Texas intends to execute Humberto Leal Garcia on July 7 -- even though he wasn't given access to consular assistance and legal representation that could have spared his life.
As a Mexican national, Mr. Leal was legally entitled to seek assistance from the Mexican consulate. Texas authorities failed to inform him of this; instead, the state appointed two inexperienced and under-funded lawyers who failed to challenge the junk science used to convict him and failed to present powerful mitigating evidence that would have saved Mr. Leal's life.
The Mexican consulate would have hired lawyers and experts to assist Mr. Leal. With their assistance, Mr. Leal would never have been convicted, let alone sentenced to death.
Urge the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry to stop the execution of Humberto Leal.
We urge Governor Rick Perry to stay the July 7 execution of Humberto Leal, a Mexican national on Texas' death row who was never informed that he had the right to seek assistance from the Mexican consulate --- assistance that in his case would have made the difference between life and death.
Mr. Leal's execution would threaten the safety of all Americans abroad and jeopardize U.S. relations with other countries. American students, tourists, members of our military, businesspeople and international aid workers depend on the vital lifeline of consular access. This is why we are joining former diplomats, retired military officials, former prosecutors and judges, and organizations representing Americans abroad in urging Texas to halt Mr. Leal's execution.
If the Mexican consulate had been informed of Mr. Leal's arrest, it would have retained highly qualified and experienced legal counsel. In the absence of consular assistance, Mr. Leal's trial lawyers failed to challenge the junk science that the prosecution relied on to obtain a conviction, and they failed to tell the jury about critical facts--including evidence that Mr. Leal was raped by his parish priest in San Antonio--that could have spared his life. With consular assistance, Mr. Leal would never have been convicted, let alone sentenced to death.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) held that Mr. Leal was entitled to a hearing on the consular rights violation in his case. President Bush, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Obama Administration have all acknowledged that the United States is obligated to comply with ICJ's decision, and Congress is poised to consider legislation that would make the ICJ's decision binding federal law.
It would be unconscionable to execute Mr. Leal while Congress is in the process of remedying the violation of his consular rights. As individuals who think the United States should live up to its treaty commitments, and who believe that compliance with those commitments serves the interests of all Americans, we call on you to stay Mr. Leal's July 7 execution.
You can read more about Mr. Leals case at: www.humbertoleal.org