skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Consumer health advocates urge governor to sign bill package; NY protests for Jewish democracy heighten as Netanyahu meets UN today; Multiple Utah cities set to use ranked-choice voting in next election.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

The Pentagon wants to help service members denied benefits under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," advocates back a new federal office of gun violence prevention, and a top GOP member assures the Ukrainian president more help is coming.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

An Indigenous project in South Dakota seeks to protect tribal data sovereignty, advocates in North Carolina are pushing back against attacks on public schools, and Arkansas wants the hungriest to have access to more fruits and veggies.

Bipartisan Agreement: TX Execution Threatens Safety of Americans Abroad

play audio
Play

Tuesday, June 7, 2011   

AUSTIN, Texas - The planned execution of a Mexican man next month in Texas is sparking bipartisan appeals to Governor Rick Perry. The 1994 prosecution of Humberto Leal Garcia violated international law, according to an array of retired military leaders, judges, and diplomats, who say Leal was deprived of assistance from his government until after his conviction.

His attorney, Sandra Babcock, is filing a reprieve petition today. She believes the issue is bigger than justice for one man. When the U.S. violates its treaties, she says, it encourages other countries to do the same, putting hundreds of thousands of Americans at risk of languishing helplessly in foreign jails.

"U.S. service members, missionaries, teachers, businessmen. Really there are so many different people - in addition to those of us who just like to vacation abroad - who really depend on this lifeline of consular assistance."

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that foreigners are, in fact, protected by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, signed by 173 countries, but that Congress needs to amend domestic law to match provisions of the treaty.

Such legislation is expected to be introduced soon. The question is, will Leal be put to death before statutes require review of his conviction?

Babcock, who is a professor of law at Northwestern University in Chicago, says if the execution proceeds as scheduled on July 7, it would send a message that the U.S. picks and chooses which international commitments to honor.

"And if we do that, then what incentive does any country have to enter into a treaty with us about nuclear arms, business negotiations, cooperation in the fight against global terror?"

Consular assistance, Babcock says, is crucial for understanding one's rights under the laws of foreign countries. Leal, who has learning disabilities, was arrested when he was 21 for the rape and murder of a 16-year-old in San Antonio. He maintains his innocence.

Babcock says he was convicted using "junk science" and had shoddy representation.

"He had no prior experience in the criminal justice system. He had no record. Just the kind of person who has the vulnerabilities that consular assistance can make a real difference. And in this case, I think, it would have made a difference between life and death."

Among those imploring Governor Perry and the state Board of Pardons and Paroles to stop Leal's execution are Americans who know first-hand what it's like to be arrested in a foreign country: the journalist Euna Lee, imprisoned in North Korea until former President Clinton helped negotiate her release; and Billy Hayes, whose story of his 1970s arrest in Turkey became the movie, "Midnight Express."

For documentation of the Leal reprieve petition, as well as letters mentioned, go to
www.humbertoleal.org. The site is to go live as of Tuesday, June 7.




get more stories like this via email

more stories
Some 43% of young voters say they are more motivated to vote by candidates who represent their values, not by voting against candidates who do not represent their values (27%). (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

The youngest North Carolina voters could end up shifting the political landscape of the state in the not-too-distant future. New data from the …


Social Issues

play sound

Protests have heightened in New York as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joins the United Nations General Assembly today. Sonya Meyerson-…

Environment

play sound

Many across the state of Nevada will celebrate National Public Lands Day tomorrow. Nevadans will be able to visit state parks for free on Saturday…


Almost nine of 10 voters who used ranked choice voting said they were confident their ballot would be counted accurately, according to Utah Ranked Choice Voting. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Across Utah, 10 cities will be using ranked choice voting in the general election in November. In 2018, Utah passed a bill to establish a pilot …

Social Issues

play sound

While North Dakota does not have voter registration, civic engagement groups say efforts are still needed to help underserved populations get …

USAFacts.org reports in 2020, $12,268 was the average amount spent on health care per Indiana resident. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

play sound

Open enrollment begins soon for employer-sponsored health insurance for coverage starting Jan 1. Most people will have multiple options to choose …

Health and Wellness

play sound

Health care advocates are urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign four bills aiming to lower medical bills, improve transparency, and make health care more …

Environment

play sound

Rural advocates are supporting the Farmland for Farmers Act in Congress. It would restrict the amount of Iowa farmland large corporations can own…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021