Friday, December 6, 2013

Breard v. Greene, The Republic of Paraguay v. Gilmore case brief

Breard v. Greene, The Republic of Paraguay v. Gilmore case brief summary
523 U.S. 371 (1998)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioners, inmate, foreign sovereign, and consul general, applied for a stay, writ of certiorari, writ of habeas corpus, injunctive relief, and for leave to file a bill of complaint in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. They sought to overturn petitioner inmate's conviction for murder and to stay his execution based on noncompliance with Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, April 24, 1963, 21 U.S.T. 77.

CASE FACTS
Petitioners, inmate, foreign sovereign, and consul general, sought to overturn petitioner inmate's murder conviction and sentence to imminent execution. They applied in district court for a stay, writ of certiorari, writ of habeas corpus, injunctive relief, and for leave to file a bill of complaint. They asserted that the failure to inform petitioner inmate at the time of his arrest of his right as a foreign national to contact his consulate violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, April 24, 1963, 21 U.S.T. 77.

DISCUSSION

  • The court ruled that by not asserting his Vienna Convention claim in state court, as required by federal and state laws, petitioner inmate could not raise a claim of violation of those rights on federal habeas review. 
  • Further, the subsequently enacted Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, 28 U.S.C.S. § 2254(a), (e)(2), prevented him from showing that the treaty violation prejudiced his rights. 
  • The court held that petitioner foreign sovereign had no private right of action to set aside the criminal conviction and declared that petitioner consul general's claim for discrimination was not cognizable under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983.

CONCLUSION
The court denied habeas corpus, certiorari, and leave to file a bill of complaint to petitioners, inmate, foreign sovereign, and consul general, who sought to overturn petitioner inmate's murder conviction and death sentence. Failure to raise in state court the violation of rights under a treaty precluded federal habeas review. Petitioner foreign sovereign lacked standing. Petitioner consul general had no cognizable claim.


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1 comment:

  1. Breard v. Greene, The Republic of Paraguay v. Gilmore
    523 U.S. 371 (1998)

    Mr. Breard was a Paraguayan national who was arrested in Virginia on the suspicion of murdering another.
    At the time of his arrest Breard was not warned that he had a right to contact the Embassy of Paraguay.
    Under the Vienna Convention on Consular Rights 36(1)(b), foreign nationals have a right to contact their embassy when they are arrested.
    The United States was a party to the Convention.
    At Trial, Breard had failed to raise the defense based on the Vienna Convention.
    Breard was convicted and sentenced to death.
    Paraguay went to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and requested that Breard's conviction be voided because the conviction violated an international treaty.
    The ICJ issued a temporary injunction and told the United States to "take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Breard was not executed pending a final decision."
    Breard and Paraguay went the Supreme Court of the United States and requested a stay of execution.
    The US State Department filed an Amicus brief which said that executing Breard would damage the rights of US citizens abroad.
    The US Justice Department filed and Amicus brief saying that the Federal government no power to stop a sentence that was issued by a State court.
    The US Supreme Court denied the stay of execution.
    The US Supreme Court found that Breard procedurally defaulted on his claim by not bringing it up at Trial.
    The Court found that the procedural rules of the forum State govern the implementation of the treaty in that State.
    Basically, the Vienna Convention is still the law in Virginia, but it is up to Virginia courts to determine how the law will be applied. In the case before us, Virginia procedural rules are that any claims you don't bring up at Trial are waived, so Breard had a right to use the Vienna Convention as a defense, he just waived it.
    Compare to what would have happened if the police hadn't read Breard a Miranda Warning. Even though that's a violation of the 5th Amendment, if you don't bring it up at trail, you can't bring it up on appeal.
    Breard was executed.
    The US went back to the ICJ and said that they "took all measures at their disposal to ensure Breard was not executed," but he was executed anyway.
    Paraguay dropped the ICJ claim.

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