Hand Wringing Over Medellin: Texas has defied the entire civilized world by refusing to delay the execution of confessed rapist/murderer Jose Ernesto Medellin, according to this story by Alan Turner from today's Houston Chronicle. Medellin. a Mexican citizen, was convicted 15 years ago of the gang-rape and strangulation murder of two teen-aged girls in Houston. A 1963 treaty, "the Vienna Convention on Counselor Relations", required Houston police to notify the Mexican consul of Medellin's arrest, but they failed to do this. The World Court's Avena decision in 2004, announced that in such situations, the convicted murderer is entitled to a court hearing to determine if his defense was undermined by the failure to notify. The claim today is that Medellin is entitled to such a hearing. One minor detail.....Medellin got his hearing on state habeas corpus in 1994 and the habeas judge held that the failure to notify the Mexican consul did not prejudice his case. The father of one of the murdered girls properly characterized the current outcry, "It's just a last-ditch effort to keep this scumbag breathing."
Sex Offenders Lose College Aid: An education bill adopted by Congress last week includes a provision which prevents violent sex offenders from receiving Pell Grants to pay college expenses. Associated Press writer Ryan Foley reports that the new restriction only affects sex offenders confined in treatment facilities beyond their sentences due to their high probability for re-offending. Apparently some of these offenders were applying for Pell Grant funds by signing up to take classes, then dropping them after receiving the money.
Too Fat to Execute? An Ohio double-murderer has filed a federal lawsuit challenging his upcoming October execution, arguing that he is too fat for lethal injection. An AP story by Andrew Welsh-Huggins reports that Richard Cooey, who is 5 ft. 7 and weighs 267 lbs, also takes medication for migraines that may interfere with the anesthesia given during the lethal injection process. Cooey was sentenced to die for killing college students Dawn McCreery and Wendy Offredo on Sept. 1, 1986. At around midnight Cooey and two friends threw a large concrete chunk off a freeway overpass which struck the car in which McCreery and Offredo were traveling, disabling it. Cooey then presented himself to the young women as a good Samaritan, offering to drive them to a telephone to call their parents. Once in his car, Cooey robbed, raped and beat the women with a nightstick before strangling the pair with a shoelace.