On Wednesday, Texas executed [official Texas DCJ website] a Mexican national who was convicted of murdering a police officer in 1994. Controversy grew after the arrest because Edgar Arias Tamayo was not notified of his rights under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations [text] to notify Mexican diplomats of the arrest. Because of this, Tamayo's legal team argued that Tamayo was not provided the potential legal protections of the counselor's office. The Mexican Capital Legal Assistance Program (MCLAP), funded by the Mexican government, provided legal assistance once the conviction was handed down. Tamayo also claimed he was mentally disabled and not eligible to receive the death penalty. However, the Supreme Court denied both appeals and refused to stay [order, PDF] the execution. The execution sparked an international outcry based in part because Tamayo was in the US illegally when the crime was committed. Tamayo is the fourth individual to be put to death this year.
Six US states have repealed the death penalty since 2007, bringing the total to 18. One of the common rationales for this trend is that the costs associated with litigating appeals actually cost the state more than paying for a prisoner's needs for life. Those states that recently joined this trend are Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Illinois [JURIST reports]. On the other hand, 32 states retain its use, according to the Death Penalty Information Center [advocacy website]. California [JURIST report] voters declined to repeal the death penalty on the most recent ballot despite the fact that 47 percent of voters supported the repeal last November.