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Medellin v. Dretke

Docket No.: 04-5928
Certiorari Granted: Dec 10 2004
Argued: March 28, 2005
Decided: May 23, 2005

Topics:

Judicial Power, Writ Improvidently Granted, Article I, Death Penalty, Due Process, EPA, Supremacy Clause, capital murder, copyright, habeas, habeas corpus, murder, patent, probable cause, stare decisis

PartyNames: Jose Ernesto Medellin v. Doug Dretke, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division
Petitioner: Jose Ernesto Medellin
Respondent: Doug Dretke, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Citation: 371 F3d 270
Supreme Court Docket

Jose Ernesto Medellin
v.
Doug Dretke, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division
544 U.S. 660 (2005)
Background:

The United States and Mexico are party to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and its Optional Protocol Concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes. Acting on the consent set forth in the Optional Protocol, Mexico initiated proceedings in the International Court of Justice seeking relief for the violation of Petitioner's Vienna Convention rights. On March 31, 2004, the Court rendered a judgment that adjudicated Petitioner's rights. Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mex. v. U.S.), 2004 I.C.J. 128 (Mar. 31). The Avena Judgment built on the Court's rulings in LaGrand (F.R.G. v. U.S.), 2001 I.C.J. 104 (June 27), an earlier case also brought under the Optional Protocol. On Petitioner's application for a certificate of appealability of the denial of his petition for habeas corpus, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that precedents of this Court and its own barred it from complying with the LaGrand and Avena Judgments.

Question Presented:

1. In a case brought by a Mexican national whose rights were adjudicated in the Avena Judgment, must a court in the United States apply as the rule of decision, notwithstanding any inconsistent United States precedent, the Avena holding that the United States courts must review and reconsider the national's conviction and sentence, without resort to procedural default doctrines'? 2. In a case brought by a foreign national of a State party to the Vienna Convention, should a court in the United States give effect to the LaGrand and Avena Judgments as a matter of international judicial comity and in the interest of uniform treaty interpretation?

Question:

Is a federal court bound by the International Court of Justice's ruling that U.S. courts must reconsider a Mexican citizen's claim for relief under the Vienna Convention? 2. Should a federal court enforce an ICJ ruling?

Medellin v. Dretke
ORAL ARGUMENT

March 28, 2005

Holding: dismissed
Decision: Decision: 5 votes for Dretke, 4 vote(s) against
Vote: 5-4
Opinion By: Per Curiam
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