Yesterday, Texas executed Edgar Tamayo, a Mexican citizen, with lethal injection for the 1994 killing of police officer Guy Gaddis. This execution is stirring controversy all across the nation because Tamayo was never advised that he could receive legal assistance from the Mexican consulate after he was arrested. This legal assistance from the consulate is guaranteed through the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The Mexican consulate states that they might have been able to raise the issue of Tamayo's mental impairment, uncover evidence to fight the capital charge, or provide evidence to contest his execution. Without ever having the chance for legal assistance from the Mexican government, we will never know what could have happened.
Many contend that this act by Texas is a clear violation of international obligations and fear that this will undermine the safety of American citizens while abroad. Perhaps this controversy will open the discussion to advising all arrestees of their right to seek help from their consulate if they are a foreign citizen, just as all arrestees are advised of their Miranda rights.