Perino on the Medellin Case and the IJC

The President and Secretary of State have made it clear in the past they do not go along with the International Court of Justice and will ignore its decisions on decisions affecting criminal cases in the United States. But, incredibly to some, the Administration has agreed to abide by a ruling from the IJC that a conviction of Jose Medellin for the murder of two teenage girls as well as the conviction of 50 other Mexican nationals violates their rights to legal assistance as outlined in the 1963 Vienna Convention.

Gang member Medellin, born in the Mexico and raised in the US, was convicted of a gang rape and murder of two teenage girls on a railroad trestle in Houston in June of 1993. Atlhough Medellin was informed of his rights when arrested four days later, he was not told he could request legal assistance from the Mexican consulate. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death the following year.

Mexico later sued the US in the IJC at The Hague, Netherlands on behalf of Medellin and 50 other Mexican nationals on death row in the US. Arguments on its ruling began in the Supreme Court today.

When I asked why the Administration is going along with the IJC ruling and participating in the Supreme Court arguments, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said at the gaggle (early morning briefings for reporters) that it was all a legal maneuver to clarify the U.S. legal position.

“That is one case you are talking about — that’s the Jose Medellin case,” Perino told me, “The arguments of the United States in this case in no way condone or defends [sic] the despicable and heinous actions of this individual, Jose Medellin, He was convicted.

“What our point is about in this case is that the President needs to have an authority to insure that the US adheres to international treaty obligations. It’s a case pending before the Supreme Court. We look forward to the court’s decision. I believe there’s an argument today and we respect the court’s process on that.”