FOREIGN NATIONALS: Obama Administration and U.N. High Commissioner Seek Relief for Texas Death Row Inmate

On July 1, the Administration of President Barack Obama joined former government officials and national organizations intervening in the case of Texas death row inmate Humberto Leal Garcia. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to delay Leal’s execution scheduled for July 7. The Solicitor General wrote that Leal’s execution “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.” In a 30-page brief, the Administration also stated that complying with obligations to “notify consuls in such cases would serve U.S. interests as well as those of the condemned man,” including “protecting Americans abroad, fostering cooperation with foreign nations, and demonstrating respect for the international rule of law.” The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has also written a letter to Texas Governor Rick Perry, asking the governor to commute Leal’s sentence to life in prison.

(“Obama and U.N. seek delay in execution of Mexican national,” CNN.com, July 2, 2011). See generally Foreign Nationals. For more information about Leal’s case, see Humberto Leal Garcia (press release regarding former diplomats, military leaders, and others requesting a stay). UPDATE: Leal was executed on July 7. The Supreme Court denied a stay by a vote of 5-4.