Monday, January 19, 2009

It's a Brave New World... Court

First off, you should know that I am tremendously opposed to the World Court, or any authority not found in the Constitution that would seek to try American citizens for crimes. Article III is there for a reason, and no court should have the power to convict an American other than one that is created by the document that established our little experiment in democracy.

But in this particular case, I think we got it wrong, mostly because this guy wasn't an American citizen. We failed to follow even our own treaties by preventing him from having access to his consulate. Now, he's evidently a rapist and a murderer, so I'm all for hanging him high--assuming certain safeguards are on place ensuring his rights, a fair trial, etc.

The problem is that if we don't advise foreign nationals of their right to speak with their consulate, why would other countries advise our citizens overseas of theirs? And as goofy as our justice system can be, I'm much more worried about the system in places like Colombia, Mexico, half of Europe, and oh, the entirety of Africa and Asia.

What were we afraid of? That if his consulate hired an attorney for him (as they have done in other cases, I just can't find the one I'm thinking about right now), that he wouldn't be convicted? In Texas? Didn't work for the defendant in last year's trial, so I can't imagine it would have been any different for this guy.

I cannot imagine why Texas refuses to play by the rules. We endanger not only the convictions that we could have won anyway, but in cases like this they put the security of Americans abroad at risk.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would have more sympathy for the Mexican side of this issue if Medellin had actually told the authorities he was a Mexican national before his trial or during his trial rather than after the trial. Why rehear a case years after the fact when the convicted foreigner gets around to informing everyone, "Oh, I forgot to tell you I'm a foreign national and want help from my consulate".

Rage Judicata said...

And I would have more sympathy for the state if they hadn't done this exact same thing in 50 other cases that were recently up for review.

Jason said...

If the person is truthful about their citizenship status they are asked when they make their initial court appearance if they would like their counsulate to be notified. I've never heard one say no.