Janet M. LaRue

“Texas Executes Mexican Despite Objections.” You’d think that Texas had executed some poor, honest, hard-working, migrant farm worker for not having a Green Card. The Aug. 6, Times column by James C. McKinley Jr, has more holes than our southern border.

After 14 years on death row, Texas executed convicted murderer José Ernesto Medellín on Aug. 5. After numerous reviews by Texas courts and two in the U.S. Supreme Court, Medellín’s final due process hearing is in the hands of the Supreme Judge Upstairs.

The sordid story begins in Houston, Tex., on June 24, 1993, when Medellín and five fellow gang-bangers spent an hour repeatedly raping, sodomizing, and stomping to death Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pená, ages 14 and 16, before dumping their bodies in the woods. Medellín personally strangled one of the girls with her shoelaces. Arrested five days later, he signed a confession after being given his Miranda rights.

McKinley doesn’t mention what Medellín did that got him executed until after he quotes Medellín’s last words to those present at his execution: “I’m sorry my actions caused you pain. I hope this brings you the closure that you seek. Never harbor hate.” You just shudder to think how bad rape, sodomy, forced oral copulation, stomping, strangulation and death would be if motivated by hate.

What concerns the Times’ McKinley most is addressed in his opening line. “Texas” acted, he claims, “in defiance of an international court ruling and despite pleas from the Bush administration for a new hearing.” Notice that it’s an “international court ruling” that Texas supposedly defied, not the laws or courts of the United States. McKinley doesn’t explain why Texas’ refusal to comply with an order of a foreign court, which lacks the force and effect of domestic law, is “defiance.”

After Texas courts upheld Medellín’s conviction and sentence, Mexico filed a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on behalf of Medellín and 50 other Mexicans on death row in various states, who were not advised upon detention of their “right” to consult the Mexican Consulate as provided under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (Treaty).


Janet M. LaRue

Jan LaRue is Senior Legal Analyst with the American Civil Rights Union; former Chief Counsel at Concerned for Women; Legal Studies Director at Family Research Council; and Senior Counsel for the National Law Center for Children and Families. Be the first to read Janet LaRue's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.