Friday, July 8, 2011

Humberto Leal Garcia, denied justice? Not so fast!

Humberto Leal Garcia was executed in Huntsville Texas on Thursday, July 7, 2011.  He was pronounced dead via lethal injection at approximately 6:21pm.  The Supreme court denied a stay of execution based on the objection that law enforcement officers failed to offer Humbert his right to speak with the Mexican Consulate/Embassy as stated in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.  Humberto was 21 at the time of his arrest and had been living as an American citizen since entering the United States with his parents illegally at the age of 18 months.  How were law enforcement officials to determine that Mr. Leal was entitled to rights under Article 36?  Surely those who objected to his execution did not want police to check his residency or citizenship status?  If Humberto had been forth coming with his immigration status, I am certain that officers would have afforded him every right entitled to him.  It is curious that after all of this time falsely living as a legal US citizen, that Humberto would have wanted to take advantage of such rights.  The Leal Family has a website where they do everything from question the competency of Humberto's court appointed attorneys, to question DNA/Bite mark analysis which has been an accepted form of forensic science for some time.  The family spends a lot of time via their website discussing mitigating circumstances that had they been admitted into evidence, would have produced a different outcome of Humberto's trial and/or punishment.  You can read those if you like, they are available on the family's website, but I will highlight a few things.  Humberto's mother lost her father at the age of 7.  He was killed in prison and her mother started to beat her and her 6 siblings with a belt when she was angry.  Humberto's mother was very poor growing up, she lived in a one room house and was sustained on soup and beans.  At the age of 14 she met Humberto Leal Senior (Humberto's father) and ran away with him to be married at the the age of 16 to escape beatings from her mother.  Soon after marrying Mr. Leal Senior, he began to violently beat her and drink excessively.  Now I know what you're thinking, how does Humberto's mother's upbringing qualify as mitigating circumstances for his later behavior?  I'm getting to that. Um no, I'm not!!  The Leal family left Mexico when Humberto was almost 2 years of age so that they could have a better life.  Per their website, they lived in extreme poverty, Mr. Leal Senior drank too much and Mrs. Leal began to beat the children (including Humberto Junior).  Apparently Humberto suffers from brain damage, and they fail to state how this happened, but the effects were exacerbated by his being sexually assaulted by his Parish Priest, and the violence that he witnessed at home.   Those are a lot of mitigating circumstances to consider for someone who is innocent.  Per Dr. Ricardo Weinstein, a Clinical Psychologist hired by the Mexican Government,  Humberto suffers from frontal lobe dysfunction, which had pronounced effects on his behavior.  Per Dr. Weinstein, frontal lobe dysfunction inhibited Humberto's ability to make decisions, foresee consequences of his actions, assess risks, and adjust to different social environments.  I failed to mention that the family had several teachers from Humberto's high school who spoke favorably about his behavior and his interaction with fellow students.  Also it should be mentioned that per the family's website, Humberto was gainfully employed and had no previous convictions prior to his arrest for rape and murder.  So, this frontal lobe dysfunction, is it intermittent?  Dr. Weinstein also felt that since Humberto was only 21 at the time of his arrest, his frontal lobes were not fully matured, because they are the last part of the brain to develop.  He believes that the lobes are not fully mature until early 20's and prior to that, young adults may have serious implications when it comes to decision making abilities.  First question, 21 is considered early 20's right?  Secondly, do we need to start tucking our kids away in our homes until their frontal lobes fully develop and they can fully understand that you can't rape and kill a 16 year old girl, and if you do, you will be punished.  That 16 year old girl's name was Adria Sauceda and her manner of death was horrific.  Mr. Leal got to die in his sleep.  His last words before he died were: "I have hurt a lot of people....I take full blame for everything.  I am sorry for what I did".  Hey wait a minute, what did he do?  I thought he was innocent?  He also said Viva Mexico twice before taking his last breath and then members of his family later got together and burned T shirts that depicted the American Flag.    

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