Lawyers seek delay in execution of Mexican national in Texas

Dec. 12, 2013 at 11:52 AM
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AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Lawyers for a Mexican citizen facing execution next month in Texas have asked Gov. Rick Perry to grant him a 30-day stay.

Edgar Arias Tamayo, 46, was given a death sentence for killing a Houston police officer in 1994. His lawyers say he was never told he had the right to get assistance from the Mexican consul after his arrest, the New York Times reported.

The lawyers also asked the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Wednesday to commute the sentence to life in prison. In their legal papers, they cite a September letter to Texas from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the Times said.

Kerry urged the state to comply with an International Court of Justice order in 2004 that the United States review the convictions of Tamayo and other Mexicans facing execution. Kerry said he had no reason to believe Tamayo's conviction was unfair and no sympathy with those who kill police officers. But he warned that failure to comply with the international court could affect U.S. citizens arrested in other countries.

"Our consular visits help ensure U.S. citizens detained overseas have access to food and appropriate medical care, if needed, as well as access to legal representation," Kerry said.

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled President George W. Bush did not have the authority to order Texas to obey international court rulings.

"It doesn't matter where you're from," said Lucy Nashed, a spokeswoman for the governor. "If you commit a despicable crime like this in Texas, you are subject to our state laws, including a fair trial by jury and the ultimate penalty."

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