Breard v. Greene

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Breard v. Greene
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Decided April 14, 1998
Full case name Angel Francisco Breard v. Fred W. Greene, Warden
Citations 523 U.S. 371 (more)
118 S. Ct. 1352;140 L. Ed. 2d 529;1998 U.S. LEXIS 2465;66 U.S.L.W. 3684;98 Cal. Daily Op. Service 2948;98 Daily Journal DAR 3979;1998 Colo. J. C.A.R. 1947;11 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 458
Holding
Defendant could not raise his Vienna Convention claim on federal habeas corpus review. Moreover, the Court reasoned that he could not have demonstrated that the alleged violation of the Vienna Convention had an effect on his state trial that ought to have resulted in the overturning of his conviction. Additionally, the Court found that the Vienna Convention did not clearly provide a foreign nation with a private right of action in U.S. courts.
Court membership
Case opinions
Per curiam.
Concurrence Souter
Dissent Stevens
Dissent Breyer
Dissent Ginsburg
Laws applied
Vienna Convention

Breard v. Greene, 523 U.S. 371 (1998), is a United States Supreme Court decision decided on April 14, 1998 which placed the United States directly in conflict with the International Court of Justice and has since been used as precedent.[1][2]

Background[edit]

In 1992, Angel Francisco Breard, a citizen of Paraguay, was convicted of the attempted rape and capital murder of Ruth Dickie. Breard was scheduled to be executed by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1996. Ultimately, Breard filed a motion for habeas relief in Federal District Court, alleging that arresting authorities violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations when they failed to inform him that, as a foreign national, he had the right to contact the Paraguayan Consulate. The court concluded that Breard had procedurally defaulted on this claim by failing to raise it in state court. The Court of Appeals affirmed. In 1996, Paraguayan officials brought suit alleging that Virginia officials had violated their rights under the Vienna Convention by failing to inform Breard of his treaty rights and the Paraguayan consulate of Breard's situation. Ultimately, the District Court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Question Presented[edit]

May Angel Francisco Breard, a Paraguayan citizen, and various Paraguayan diplomats receive a stay of execution and other relief, respectively, for the capital murder of Ruth Dickie under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations?

Decision[edit]

No. In a per curiam opinion, the Court denied the stay applications and all other relief. The majority of the Court concluded that, because he had procedurally defaulted it, Breard could not raise his Vienna Convention claim on federal habeas corpus review. Moreover, the Court reasoned that Breard could not have demonstrated that the alleged violation of the Vienna Convention had an effect on his state trial that ought to have resulted in the overturning of his conviction. Additionally, the Court found that the Vienna Convention did not clearly provide a foreign nation with a private right of action in U.S. courts. Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen G. Breyer, in separate dissents, argued that the Court ought to have granted the stay applications and considered the merits of the case to different degrees.

The case is also notable, as a precedent, because it is one of the most recent affirmations at the U.S. Supreme Court level of the continued validity of the long-standing U.S. constitutional law principle that a duly Senate ratified treaty may be overridden by a later domestic statute enacted by mere majorities in each house of Congress. Most countries do not permit treaties to be amended by domestic laws, and instead hold them to be superior to all legal enactments except the provisions of the national constitution in effect when the treaty was adopted.

Aftermath[edit]

Shortly after this decision, Angel Breard was executed by lethal injection administered by the Commonwealth of Virginia on 14 April 1998, aged 32. He was pronounced dead at 10.30 pm.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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