Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry yesterday commuted the death sentence of a convicted murderer from Mexico to life without parole, reports the Associated Press. Henry’s decision came after the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals voted 3-2 to give Osbaldo Torres, 29, an indefinite stay of execution and grant his request for a lower court hearing on the state’s failure to inform him of his right to contact the Mexican consulate after his arrest. At issue was whether the outcome of the case would have been different if he had made the contact.
Torres was one of 51 Mexicans on death row nationwide cited in a March 31 ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The court said the inmates’ rights were violated because they were not told they could receive help from their governments as guaranteed by the 1963 Vienna Convention.
“I have concluded that there is a possibility a significant miscarriage of justice occurred,” Judge Charles Chapel wrote in the majority Oklahoma court opinion.