It’s been a while since this issue has come up, and it does come up every now and again in military cases – DoD has approximately 50,000 foreign nationals on active duty.
Some more fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Medellin v. Texas fell today from the California Supreme Court. The case is In re Martinez, S141480.
In its Avena decision, the International Court of Justice said that all that was required was a judicial determination of whether the defendant had suffered any prejudice from failure to notify the consulate upon arrest. Very few have, I believe. CJLF argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that Medellin had already received a (negative) judicial determination of prejudice, although the state court decision on that point was less than crystal clear. The Supreme Court decided not to rule on that basis, but noted the issue in a footnote.
In the California case, it is clear. Martinez raised the Vienna Convention claim in his first state habeas petition, and that petition was unambiguously denied on the merits, not procedural default. He has already received the determination the Avena decision says he should receive. President Bush’s memorandum saying the state courts should implement Avena would entitle him to no more, even if it were binding on the states, and Medellin holds it is not. Game over, says Cal. Supreme, in a unanimous decision by Justice Moreno.