 slaying


    • By MICHAEL GRACZYK, ASSOCIATED PRESS



    HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Nov 9, 2017, 12:03 AM ET
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