Jose Ernesto Medellin, left, was sentenced in 1994 to die for the rapes
and killings of two teenage girls in Houston. The Supreme Court ruled
President Bush cannot force Texas to reconsider Medellin's case, even
if the conviction violated an international court's ruling. (AP
Article 36 of the Vienna Convention requires authorities to notify "without delay" a detained foreign national of his right to request assistance from the consul of his own state. At the time of Medellin's arrest, the United States was a signatory to the treaty, but Mexico was never notified of his arrest.
Medellin, a Mexican citizen who had lived in the United States most of his life, claimed that had he known that he could inform Mexican consular officers of his detention they could have potentially assisted him by providing funding for experts or investigators or ensuring that he was represented by a competent defense counsel. Currently, there are 50 other Mexican nationals on death row in America.
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