UPDATED: Stay of Execution AND CLEMENCY Granted For Torres

by TChris

As Talkleft noted a few days ago, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended clemency for Osbaldo Torres, whose pending execution violates the Vienna Convention according to the Mexican government and the International Court of Justice. Clemency would provide assurance that Torres won't be killed, but Torres' life might be spared even if the Governor rejects his clemency request.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals stayed Torres' execution indefinitely while it considers whether the death sentence violates international law because Torres wasn't given access to the Mexican consulate after his arrest. The court ordered an evidentiary hearing on that issue within 60 days.

The Governor is likely to let the court system do its thing before he acts on Torres' clemency request. If the court invalidates the death sentence, the clemency request becomes moot and the Governor doesn't risk taking political heat by granting or denying the request. He has no incentive to decide a question that the courts might decide for him.

UPDATE: Wrong again. Rather than waiting, Governor Brad Henry had the courage to commute Torres' sentence to life imprisonment.

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