Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Texas Gang Rape And Murder Case Puts America's Sovereignty In Jeopardy
America's Supreme Court is hearing a case in chambers now that could spell the beginning of the end of America as a sovereign nation, governed by its own laws.
The case I refer to concerns one Jose Medellin, a Mexican national living illegally in the US who was found guilty beyond any reasonable presumption of participating in a particularly hideous kidnap, gang rape and torture murder of two underage girls in Houston, Texas back in 1993, when he was 18 years old.
Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena were abducted off the streets, raped, tortured and sodomized for hours, and then strangled with their own shoelaces. Medellin signed a confession detailing exactly what he and his fellow gang members had done to the two girls, and bragged that he had pocketed one girl's Mickey Mouse watch as a souvenir.
Jennifer Ertman, seen here on the left in a photo with friends was only 14 years old when she was murdered. Elizabeth Peña was only 16.
Medellin and four others were convicted of capital murder and sent to Texas' death row. Besides Jose Medellin, the five others involved in the 1993 rape-murder of Houston teenagers Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Peña were:
• Derrick Sean O'Brien, who was executed in 2006 by lethal injection, a much easier death than his victims had; Peter Cantu, who's awaiting execution, with no date set yet; Efrain Perez and Raul Villarreal, who's sentences were unfortunately commuted to life in 2005 after Supreme Court outlawed executions for those under 18 at the time of their crimes: and Venancio Medellin, The younger brother of Jose Medellin, who was 14 at the time of the murders and pled guilty in juvenile court. He's now serving a 40-year sentence.
Jose Medellin has been gaming the justice system for over ten years, aided by various anti-death penalty groups and self-titled civil liberties groups that are much more concerned with the rights of someone like Medellin than any sort of justice or closure for his victims and their families.
This week, Medellin's case goes to the US Supreme Court for the second time in the 14 years. Medellin has been enjoying life on death row now for a time equal to the entire life span of one of the victims. The issue now is not his confession to the murders of Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Peña,(the Supreme Court already ruled that his confession was voluntary and his conviction valid) but the fact that as a Mexican national, he was not told he could contact the Mexican Consulate for assistance...even though he'd been living illegally in the US since he was nine years old.
That was apparently a violation of a 1963 treaty known as the Vienna Convention.
Mexico sued the United States on behalf of this creature in 2003 over the consular issue in the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
The court ruled in Mexico's favor in late 2004 (no surprise there) and ordered the United States to reconsider the murder convictions of Medellin and about fifty other illegal aliens on death row for murder. In February 2005, Bush announced that the U.S. would comply, and he would order courts in Texas and elsewhere to review the cases.
A few days later, however, the president withdrew the United States from the part of the Vienna Convention that gives the World Court final say in international disputes.
The Texas Courts re-examined Medellin's conviction and confirmed the sentences, as did the appellate courts.The Texas courts also made the salient point that Medellin and his attorneys failed to complain at his original trial about any violation of his consular rights and had therefore waived them.
The matter is now before the Supreme Court, and believe it or not,the Bush Administration has filed a brief on behalf of Jose Medellin to overturn his conviction!
What the Bush Administration is essentially saying is that Medellin and fifty odd other murderers' convictions should be `Miranda-ized' and overturned because these illegal aliens didn't receive the right to contact the Mexican Consulate for legal assistance.
This is beyond grotesque, especially since the courts involved have already reviewed the cases, which is all the Bush Administration committed to. Yet the Bush Administration is still pushing to have this conviction, as well as the others overturned. I leave it to your imagination as to why.
If the Supreme Court agrees with them, it means that our laws will become subordinated to U.N. resolutions and regulations, subject to the whims of 3rd World nations who form a majority of the governments at the UN. Even worse, it sets a precedent whereby a future president (say, Senator Clinton) could further erode US sovereignty and our Constitution by simply signing a treaty composed by the minions at the UN.
I cannot imagine what the president, with whom I disagree with on many things but who I always credited with being essentially a decent man at heart can be thinking.I doubt he has the requisite equipment, but I wonder what he would say to explain himself face to face to the families of the two victims.
Does he have no sense of justice? Does the Mexican government? Do they really want someone capable of committing these kind of crimes on innocent people walking free?
The case will likely hinge on the swing vote of Justice Kennedy.
The Courts' liberals - Justices Souter, Stevens, Breyer and Ginsburg - have all expressed support for the idea of using international law rather than US legal precedents to decide cases, or in other words, what amounts to judicial `shopping' to find a precedent that fits their preconceived agendas. Ginsburg, in fact actually wrote a law review article advocating that American foreign policy be under the United Nations supervision back when she was general counsel with the ACLU before she was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Clinton.
Justices Scalia, Thomas,Alito,and Chief Justice John Roberts are likely to vote to confirm the sentences and support the Constitution's precedence over foreign law - especially since the US is no longer a signatory to the treaty and the lower courts have already re-examined the case which is all the US was required to do in the first place.
This is a major deal, and will likely be decided within the next few months.