Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Texas denies Mexican governor's appeal for death stay in Édgar Tamayo case

Texas Governor Rick Perry remains "inflexible" according to Mexican officials

Cuernavaca, Morelos -
The office of PRD governor Graco Ramírez Garrido Abreu in Cuernavaca confirmed this afternoon that Texas authorities have refused his request to stay the execution of Édgar Tamayo Arias, who will be put to death two weeks from tomorrow in Huntsville.

Tamayo Arias, 45, is scheduled to die for the January 1994 murder of Houston police officer Guy Gaddis, who was 24 when he was killed by multiple gunshots fired at the back of his head by Tamayo, while Gaddis was transporting him to jail after a street arrest. Tamayo was handcuffed at the time.

A Harris County jury sentenced Tamayo to death later that year. He has spent the last 20 years in state custody. In November 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his final appeal.

Tamayo and his supporters argue that executing him without conducting a special hearing ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) a decade ago would violate international law. Officials of the Obama administration agree, although they have emphasized that they do not doubt Tamayo's guilt.

Last month U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Texas Governor Rick Perry to hold the hearing for Tamayo, warning of consequences for Americans living or traveling abroad. The case centers around the failure of Texas prosecutors to promptly notify Mexican consular officials after Tamayo was taken into custody. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which Mexico, the United States and many other countries signed decades ago, requires notice within three business days.

In Tamayo's case the Mexican embassy was not notified until a week before his capital murder trial began. But he confessed to the crime three hours after he was arrested, a factor which has not assisted his legal arguments. Nevertheless, the ICJ has repeatedly insisted that a hearing must be held to determine whether Tamayo was legally prejudiced by the long delay.

Dozens of other Mexican nationals under death sentence in Texas state courts have tried to avail themselves of the same argument, but so far every state and federal court has rejected their appeals on the issue, including the U.S. Supreme Court in a 2008 ruling which indirectly applied to all the cases. Condemned Mexican's approaching date with Texas execution chamber poses risks for U.S.

Texas is the most prolific executioner among those states which impose capital punishment.

In 2009 the ICJ wrote that the obligation which it imposed on the U.S. in 2004 to review the convictions and death sentences of the Mexicans "must be performed unconditionally; non-performance of it constitutes internationally wrongful conduct." The U.S. Supreme Court said the ruling did not bind the 50 states, however, which have semi-autonomous judicial systems and rules.

Tamayo lived for many years in the central Mexican state of Morelos, prompting Gov. Ramírez Garrido to intervene on his behalf last month. The Mexican governor today called Perry's stance on the case "inflexible."

According to Ramírez Garrido, his administration received a response from Austin which said, "We have received your petition. It doesn't matter where you are from. If you commit this kind of despicable crime in Texas, you will be held accountable to our laws, including the maximum punishment."

Tamayo has also asked Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto to intervene with U.S. authorities, but it is unlikely he will. Because the case was a state and not a federal criminal prosecution, the Obama administration cannot halt the impending execution or grant clemency. - Mexican on death row asks Peña Nieto, State Dept. for help as he prepares for the end.

Jan. 9 - Eduardo Medina Mora, Mexico's ambassador to the United States, told a press conference in Washington today, "Mexico demands the U.S. comply with its international obligations and respect the decisions of the International Court of Justice."

Jan. 22, 2014 - Mexican national, convicted cop killer, executed in Texas

© MGR 2014. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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