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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Rights of Foreign Criminals

From AP via Yahoo! News:

Supreme Court justices appeared skeptical as lawyers for two foreigners convicted of violent crimes in the United States argued that police had violated the men's rights.

Lawyers for the two men — one from Honduras, the other from Mexico — told the court Wednesday that police should have told them they could seek legal help from their countries' governments, as required by a 1969 treaty...

The 1969 Vienna Convention requires "competent authorities" to tell a consulate when a foreign national is arrested and to allow the consulate to communicate with the detained person and advise the suspect "without delay" of his or her rights.

U.S. citizens have the same rights if they are arrested in one of the 168 countries that signed the treaty.

The court was asked whether failure to advise a foreign suspect of the Vienna Convention rights can be used to overturn a conviction. The court's decision, expected before July, could affect the appeals of thousands of foreign citizens in U.S. prisons and jails.

This seems like a slum dunk: a foreign criminal's conviction should not be overturned because a police officer did not mention to the defendant that he has the right to contact his country's consulate.

1 Comments:

Blogger La Ventanita said...

I agree. That has no bearing on the evidence per se.

3/30/2006 8:51 PM  

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