Monday, January 21, 2008

The Risk of Being an Outlaw Nation

Last week, both TalkLeft and SL&P pointed to an AP article about murder suspects from the United States fleeing to Mexico. Why is that important? Because it allows them to escape the death penalty:

Mexico routinely returns fugitives to the U.S. to face justice. But under a 1978 treaty with the U.S., Mexico, which has no death penalty, will not extradite anyone facing possible execution. To get their hands on a fugitive, U.S. prosecutors must agree to seek no more than life in prison.

Other countries, including France and Canada, also demand such "death assurances." But the problem is more common with Mexico, since it is often a quick drive from the crime scene for a large portion of the United States.
Shockingly, this pisses off some prosecutors and "victims advocates," for whom there is no justice without a state-sponsored killing. What they seem to miss is that Mexico (or any other country) is under no obligation to extradite anybody anywhere for any crime. It's only via treaties, like the 1978 one discussed in the article, that the United States has any right to request the return of those fugitives. Mexico can put whatever strings it wants on their return, assuming the United States agrees to them in the first place.

When it comes to the death penalty, the United States is an outlaw nation. We shouldn't get pissy when other countries treat us as such. It's the risk we run for being so out of step with the rest of the civilized world on this issue.


Buzzardbilly said...

I think the death penalty is cost-prohibitive. It's cheaper, in the long run with appeals and court time, to enforce a life sentence than a death sentence. It's probably the one and only thing I agree with Scalia on.

Elvis Drinkmo said...

Right on.

I'm sure you've read it JDB- but Thurgood Marshall's majority opinion in Furman v. Georgia (it was Furman, right? been a long time since pre-law classes) is a very moving argument against what would be regarded as totally barbaric by a civilized nation.