You should know about the debate on executions going on right now, and whether lethal injection is "cruel and unusual" punishment. If you aren't aware ... it's time to read up.
Start with the José Ernesto Medellín case, and then read the Heliberto Chi case.
Essentially what we have is 51 foreigners , that have been convicted and sentenced to death in the US, may not have their sentences carried out because of the 1963 Vienna Convention. President Bush is also throwing his weight around in the matter, and Texas seems to be standing alone in fighting for their right to execute convicted criminals.
The Vienna Convention states that people arrested abroad should have access to their home country's consular officials. Many of the foreigners (illegals) are arguing that they were not granted access to their country's consular officials. Keep in mind that many have confessed to their crimes of rape and murder.
As a result of these cases we have the ACLU, and other groups opposed to the death penalty, challenging the Constitutionality of lethal injections. Many executions across the country have been halted until the U.S. Supreme Court reviews the constitutionality of lethal injections.
Obviously we have several problems with the current situation. State's rights are being violated, this is not a Constitutional issue, and we have international law infringing upon American sovereignty.
The Vienna Convention has no power over internal US affairs, and foreign nationals are NOT permitted under US law access to their consular officials. The US Supreme Court ruled on this very matter last year.
Stating that American law outweighs an international treaty, the Supreme Court said Wednesday that foreign criminals held in state prisons did not have a right to reopen their cases if their rights under the Vienna Convention had been violated.
The 6-3 ruling spares state prison officials a major headache. If the high court had ruled the other way, thousands of state inmates who were not U.S. citizens could have sought to have their convictions reversed.
The international treaty, drafted in 1963, seeks to protect foreigners, including Americans traveling or living abroad. It requires that officials notify the home-country consulate when a foreigner is arrested or held for "pending trial."
Despite its clear terms, police and prosecutors in the United States have failed to notify foreign criminal suspects that they have a right to the help of their nation's consulate.
Two years ago, the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, took up an appeal from the governments of Mexico and Germany. The court, based in The Hague, ruled that the treaty gave individuals a right to reopen their cases if they did not get the proper notification.
But the Supreme Court said Wednesday that it was not bound to follow that ruling.
As you can see ... the Supreme Court has already ruled on this issue, and they ruled that US law trumps an international treaty ... as it should.
Why this case is being reheard is beyond me, but Phyllis Schlafly thinks it has something to do with the Law of the Sea Treaty.
Now for the ACLU (NV chapter) violating the rights of a death row inmate.
William Castillo was sentenced to death in 1996 for bludgeoning to death an 84 year old retired teacher as she slept. He then robbed her house, left, returned, and burned it down. He would later confess to the murder, and was sentenced to die this month by lethal injection. We waived his right to appeals, and accepted his fate. Castillo requested that the ACLU and the Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty not stop his execution, but his request was ignored for pure ideology.
Nancy Hart of the Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty and Richard Siegel of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada said the Pardons Board has the authority to halt Castillo's lethal injection pending a U.S. Supreme Court review of such injections.
Nevada uses the injection method being reviewed by the court, Hart and Siegel wrote, adding that executing Castillo might put the state "in the untenable position of having to explain why it felt compelled to rush an execution before the Supreme Court was able to rule."
"The state of Nevada should not be executing any of its prisoners, 'voluntary' or not, while the U.S. Supreme Court is deciding whether the method violates the Constitution," they wrote.
As you can see, they didn't give a damn about what Castillo wanted. It's even more laughable that the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty asked people to "write to Gov. Jim Gibbons on behalf of William Castillo!" Even though he opposes their stance on capital punishment.
Their assertion that NV uses the same method under review by the US Supreme Court is false. Nevada uses double the formulation strength being challenged in the Supreme Court.
State Corrections Director Howard Skolnik said that Castillo will get double doses of the three drugs normally used in executions. He said that the change ensures that Castillo should "go out instantly" and not experience "any kind of discomfort."
Skolnik also said the double dose makes the Nevada method different than the Kentucky method of lethal injections, which is the subject of the U.S. Supreme Court review.
That means that if the US Supreme Court rules that the Kentucky method of lethal injections is unconstitutional ... it would not apply to Nevada anyway. The Supreme Court has not issued a halt to all executions in the US anyway, and therefore Nevada would not have to "explain why it felt compelled to rush an execution."
Their arguments are insensitive and false, but they worked.
Convicted killer William Castillo was 90 minutes away from death by lethal injection Monday night when the Nevada Supreme Court stepped in and issued a stay to allow more time to consider legal issues raised by the ACLU of Nevada.
Castillo had his final meal, and was sedated already when the order came down. Also, two of the victim's family members had come to town to witness the execution. I doubt the ACLU will reimburse them for the time and cost of their trip.
Something else had already taken place as well. Castillo's mom had said her final goodbye to her son ... only to be called later that he was not executed. You'd think Castillo and his mom would be relieved, right? Well, you'd be wrong.
News 3's Jesse Corona spoke exclusively to Castillo's family and found they are not happy about the execution being halted.
His family says he had already refused any more legal action on his behalf and that he was ready and willing to die.
"Not that I want my son to die, but I had to accept my son's decision," said Castillo's mother.
Mrs. Castillo says her son told her that he would refuse any more appeals filed on his behalf to stop his execution two months ago. She says it was the most difficult thing she's ever had to do but her son told her he wanted to take responsibility for his actions and die like a man, so she agreed to respect his wishes.
"I had to accept this, and these people come along and yank that from us?" she said.
Now I don't have sympathy for Castillo, but I do for his mother. It is impossible to imagine what she is going through. Not only does she discover that her son is a monster, but she had to come to terms with his death. Now she has to get a lawyer and fight for her son's right to be executed.
"When I hung up that phone, my son died. According to the state he was going to die 8:30 but my son died at 7 when I said goodbye," she said.
Castillo had already ate his last meal and taken the pre-execution sedative and was ready to die.
"His first words were, mom this ain't right. Get a lawyer, get someone out there to help us that was not right they had no business being here."
On top of all that ... she says that the ACLU is far more cruel than the methods they are arguing against.
Mrs. Castillo says what the ACLU did to her family was itself cruel and unusual.
She's right, and I hope she sues the hell out of the ACLU.
Mrs. Castillo, like me, is convinced the ACLU's move was a publicity stunt.
Mrs. Castillo also said that she thinks the last minute stay of execution by the ACLU was really a publicity move for the organization, and not about the issues they say it was about. She says if the ACLU's motivations were pure, they would have requested a hearing last week.
Again, she is right. Requesting a hearing the week before would have saved a lot of grief for the Castillo family, and the victim's family. Instead of requesting that hearing, however, the ACLU was polluting every news agency with their rhetoric on the situation.
The ACLU told News 3 Thursday that they have a lot of sympathy for everyone affected by what happened, but they say the issue was not about any one particular individual on death row, but instead was about the constitution.
So Castillo's desire to die after being convicted, and sentenced to death, was about the Constitution? Even though the Constitution gives states the right to enforce capital punishment, and even though the method of execution being used for Castillo is not the method being constitutionally challenged in the Supreme Court? Give me a break!
This is further illustration of the ACLU's hypocrisy. Why, you ask. Because the ACLU has long fought for the right to die, and they've used constitutional arguments to support their efforts.
"Each of us should have the right to die in a humane and dignified manner. The exercise of this right is as central to personal autonomy and bodily integrity as rights safeguarded by this Court's decisions relating to marriage, family relationships, procreation, contraception, child rearing and the refusal or termination of life-saving medical treatment," said Steven R. Shapiro, the ACLU's National Legal Director.
That was in 1997.
- In 2001 the ACLU supported the right of Robert Wendland's wife to take him off of life support.
- 2005 showed another case when the ACLU supported the right to die for Harold Folley in New Mexico.
You get the point ... I don't need to go on.
So why is it that the ACLU supports the right to die for some, but not those who were sentenced to death? The answer ... their political agenda. The ACLU has an agenda to get rid of the death penalty, and in their list of priorities that agenda is more important than the right to die or state's rights.
Thus, the American Civil Liberties Union violated the civil liberties of one William Castillo even though they swear they exist only to uphold such civil liberties.