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4. Letter from William H. Taft, IV, Legal Adviser of the Department of State, to Okalahoma Pardon and Parole Board concerning consideration of a writ of clemency for a Mexican national, June 5, 2001.


June 5, 2001

BY FAX TO 405-427-6648

Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board
4040 N. Lincoln Boulevard, Suite 219
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105-5521

Dear Board Members:

The Department of State understands that the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board will consider shortly the pending clemency petition on behalf of Gerardo VALDEZ, a Mexican national scheduled for execution on Tuesday, June 19, 2001. We further understand that the execution will take place on June 19 if no executive stay is ordered or if clemency is not granted.

The Government of Mexico has brought this case to the attention of the Department of State because of its concern that Mr. Valdez was not advised at the time of his arrest of his right to have a Mexican consular official notified of his detention. Under Article 36(1)(b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, a treaty to which the United States and Mexico are parties, a foreign national who is arrested or detained must be so notified “without delay.”

We have been in touch with the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma about this case. We understand that, notwithstanding the fact that he was a Mexican citizen, Mr. Valdez was not advised of his right to request consular assistance from Mexican consular officials at any time prior to his trial or during his subsequent incarceration. The Government of Mexico became aware of Mr. Valdez’s detention on April 19, 2001, when family members of Mr. Valdez contacted the Mexican Consulate in El Paso.

According to the Attorney General’s office, arresting and detaining officials learned that Mr. Valdez was a Mexican citizen within a day of his arrest in July 1989. This information indicates that there was a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, as Mr. Valdez was not advised of his right to have a Mexican consular official notified of his detention. If Mr. Valdez had been so advised and if he had requested that Mexican consular officials be notified, it would have been incumbent upon Oklahoma authorities to notify the nearest consulate of the fact of Mr. Valdez’s detention, so that the consulate could have provided whatever consular assistance it deemed appropriate.

In view of the above facts, the Department of State will convey to the Government of Mexico on behalf of the United States the Department’s deepest regrets over the failure of consular notification in this case. In addition, the Department of State requests that the Pardon and Parole Board give careful consideration to the pending clemency request for Mr. Valdez, including the failure to provide Mr. Valdez with consular notification pursuant to Article 36 of the Vienna Convention, and particularly to the representations of the Government of Mexico on Mr. Valdez’s behalf.


William H. Taft IV
Legal Adviser

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