The Supreme Court is considering whether to block a Mexican citizen's execution for the rape and murder of a teenager in a case that pits Texas justice vs. international treaty rights. The White House was among those pleading for a stay, saying the case could affect not only foreigners in the US but Americans detained in other countries. The Obama administration asked the court to delay Humberto Leal's execution, set for this evening, so Congress could consider a law that would require court reviews in cases where condemned foreign nationals did not receive help from their consulates.
Leal, a 38-year-old mechanic, was sentenced to lethal injection for the 1994 rape-slaying of 16-year-old Adria Sauceda, whose body was found hours after Leal left a San Antonio street party with her. Leal moved with his family from Mexico to the US as a toddler. He contends police never told him he could seek legal assistance from the Mexican government under an international treaty, and that such assistance would have helped his defense. (Read more Mexico stories.)