The Sad Story of Jose Ernesto Medellin

Today the top story in CNN is about the execution in Texas of Jose Ernesto Medellin. What did he do to earn such a fate?

…he participated in the June 1993 gang rape and murder of two Harris County girls, Jennifer Ertman, 14, and Elizabeth Pena, 16. He was convicted of the crimes and sentenced to death.

It’s a sad story for several reasons. First of all, for those of us who are opposed to capital punishment, state sanctioned murder is just as wrong as the murders the condemned man himself committed. Secondly, the two young lives of Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena, snuffed out before they even had a chance to do something with those lives. And thirdly, in this case, the Bush Administration found a way to ignore international law and treaties concerning foreign detainees.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 that the United States had violated the rights of the prisoners, in part because officials and prosecutors failed to notify their home country, from which the men could have received legal and other assistance. Those judges ordered the United States to provide “review and reconsideration” of the convictions and sentences of the Mexican prisoners.

Bush said he disagreed with the international court’s conclusions, but agreed to comply with them.

But, the trick he used in order to avoid compliance was to turn it back over to the sovereignty of the States.  This is how the Federal Government operates, when convenient they let the States have the autonomy, in other cases not.

Please let us know how you feel about this by leaving a comment.

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50 Comments on “The Sad Story of Jose Ernesto Medellin”

  1. Candy Wrobel Says:


  2. mikeb302000 Says:

    Candy, Thanks for commenting. I must admit, since nothing like this has ever happened to a member of my family, it may be easier to take this position. Nevertheless, I can’t in good conscience see condoning capital punishment, regardless of the crime.

  3. mat Says:

    The only thing wrong with this execution is that it took 15 years to complete.

  4. Gary E. Zajdel Says:

    Thank you for a well written informative missive. I could’t agree with you more. The death penalty in and of itself is barbaric. Our nation should be ashamed of itself for not only allowing it but actually supporting such action. It is contrary to everything we are supposed to stand for…ie: justice, peace, equal rights etc. It is unfortunate that Texas “justice” verifies the stereotypical “stupid southerners”label. I find it odd that the very same “braintrust” (Texas) that purports itself as being the majesty of law and order has produced the world’s biggest criminal/murderer/treasonist…George W Bush…
    At any rate, the case of Medellin, goes far beyond the scope of of an opinion relative to the death penalty…we authorized the killing of a foreigner whose home country forbids such punishment. Medellin was held accountable pursuant to US law only regarding the penalty phase. In other areas of our law, he was denied access to properly defend himself. It amazes me that our country and more specifically, GWB and the right-tilted Supreme Court, continues to practice such selective application of the law. The overt arrogance makes me ill. it is as if everything that our forefathers fought for (WW II) is now irrelevant. Honestly Mike, I don’t understand the lack of outrage by our citizenry.
    OK, I don’t want to take up the next 3-days writing out my opinions…BUT…to those who feel that an opinion against the death penalty is an endorsement of the accused behaviour…YOU ARE WRONG! Very simply put “Thou shalt not kill! is not open for interpretation. Thank you!

    Gary Zajdel
    NY, NY

  5. Alex Says:

    Mike, how can you say “regardless of the crime” ? It’s much more than a crime, it’s barbarity at its peak, it’s not a rape and a murder, it’s a crime against humanity. I am not a pro death penalty, but for such an animal (there is no other word), lethal injection is not painful enough, he should have been gang-raped and killed by stomping to feel what it was like. He escaped his own soul and conscience, that’s too easy.

  6. Andrea Says:

    Mike…..I can assure you that if it were your 16 year old daughter, you would be singing a different tune.

  7. Andrea Says:

    Gary, You just lost all credibility with me when you insulted the south with your stereotypical stupid south comment.
    I bet you’re pro abortion too. I see how you think. “Let’s let a gang rapist murder live yet kill and innocent unborn baby.”
    Whose stupid now?

  8. Nameless Says:

    My mother was raped by an illegal Mexican over 20 years ago in the bay area. The cops could not find him because he “didn’t exist”. I’m glad that this rapist/murderer was put to justice. Now we are sending the right message to the illegals as well as the citizens… break our laws… pay our price!

  9. Dick Says:

    The man bragged how he had to stomp one of the girls because she would not die. He gave a Mickey Mouse watch from one of them to his girlfriend. They used belts to strangle them after raping them.

    Mike, you cannot compare animals such as this to other human beings. Lethal injection was too good for him. It is unfortunate that things have changed so over the years. There was a time when none of these animals would have made it to the jailhouse.

    It is time that if these so called international treaties are to be considered that the countries keep their animals at home and not export them to the US.

  10. Dick Says:

    I have to assume you went to some liberal arts school somewhere and got dosed with a bad case of relative ethics. “Thou Shall Not Murder” is the correct translation. We have given our government agencies the power to protect us and to prosecute those who do us harm. There is nothing relative about the terror that these girls were subjected to. There is nothing relative about the horror that they experienced as they struggled to live so they may have the life you are living now.

    It is our obligation to protect others from such acts and in this case the lethal injection is much too civilized.

  11. mike Says:

    what in God’s name could these animals offer to anyone .who could love them? would they one day just decide they could bring something of worth to this planet? im glad they killed him.

  12. mikeb302000 Says:

    I appreciate all the comments. I realize that my position is not in the majority. Although Gary E. Zajdel did a bit of a generalization about Southerners and Texans, I liked very much what he said at the end: “to those who feel that an opinion against the death penalty is an endorsement of the accused behaviour…YOU ARE WRONG!” I feel myself conscience bound to oppose the death penalty, but I agree totally that the behaviour of Medellin and people like him is beneath human and horriffc.

  13. JO Says:

    I guess the author has no understanding of international law b/c the U.S. is no longer a member of the ICJ. Hence, that court and their opinion have no jurisdiction over how the United States or the individual states that compose it enforce their criminal laws. Thank god for that. Also, the author failed to mention that this jerk and his buddies repeatedly vaginally, orally, and anally raped these 2 girls before they brutally murdered them. As far as I’m concerned, justice has been served. I hope the parents/families of these girls also feel that justice has been served.

  14. Gary E. Zajdel Says:

    There is nothing good about Medellin. I do not defend him or any other killers, rapists, child molesters and so on. As a matter of fact, I believe that NYS is far too lenient when sentencing molesters. That is not what this discussion is about. I believe it revolves around the issue of metting out the death penalty. I agree with the pretense that we have an obligation to protect others from such vile/vicious behaviors. What I fail to understand is how does capital punishment accomplish that? Proponents will be quick to say that at least they’ll (criminals) will never have the opportunity to repeat that behavior….life without parole does the same. Believe it or not, it is even more expensive to kill someone (death penalty) than a lifetime of incarceration. Guarateed appeals are expensive . Most defendants are poor.

    Consider another POV….and this especially applies to Texas (Dallas county)… innocents on death row. How many people have been exonerated?…too many! Capital punishment is not a crime deterrent. It never has been. And Dick, I am not a biblical scholar, but I sure would be interested as to where in the bible is there a destiction concerning “murder.” Please remember that Christ walked this earth promoting the “New Covenant.”

    One final thing to Andrea…I do not advocate abortion. I advocate the right to choose. The government has no business legislating morality! That’s why separation of church & state has worked so well. My comments about Texas were NOT meant to demean any individual in Texas. I said, through inference, that it’s unfortunate that there are those in Texas who make the stereotype etc…there are those same in NY, NJ, RI etc. I look forward to any/all comments. Once again…thank you Mike for providing a forum!

    Gary E Zajdel

  15. Reg Says:

    I love that fact that it took so long to flush this creep down to hell. He lived for 15 years wondering if this is the day he would die, that’s a tough way to live. In a perfect world he would have been gang raped by burly prisoners for those 15 years as well, that would have made him think twice about appealing. So welcome to America and congratulations on being treated like a citizen your last day here. Now enjoy your time as El Diablo’s personal pinata. If only reincarnation could be proved, then we could kill this guy over and over because once is surely not enough.

    Getting back to a perfect world Gary, if we lived in one we wouldn’t need the death penalty, we would all eat milk and cookies and be scratch golfers. This is a barbaric world, we wear suits and ties but we are all animals, even you. People opposing the death penalty generally aspire (or already believe themselves) to be above the human condition, not understanding, or willing to understand that the ‘human condition’ was forged in blood and conflict. Hopefully we will all live long enough to become a truly emlightened race, but then someone will always come along and excercise their right to ‘free will’ and we’ll be right back where we started.

    Which leads us here: in cases such as this the defendant’s life should be thought of as a privelidge, not a right. The girls had a right to live, Jose forfeited his right to live. He will not be missed.

  16. Bob S. Says:


    Medellin chose to come to America and live here, when he did that he made America his home country. He was here illegally for years, not just here for a short visit. If he wanted to stay Mexican, why didn’t he do it legally?
    When he chooses to break the law to get here, then break multiple laws in a savage attack on two innocent girls, how did he not get absolutely what he deserved?

    There is a distinction listed many times in the bible, how about Exodus 22:
    If a thief is taken in the act of forcing his way into a house, and his death is caused by a blow, the owner of the house is not responsible for his blood.

    How about Deu 24:6. If a man is found stealing a person of his brothers of the sons of Israel, and has dealt with him as a slave and sold him, then that thief shall die.

    As far as the death penalty is concerned, yes it does deter crime. First that person is guaranteed to never commit another crime. Second it does deter criminals in general. John Lott’s article is a good read,2933,284336,00.html

  17. mikeb302000 Says:

    Reg said “People opposing the death penalty generally aspire (or already believe themselves) to be above the human condition, not understanding, or willing to understand that the ‘human condition’ was forged in blood and conflict.”

    I don’t know about that. Unless by “aspiring to be above the human condition” you mean striving for better more humane ways of dealing with very complicated problems. Then yeah, I’m in.

  18. Todd Says:


    I felt empathy for Jose Medellin and his familly before his execution. I have followed this case from the beginning since I live in the Houston area. If there was any doubt about his guilt then I would have been against his execution. However, he admitted guilt and witnesses testified about his involvment in the crime. I do feel thankfull that the state of Texas has given Jennifer and Elizabeth the justice they deserve. You may be onto somthing about Georege Bush using states rights to defy the international courts ruling. However, states rights is one of the strengths of the United States of America. This helps maintain a ballance of power and keeps the Federal goverment in check. Since I don’t travel much out of the states or commit murders, I am not too worried about backlash in outher coutries. I would also note, that most mexican nationals I know could care less about the treaty and think Jose Medellin got what he deserved.

    Kind Regards,

  19. Reg Says:

    These ‘complicated problems’ ARE the human conditon. The debate is a symptomatic endeavor, the problem derves better. How/Why did we get to this point? Perhaps the problem started years ago when Jose went bad, maybe it started centuries ago when his ancestors were subjugated. Once we no longer have these problems we will perhaps, by extension, have become enlightened, but this status won’t be achieved by anything less than glacially-paced evolution or divine intervention. To think we as a race and/or society are above putting someone to death is patently ridiculous: it is exactly who and what we are.

    I’m not interested in wasting time or resources trying to treat savage animals humanely, I’m only interested in getting rid of them. Capital punishment does not bring victims back, but it’s the next best thing (Breaker Morant – 1980). I occasionally teeter on this issue when death row inmates are exonerated, but this will pass as most of those cases (from what I’ve seen) were tried a while back when forensics was shaky(er).

    I’m much more interested in trying to prevent these crimes than wasting time arguing about what to do with the perpetrators after the fact. I think the debate is in poor taste regarding families of the victims, I don’t much care about the criminals families.

  20. Jhon Torwalds Says:

    In another countrys the US citizen can kill any people….

    In USA… another people CAN’T kill any US citizen….

    AMERICA for Americans….


  21. Brian Says:

    He died a much less painful death than his victims did. lethal injection is painless. You are basically put to sleep and injected with a lethal pain. My primordal thoughts are to hang him or burn him at the stake but I believe lethal injection is the most humane method used today.

  22. Gary E. Zajdel Says:

    As in any public forum with such diversified opinions, it’s probably safe to assume that 20% (or less) of the participants are idiots! They generally expose themselves without any prompting! LOL…Anyway, the responses here , for the most part, are intelligently presented and well written! So,to “US”…a toast of goodwill. I think we owe ourselves a pat on the back! Although though many of us are on opposite ends of the spectrum (re: capital punishment)…It seems that we respect one anothers (opinions) as we argue our points!!! CHEERS….(O.K. here it comes: BUT???)…BUT I’m still interested to hear from the death penalty proponents, whether or not they (you) believe that innocent people have been executed? Be honest here ladies and gents, before opinionating. If you do believe that an innocent person had been convicted (even without malice) and killed by either the State or Federal Government…what then? Executing an innocent human being is tragic! or perhaps some may think of that possibility as being nothing more than collateral damage???? No one seems to have touched my previous inquisition…why?

    Reg, I like what you said concerning a proactive approach. The lack of preventative measures via education or whatever has been on display since the Nixon administration invented a stupid “war on drugs.” The punitive approach is a mega-failure! A collosal waste of money and law enforcemet time, not to mention items on a list (failures) that could continue ad infinitum. Unfortunately, it is the publics perception that needs to altered one way or another depending where you stand on issues like the death penalty or the phoney war on drugs….SORRY…got off the track…so, I’ll leave it there with hopes people will respond to the “death of an innocent”..thanks

    Gary E. Zajdel ny/ny

  23. Bob S. Says:


    Given the number of people executed throughout the years, it is likely that an innocent person has been killed but it’s a highly unlikely occurrence.

    Has an innocent person been executed in America? I don’t know, I have not ever read any account where the innocence was proven beyond.

    First we have to define innocence; how many criminals are/were on death row that have committed just a single crime?
    Since part of the jury deliberations include criminal history, few if any non-career criminals are sentenced to death row. Few if any criminals where there is a doubt are sentenced to death row. Prosecutors are reluctant to ask for the death penalty if there isn’t a rock solid case, it ruins their conviction rates.

    So the question becomes what do we do, stop all executions or fix the system. I vote for fixing the system. Improve the existing proper checks and balances, but keep the death penalty. It is a deterrence, it shows there are limits that can not be crossed without paying the ultimate penalty.

    As for as life without parole, I’m trying to remember the name of a Texas murderer that was sentenced to life in prison, was out in17 years. After he got out, he committed a heinous rape and murder. No thanks, I vote for the death penalty when it is a clear cut case, so we don’t risk other innocent lives.

    There are several questions that need to be asked;

  24. Gary E. Zajdel Says:

    Matthew 5:21-22
    “You have heard that it was said to our people long ago, ‘You must not murder anyone. Anyone who murders another will be judged.’ But I tell you, if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be judged. If you say bad things to a brother or sister, you will be judged by the council. And if you call someone a fool, you will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

    I was not aware that the taking of another’s life has multiple meanings…nor do I find that difference desciubed in any way within the Biblical text of the New Covenant/New Testament. I would ask that someone point out to me where exactly killing has multiple meanings. The sermon on the Mount, I believe, is direct and truthful///again, thank you.

    Gary E. Zajdel ny/ny

  25. mikeb302000 Says:

    Thanks for all the great comments, everybody. I like what Gary said, “the responses here , for the most part, are intelligently presented and well written!”

    Bob S. knows very well that I don’t really trust statistics, so I’m not going to look for any to support this. But, I remember reading many times that a death row inmate was exonerated BEFORE his execution. From that it can easily be extrapolated that there have been some that should have been but weren’t. But that’s not the reason I oppose the death penalty, nor is it that a disproportionate number of minority and poor people are on death row, perhaps indicating that the law is unfairly applied. The reason I oppose it is because it’s wrong, period. By abolishing capital punishment, we would eliminate those first two problems, but mainly we would get morally consistent with what we tell the citizenry: don’t go around killing people.

  26. Gary E. Zajdel Says:

    mikeb302000: Very well put. After some thought as to the foundation of my death penalty stance… I believe (and I’m being serious here) that having gone to Catholic school since kindergarten played a major roll. Basically I too believe it is just wrong! The Innocense project with attorney Barry Scheck, has produced holes in the entire process.

    The group of pro-death penalty proponents that I find scary, dangerous, hypocritical and just completely NUTS are those folks who align themselves with the fudementalist Christian right. I believe they are, conservatively speaking, the equivalent of AlQueda . Worst, in all probability…homegrown terrorism prostituting the name of Jesus Christ to advance their own agenda. Remember, these are the very same people you will find attending pro death penalty rallies…many of which take place at prisons accross the US where the death penalty in completed (state sanctioned murder)…chanting, talking in tongues, praying…under the guise of Christianity. These are the same folks who claim to have a mission in savinh unborn children…but at the same shoot OBGYN doctors who perform abortions. They truly believe that “their type of murder” is justified, they blow up clinics, harass people going into these clinics and generally practice a murderous arrogance that is beyond comprehension…again using Christ’s name. They truly believe they have a god given right to kill those whom THEY judge! Hypocrites of the highest order.

    I do not , as I said in an earlier post, condone abortion…but that is an individual’s choice. They will have to face their maker. The idea of the government legislating morality is ludicrous. Just examine the last 7.5 years in the US under GWB….it’s been a horror film in slow motion. Again, thank you for the forum to exchange different ideas. just think, if there were no term limits and if the republican party had not been exposed for what it really is (biggoted, racist, dishonest and criminal)…chances are that in four years from now the Supeme Court would be so far to the right that this Blog would probably be illegal…LOL..right along with Catcher in the Rye!!!

    Gary E Zajdel

  27. Bob S. Says:


    This is where it took me a long time to come to this conclusion so I hope I can explain it well enough.

    The law doesn’t tell anyone not to do something. Think about the laws that you know, it’s not the law that says don’t do it, it’s society saying DOING this is bad.

    The law simply provides a stated consequence if a person does that action. Rob someone, go to jail, Speed just a little bit and you pay a fine. Law therefore describe the price a person has to pay for certain actions. I don’t see it as a problem to say there are some crime that if committed a person has to pay the ultimate price.

    Most criminals are willing to risk committing crimes because they know the price isn’t that high. Average time spent in jail is ridiculously low, jails are better then military barracks, almost plush hotels with small rooms, but in some cases better then what the person had on the outside. Why not risk murder because the likelihood of the ultimate penalty being enforced is astronomically low.

    As far as criminals being exonerated before their execution, that is an indication the system works. There are built in checks and balances. First is the jury system, the case has to be convincing. Second is the punishment phase, not all criminals should be up for the death penalty but a jury of his/her peers decides the punishment. Then comes the judge who can vacate any jury decision if the decision does not meet the level of proof etc. Then appeal courts at multiple levels up to the Supreme Court.

    I say again, strengthen the criteria for who gets the death penalty and how it is applied, but there are some people who have removed themselves from society.
    Their actions, like the Canadian bus killer, show they have chosen to accept the ultimate price.

  28. Bob S. Says:


    As to the multiple meanings of words in the Bible, it is an issue related to translation.

    The Bible was originally written in 3 languages; Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. There are several choices in how to translate into a different language. The first is to focus on intent, or word for word.

    I want to deal with just the word for word translation now; that is most germane.

    Pick a foreign word and there are often several different ways that it can be expressed in a different language. People translating try to limit their bias when picking which expression best fits, but their bias always affects them to a degree. Idiomatic usage also can change how a word is used. The comic killed the crowd last night versus the passenger killed his seat mate.

    The point of this is to show that any translation you read won’t show where the multiple meanings existed.
    There is a great program that I use available here:

    You can look at several translations at one time, find the original word and see where it was also used. This makes it easier to see where the words had different meanings or was used differently. The choices made often are very subtle but telling. The commandment most often is read as “Thou shalt not kill” is more accurately rendered as “Thou shalt not murder”. If I fight with a person intent on raping my wife or killing me; what best describes the results if he dies as a result of that fight: Did I murder him or Did I kill him?

    God has often commanded that people be killed when the law was violated. God recognized that there are some things that required a person to pay that cost.

  29. mikeb302000 Says:

    Thanks Bob. I’m afraid I can’t agree with you on a couple things though. You said “Most criminals are willing to risk committing crimes because they know the price isn’t that high.” How do you know that? I don’t think that’s the reason at all. I think criminals expect not to get caught. Even the blundering border-line retarded ones, who by the way are executed along with the certifiably insane, which is a travesty, in my opinion, even these pathetic characters expect to get away with it.

    And you said, “As far as criminals being exonerated before their execution, that is an indication the system works.” I’d say the need to exonerate death row inmates, some of them after many years on death row, proves the system does not work. You’ve heard the stories where the lefty lawyer had to fight the system every step of the way to win a reluctant decision from the government. That’s not a system that works. And, as I mentioned in my post, it can be inferred that some of those wrongly incarcerated are not exonerated in time.

  30. Bob S. Says:


    For some people, the casual criminal prison is a deterrence, but for most it isn’t. Here is an excerpt showing what I mean.

    Another set of people who are not deterred by the fear of prison, are “habitual criminals”. Such people see prison as a normal part of their life style. Their whole life is a series of “in” and “out” periods. They commit crimes, go to jail, get out, commit more crimes, go to jail, and then the same again and again. It is just like politicians being in and out of government – they are either in power or in the opposition, but either way they are “in politics”. Such habitual criminals are part of the “criminal world” (or “underworld”), which has its own culture and moral values. To be in jail is not seen by such people as something to be “ashamed” of, but as something to be “proud” of. The more years such people spend in jail, the higher status they have in their “society”. Often youngsters who are drawn to “the criminal world” look forward to “going in”, knowing that, once they are “out”, they will have a higher status and greater respect among their “mates”.

    In all of these cases the fear of prison either does not exist at all, or is absent at the time of the commission of the crime. And for such people prison as a crime deterrent does not work.

    Prison as a means of “punishment” from the point of view of government does not exist. It is the fear of punishment that is important, because it prevents crimes.


    Arrest and conviction rates are falling

    In cities with populations between half a million (for example, Tucson) and a million (Detroit), the proportion of violent crimes cleared by an arrest dropped from about 45 percent in the late 1990s to less than 35 percent in 2005, according to the FBI. Conviction rates have similarly dropped. At the same time, crime has spiked. Murder rates have risen more or less steadily since 2000.

    source –

    Not only are the rates falling, but if they are sent to prison it is not a hardship. Check out the hue and cry over what Sheriff Joe Arapaho is doing out in Nevada or Arizona. Lawsuits over the “harsh treatment” of his prisoners; how is he treating them harshly? They were pink jumpsuits and underwear, they live in tents, g-rated shows only on cable, reducing food costs.

    Look at the recidivism rate for crime ( sorry more stats)
    These are the percentages of all prisoners re-arrested within 3 years of release.

    1994 All released prisoners 67.5 % Violent 61.7% Property 73.8% Drug 66.7% Public-order 62.2 %

    Does it really look like people are afraid of going back to jail?

  31. t gorman Says:

    Have you lost your ever loving tree hugging mind. You seriously feel bad that these scums deserved anything less than what they got. Wow, no wonder this country is in the state it’s in. We have illigals that run for the boder when they do crime we have “nationals” that live free on our system for years and honestly think that it’s okay to do what they did. That they should even have the right to go back to Mexico. Not to mention the money the tax payers of Texas paid to keep these idiots alive in prison as long as they did. Why dont you and your kind start paying the bills for the criminals on death row if you feel so bad for them and let us that want them to serve death as some justice off without paying. If you have children god forbid anything like this ever was to happen to one of them. And dont waste your time with some forgivness crap that you would have for the killers. This animal was executed think God but was that enough punishment for him and his little gang friends. NO WAY, they should have been taken to the desert as close to the border as they could get striipped of their cloths strung up a Saguaro cactus layered in honey with small cuts all over their bodies so they would have slowly suffered just as those poor girls had to. So you and your non death penalty need to go back under the mushroom you came from. Good for Texas and the justice system… wish I could have been there to Support the families and the girls.

  32. Gary E. Zajdel Says:

    OK Guys, time to jump in again. I promise to try and remain cohesive, although it might be difficult. When I was 25 years old (and that was about 25 yrs ago… LOL) I was sentenced to a minimum of 60 months in prison for possession of cocaine. This was my 1st offense. I received what I consider to be an inordinate amount of time when compared to that of rapists, child molesters and even murder (when reduced to manslaughter). I really hate talking about this because it is somewhat demeaning…at any rate, there were 2 reasons why I received so much time. The first was the amount of cocaine I was in possession of. The second, and most troubling was that rather than plead guilty (I was offered 18 to 36months) I opted to exersize my constitutional right to a jury trial and come face to face with my accusers…or so I thought. The police used “confidential informants” thereby precluding my defense team from every meeting them face to face. Yes, I (my lawyers) were allowed to cross examine via closed circuit tv with blacked out faces and altered voices. So much for my basic rights. Since I put the State of NY through the expense of a 3 week trial, I was punished more severly for the same charge. Justice? I think not!

    I mention this because contrary to what Bob says and the population thinks, there are no real ‘country club” prisons. I was in what was supposedly just that, a country club. Granted, it was not what you see on Tv. It was easier, but to go so far as to say it’s better than what most had is utter bullshit! Sorry Bob, I do respect your opinions, but I am speaking from a 5 year experience at 3 different minimum security country club jails… not from what I’ve read or been told. In an article above you quote an opinion stating that people are proud rather than ashamed of going “upstate”. That is a falicy to the highest degree. It is a lie! Repeatful offenders are usually just as much victim as criminal. I realize this will not sit well with most folks unless they have been or have had someone close to them in prison. You are correct in that recidivism is high. That is usually not by choice but by design…Let me try to explain….I am a white male from a middle class suburban family. I had all the benefits growing up that one could only hope for. My parents were married until the day they died. I attended college and have a graduate degree (MBA) I had a descent job when I was caught, and through continual networking… a better one immediately upon my release. I owned a home to return to, a wife and child who never left my side, an extended family who never abandoned me, financial stability…ETC…I think you get it by now. You see Bob, in prison, my “type ” represented about 1/10 of 1 percent of the prison population..and Bob, I never went back…not even close. My decisions to participate in a criminal lifestyle was NOT driven by need! It was driven by GREED! That’s a big difference. What most people don’t get is that about 99.5% of those incarcerated ARE COMING HOME. They are not lifers and will return to be your neighbors, your friend, maybe even your family. So what would you rather have…a person locked up for 5 years that was afforded no “real” educational opportunities, has no outside support system, no marketable skills, no family or a real dysfunctional one….or would you rather have the opposite? Prison officials in every state tout their “reintegration programs” teach trades, get college opportunities, re-establish family ties &blah blah blah..B/S. Prison in this country is punitive, archaic… perhaps the biggest siphon of taxpayers money laid to waste. The majority of prisons are minimum or medium security human warehouses forged on the lock’em up kill’em conservative ideology started by Reagan pushed by Bush#1, thankfully ditched by Clinton for 8 years, ressurected by GWB, Karl Rove and their criminal administration and now seemingly decimated by it’s own (republican right’s) blunders. There is no one who wants to return to prison…NO ONE! I can guarantee anyone who even insinuates that statement is FAR REMOVED from ANY first hand knowledge.

    On the other hand, I can se how it appears that way. Most definitely how. Consider this daily scenario say in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta or NYC, consider it because it’s a fact taking place 365-24/7 with no boundries..OK, it goes like this…a large drug task force decides to “take out a block in the inner-city”. They send 50-100 officers who look like extras from a B or C crime movie, ready for prime time or whatever…complete with assault rifles, black hoods, shock/concussion grenades and too much testosterone…oh, and a whole bunch of expresso! Send them into one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods and round up ’bout 50 “dealers”. Then read the newspaper. How one can do that without disgust is beyond me…BUT…police, politicians and pseudo community leaders all take credit for “taking the neighborhood back.” The politicians constituents are momentarily appeased. The streets are cleaned up blah blah blah. HERE’S WHAT YOU DON’T USUALLY READ: Out of the 50 arrested a total of $2000.00 was seized along with 1/2ounce of crack/powder /heroin etc. why is this so important? Because it amounts to a pathetic dod & pony show. What happened on that street was nothing. Come the next day, there’ll be 50 other low level peons doing the same bidding. It gets worse though. You see those 50 are usually young men of various minority groups with no real family, education or skills. Money for a lawyer? Sure! LOL…Then comes the legal bullshit. It’s called the public defenders office. Everyone pleads guilty to a reduced charge. Even if you’re not…you’re told to plead guilty. After all, you’re only 19, it’s your 1st offence and the judge might even spare you jail (for this “little felony”)…so maybe only a year…no big deal Bob above says. It’s something to be proud of, Bob says….Bob also says they are part of the criminal world. Maybe less than one percent….MAYBE…the rest have done wrong, but are not yet members of the “criminal world”. It’s coming though because after sitting for a year, with the lack of meaningful programs, these same people, these same “criminals” are returned (at least in NYS) to pretty much the same corner they were arrested at. Only this time they are given a $30.00 check from the state to begin the “reintegration process” along with a fresh new, but 1st, felony conviction. Guess what happens next.. Usually within a year. The process repeats itself. This time, however, the penalty is stiffer, but the process remains the same…Guess what happens after the 3rd time? You’re right…the same thing. Only now the time is getting real big. You begin approaching the 3 strike area. I hope you get the picture. You see, this is a perpetual motion machine. It’s NOT true recidivism. It’s accurately called doing life “on the installment plan”. It works too. It keeps minorities repressed. It keeps public defenders employed and it’s good for the economy some say…where else could an under-educated loser (minimum/medium security level prison guards) make over $100,000.00 per annum consistently? Bob, have you every seen or heard an employment ad for a warehouse worker advertised for 100k plus benefits? LOL

    I wish I had more time right now. But I don’t. gentleman, I have to leave it at this. Before closing though..please do not cite Sheriff Joe . My God, he has done nothing except cost the taxpayers money to settle suit after suit after suit. Read the Phoenix News Times. He is a disgrace and a criminal! PLEASE READ THE PAPER I JUST LISTED. THEN USE HIS NAME! Peace….and until friday…

    Gary Zajdel

  33. Bob S. Says:


    I can appreciate what you have been thorough. I have people, family, close to me that have and currently are in prison. I know it’s not all country club style jails, but it is also not the HBO show OZ.

    You are the type of person, that 1/10 of 1 percent that I mentioned, for whom prison is a deterrent. But you have to admit that not all criminals are like you.

    I absolutely agree with your points about the low level criminals, especially drug crimes. I’ve stated elsewhere that we should decriminalize most drug use. The issues don’t start when someone is 18 or 19, the culture starts with them growing up without fathers. Fathers that are typically in jail, moms that keep having babies with the absent dads. It is an entire culture that has grown up with people working and those that do usually have menial jobs. It’s the culture that makes inner city schools a war zone and allows kids to graduate unable to read. Is it the fault of the justice system?

    My brother and I grow up just 18 months apart in age, a military family moving around. He’s in prison and I have a bachelor’s degree and a good job. Some times it is individual choices, his choice has been to repeatedly commit the same crimes.

    It is recidivism, it starts with gangs and drug runners using kids as their runners and soldiers, but it’s a choice the parents make to allow that culture to exist in their neighborhoods. There are rural areas with higher poverty rates then the inner city, why isn’t crime higher there? Accountability, responsibility;This are things lacking in the criminal culture.

    Personally, I want prison to be a place like you experienced, a place that no one wants to go back. I want each person to realize the only way not to come back is to get an education if they don’t have it and find a vocation.

    Even as bad as you say prison is, it is not stopping criminal behavior. That is the point of the death penalty, there is no coming in and out, there is no status accrued after the fact. It’s death. Research the issue, it does deter crime, start with John Lott.

  34. mikeb302000 Says:

    Dear Gary, Thanks for sharing so much of your story with us. Your description of recidivism and the conditions in even the “country club” prisons was great. I happened to know these things but maybe some of our other commenters needed to hear your first-hand experience.

  35. what are u people thinking??? Says:

    I can not believe there is anyone who thinks these six guys should be saved, they are the scum of the earth. I read a web site that told what happened to these girls. I hope that the 3 scum bags that are sentenced to die do. Which it is nice to see 2 are dead (years to late). Mexico screaming about a Mexican being put to death, when his sorry excuse of a human being that he was came to this country, lived here, committed the worst crimes he could, deserved to die here. As for the other three, I am sure they are getting theirs from their cell mate Bubba. I will save my compassion for the dead girls and for their families. I am so sick of hearing while on their death beds how sorry these scum bags are were they sorry for the horrible things they did or because they got caught. So all you cry babies out there, shut up and feel sorry for their victims because they are the ones who suffered for no reason other then they wanted to be violent and bragged about what they did like it was a fun night out. I personally think all six deserve nothing more then dying the exact same way they murdered these innocent girls. I frankly am sick of hearing how sad the lives of killers are, they made a choice and now live with the consequences. It is called personal choice, you chose to commit the crime of murder, so you should die for that crime. And I hope these six guys after they are all dead, burn in hell for eternity.

  36. RY Says:

    Illegal or not, that should not preclude anyone from being executed if their guilt is proven with 99.99% accuracy. And I am glad it took 15 years to execute this animal-hope he got a taste of his own medicine in jail-especially Texan jail.
    Illegals come here ILLEGALY and the only measure of justice we have if they are condemned according to the laws of the country that they chose to break laws in.
    Were the other 4 executed as well? I know one was a minor at the time, so he “escaped” sort of with 40 years-hope he does not get a chance at parole.

  37. mikeb302000 Says:

    Dear what are u people thinking???, Thanks for sharing your opinion with us. Most of the other commenters agree with you, some even express their opinions more strongly than you did. One thing I’d like to clarify, if I may. You said, “I can not believe there is anyone who thinks these six guys should be saved.” Well, I never said that. I just said no one should be executed. What you said about the victims, I agree with that 100%. I’m very sorry if that does not come across when talking about the criminals.

    Thanks to you too, RY.

  38. Candy Wrobel Says:

    OK…I think everyone is entitled to his or her opinion…and YES it took too long to exterminate this sucker…I know I sound harsh, but all that comes to mind is the picture of Elizabeth and myself infront of the church when we made our first communion…so forgive me if this thing brutally killing someone I shared a milestone in my life leads me to feel sorry for the people who feel sorry for him…bite me…if he wanted to make AMERICA his home (and clearly he did) then he should follow our rules or he should have STAYED HOME!…I too am from Mexican heritage and too many of our people come here from Mexico and other places expecting to be able to fall back on the laws of their hometown when they do something wrong. I say STAY HOME! Now don’t get me wrong, not everyone that comes to AMERICA wants to do things their way…but they are true to themselves and their newly adopted laws…I am all for people improving themselves and helping others out…I do agree with making him wait awhile, but he lived on death row longer than Jennifer lived on this earth…The most important thing that everyone has forgotten about is this isn’t something that “HAPPENED” to these idiots, they chose this. This is something that “HAPPENED” to two young girls, neighborhood girls, friends, daughters, neices, granddaughters…that’s the “SAD STORY” of it all!

  39. Dudley Sharp Says:

    The execution of Jose Medellin: Texas fulfilled their obligations to the law
    Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below

    The only treaty violation was that Texas failed to notify the rapist/torturer/murderer, Jose Medellin, “you can contact your consulate if you wish”, as per the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VC) (1963) (1).

    Some may ask “Is that it?” Such a reaction is understandable.

    One or all of the following errors have marked the coverage of this case.

    1) “The US/Texas denied Medellin consular access” or
    2)”The US/Texas failed to notify the Mexican consulate of the detention” or
    3) “The US/Texas denied Medellin a hearing on the notification issue”

    As to the first claim, Medellin was never prevented from contacting his consulate. Medellin and his attorneys were free to contact the consulate or consulate attorneys, whenever they so desired. Medellin and his attorneys chose not to contact the Mexican consulate for 4 years.

    The US admitted its error, that it violated the VC, by not informing Medellin that he could contact his consulate. As a simple matter of practicality, who doesn’t know they can contact their own consulate?

    In addition, Medellin grew up in Texas and spent his later 15 years in Texas, prior to committing these heinous acts when he was age 18. He attended Texas schools. Texas did not know Medellin was a Mexican national. (2)

    The second claim would, specifically, violate the intent of the VC. In the debate, prior to VC ratification, it was decided that only the detained party should be given the option of contacting their consulate. I suspect this was done in order to protect the detained party, in case they were in trouble in their own country.

    For the third claim, there is this:

    As the US never denied violating the notification provision, the real issue before the The Internal Court of Justice (ICJ) was “what remedy exists for that violation?”

    The ICJ instructed: “(Texas/US must) provide, by means of its “own” choosing, review and reconsideration of the convictions and sentences of the [affected] Mexican nationals,” “with a view to ascertaining” whether the failure to provide proper notice to consular officials “caused actual prejudice to the defendant in the process of administration of criminal justice,”

    Several courts (3) and judges thoroughly reviewed the notification claims, including extensive oral arguments. The did this, even though there were procedural bars, because of the timing of the claim. No prejudice was found.

    An additional formal hearing wasn’t held because a claim has to reach a certain level of credibility or weight before a hearing is granted. The appellate considerations found that there was no prejudice and that the error was harmless, Therefore, a formal hearing was not held. In fact, as a matter of law, it was also barred.

    Based upon the case facts, an additional review of the same material in the same case would have had the same result. In addition, the legal process had determined that the ICJ did not have authority over Texas courts to force an additional hearing or any hearing. Texas said no to the ICJ and all other denouncers because there was no need to repeat a process that had already taken place.

    Texas met the ICJ and VC burden in the three court reviews, inclusive of the oral arguments.

    Texas did so, in response to its own due process.

    A violation of a treay occurred. A remedy was prescribed and carried out. The Texas/US treaty obligation was fulfilled.

    Medellin was justly executed and had 15 years of extraordinary due process protections.

    Some say that US citizens may be subject to additional abuse because of Texas’ decision to execute this rapist/torturer/murderer. Why?

    An equal “abuse” would be to (1) arrest US citizens for just cause; (2) fail to tell them “you can contact your consulate, if you wish to”; and (3) give them the extraordinary due process provided to Jose Medellin.

    While all citizens would like to get consul notification and those party to the treaty are entitled to it, did all the States (parties to the treaty) give such notification to all detained US citizens and other detained foreign nationals since 1967? Of course not.

    Texas didn’t know Medellin was a Mexican national. Even if it did, almost no US police officers had even heard of the Vienna Convention, prior to 1997. Were many police, anywhere in the world, aware of the Vienna Convention since 1967? Unlikely. Did they recite it when they didn’t know the detainee was a foreign national? (2) Also unlikely.

    Would the world condemn the US and punish US citizens for the same violations they have committed, only because their violations have not been adjudicated? Soe will and some won’t.

    That said, the treaty should be honored and all States should provide such notification.

    My opinion is that Mexico brought this case to the ICJ, as an anti death penalty cause, and, possibly, with a wee hint of anti-Americanism, and not as a principled stance in support of consular rights.

    Fact: Mexico, intentionally, included only death penalty cases and avoided all other non death cases of detained Mexican nationals within the US.

    Fact: Had this really been about consular rights and the honoring of treaties, Mexico would have filed ICJ lawsuits against every country that had violated the rights of Mexican Nationals under the VC. Mexico didn’t.

    Fact: Mexico only singled out the US, strictly avoiding non death penalty cases. The VC applies to all cases of detention. Any lawsuit, based upon principle, would have been directed at all violators and for all cases. Mexico didn’t do that.

    In other words, absent the death penalty, Mexico never would have filed the lawsuit.

    Wouldn’t we all like to see what percentage of foreign nationals, detained in Mexico, since 1967, had been properly notified: “you have the right to contact your consulate, if you wish.” What do you think? 1% or less?

    NOTE: The VC specifically states that it does not infer individual rights, but is intended to facilitate consular relations.

    The only human rights violation in this case was the hour long gang rape/torture/murder of two wonderful girls, Elizabeth Pena, 16, and Jennifer Ertman, 14.

    Remember them?

    Take a look.

    (1) Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963), Article 36, paragraph b, last sentence

    (2) From a practical standpoint, is there no obligation on the part of the detained party to notify the authorities of their foreign national status? Or, are all the world’s police supposed to be clairvoyant?

    copyright 1999-2008 Dudley Sharp
    Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part, is approved with proper attribution.

    Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
    e-mail, 713-622-5491,
    Houston, Texas

    Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O’Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

    A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

    Pro death penalty sites


    www(dot) (Sweden)

  40. mikeb302000 Says:

    Dear Candy, Thanks for sharing more of your story. Now I understand why you’re so passionate about this case. Please forgive me if I sounded less concerned with the victims than I really am. Maybe I need to take more time in my writing to avoid that misconception in the future.

  41. mikeb302000 Says:

    Dear Mr. Dudley Sharp, Thanks for adding such an erudite and lengthy comment to this discussion. It sounds quite plausible that Mexico was motivated by anti-death penalty politics. I say what’s wrong with that? My curiosity was peaked at the end of you message, where it lists your very impressive credentials, it says you are “a former opponent of capital punishment.” If you have time, I’d love to hear that story.

  42. UNKNOWN Says:


  43. Hannah Says:

    I read just weht they have told on the internet i can’t imagine reading the book. Its sickening what these men did to these girls. I think about it often i wish they would of said fuck the 11:00 curfew and risked getting in trouble taking the more busier route. or a bus or anything! The so called men who did this they should of been tortured to no end. they got off so easily. it’s too sad to even think of what they might of felt through all of it. AND one of the girls got her 2 front teeth kicked out, before dying. anyone who opposes the death penalty is f*cked up. this crime is one of the worst i have read.

  44. mikeb302000 Says:

    Dear Hannah,

    I agree totally this was one of the worst crimes and I respect your opinion about the appropriate punishment. I feel differently however.

    We’d love to hear more from you on the other blog. We often discuss these things.

  45. Jessica/Douglas, GA Says:

    Like the comment below states; if it was your loved ones lying in bushes with maggots covering their face and genitals, their faces unrecognizable, smashes in by the steel toed boot of the same demon possessed killer that just got through taking her viginity by rape on train tracks, on the same tracks they drug them up and down, up and down by their feet, after jumping up and down on their throats and faces. This land we live in is a wonderful land made by the people WE OURSELVES elect. Once we elect these officials, IT IS OUR CIVIL DUTY TO SUPPORT those officials and what they do for our country. The death penalty has been around for centuries. If in fact the God we trust in has beef with our capital punishments, I do believe it would not still be here in this century. And to be honest, this ‘poor poor’ boy GOT MUCH BETTER THAN WHAT THE GIRLS GOT! I can only hope he GOT IT in prison like he gave her years ago, and I’m not talking about the beating, I am obviously referring to the gang rape! And I can only hope that he gets it OVER AND OVER AND OVER again in the after life! I believe Satan will reward with an eternity of sodomy!, for such work he did for his master.

  46. mikeb302000 Says:

    Thanks Jessica. I enjoyed you comment so much that I made it into a new post on the other blog. You can read it here if you’d like. Please feel welcome to join the discussion over there.

  47. Sherrell Thierry Says:

    What the hell do you mean sad story? his death was the happiest i had been that entire day! Fuck him ad the others they all deserve to rot for all eternity! The were sick bastards…..and none of them should have been cut any slack!!!

  48. Dudley Sharp Says:

    Mikeb is in error.

    First, the US or state attorneys are not suppoed to notify the foregn nationsla country or consulate. The violation was that the detained foreign national was not told “You have the right to contact your consulate” That’s it.

    Secondly, The Bush administration did everything they could, legally, to force Texas to cinduct even more hearings, on a subject both state and federal courts had already reviewed and rejected.

  49. Dudley Sharp Says:

    The Death Penalty Provides More Protection for Innocents
    Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below
    Often, the death penalty dialogue gravitates to the subject of innocents at risk of execution. Seldom is a more common problem reviewed. That is, how innocents are more at risk without the death penalty.
    To state the blatantly clear, living murderers, in prison, after release or escape,  are much more likely to harm and murder, again, than are executed murderers.
    Although an obvious truism, it is surprising how often  folks overlook the enhanced incapacitation benefits of the death penalty over incarceration.
    No knowledgeable and honest party questions that the death penalty has the most extensive due process protections in US criminal law.
    Therefore, actual innocents are more likely to be sentenced to life imprisonment and more likely to die in prison serving under that sentence, that it is that an actual innocent will be executed.
    That is. logically, conclusive.
    16 recent studies, inclusive of their defenses, find for death penalty deterrence.
    A surprise? No.
    Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life.
    Some believe that all studies with contrary findings negate those 16 studies. They don’t. Studies which don’t find for deterrence don’t say no one is deterred, but that they couldn’t measure those deterred.
    What prospect of a negative outcome doesn’t deter some? There isn’t one . . . although committed anti death penalty folk may say the death penalty is the only one.
    However, the premier anti death penalty scholar accepts it as a given that the death penalty is a deterrent, but does not believe it to be a greater deterrent than a life sentence. Yet, the evidence is compelling and un refuted that death is feared more than life.
    Some death penalty opponents argue against death penalty deterrence, stating that it’s a harsher penalty to be locked up without any possibility of getting out.
    Reality paints a very different picture.
    What percentage of capital murderers seek a plea bargain to a death sentence? Zero or close to it. They prefer long term imprisonment.
    What percentage of convicted capital murderers argue for execution in the penalty phase of their capital trial? Zero or close to it. They prefer long term imprisonment.
    What percentage of death row inmates waive their appeals and speed up the execution process? Nearly zero. They prefer long term imprisonment.
    This is not, even remotely, in dispute.
    Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life.
    Furthermore, history tells us that lifers have many ways to get out: Pardon, commutation, escape, clerical error, change in the law, etc.
    In choosing to end the death penalty, or in choosing not implement it, some have chosen to spare murderers at the cost of sacrificing more innocent lives.
    Furthermore, possibly we have sentenced 25 actually innocent people to death since 1973, or 0.3% of those so sentenced. Those have all been released upon post conviction review. The anti death penalty claims, that the numbers are significantly higher, are a fraud, easily discoverable by fact checking.
    The innocents deception of death penalty opponents has been getting exposure for many years. Even the behemoth of anti death penalty newspapers, The New York Times,  has recognized that deception.
    To be sure, 30 or 40 categorically innocent people have been released from death row . . . (1) This when death penalty opponents were claiming the release of 119 “innocents” from death row. Death penalty opponents never required actual innocence in order for cases to be added to their “exonerated” or “innocents” list. They simply invented their own definitions for exonerated and innocent and deceptively shoe horned large numbers of inmates into those definitions – something easily discovered with fact checking.
    There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since 1900.
    If we accept that the best predictor of future performance is past performance, we can, reasonably, conclude that the DNA cases will be excluded prior to trial, and that for the next 8000 death sentences, that we will experience a 99.8% accuracy rate in actual guilt convictions. This improved accuracy rate does not include the many additional safeguards that have been added to the system, over and above DNA testing.
    Of all the government programs in the world, that put innocents at risk, is there one with a safer record and with greater protections than the US death penalty?
    Full report -All Innocence Issues: The Death Penalty, upon request.
    Full report – The Death Penalty as a Deterrent, upon request
    (1) The Death of Innocents: A Reasonable Doubt,
    New York Times Book Review, p 29, 1/23/05, Adam Liptak,
    national legal correspondent for The NY Times
    copyright 2007-2009, Dudley Sharp
    Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part,  is approved with proper attribution.
    Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters

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