Jose Medellin Executed
Texas executed convicted murderer Jose Medellin this evening after a three hour delay while the Supreme Court reconsidered his case. The court voted 5-4, usual suspects, to allow the execution to proceed (PDF). Justice Stevens switched from his agreement with Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, and Alito in Medellin v. Texas (PDF), which was decided just five months ago.
Medellin’s case took on international significance after the World Court (to which the U.S. is a party) ruled that his execution should not proceed. Medellin, a Mexican national, was properly convicted under the statutes of Texas and in compliance with the Texas Constitution and the U.S. Constitution. However, he was not afforded the proper procedural protections under various treaties the U.S. has signed and ratified. The Supreme Court’s March decision held that those treaties were not self-executing and could not be applied to the State of Texas absent some federal enabling legislation (legislation which has not been forthcoming in the five months since the decision).
Just after it was handed down, I wrote about Medellin v. Texas and the case’s importance to the War on Terror. I’m as grateful now that Chief Justice Roberts is on the court as I was then.