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.
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