Justices Curb Foreign Nationals’ Rights In Consulation Lapses


Foreign nationals arrested in the U.S. have a right to consult with diplomatic personnel from their home countries, but failure to allow such consultation does not warrant the exclusion of any incriminating statements from their trial, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday, the Christian Science Monitor reports. In a 6-to-3 ruling, the court said that an international treaty calling for consulate access to arrestees does not authorize the broad use of the so-called exclusionary rule.

Instead, alleged violations of an international treaty must be dealt with via remedies available under state and federal laws, the court said. “Under our domestic law, the exclusionary rule is not a remedy we apply lightly,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts for the majority. The ruling came in two cases involving a Mexican national and a Honduran national. Both were convicted of serious crimes in the U.S., but never were told that they had a right to meet with consular officials after their arrest. In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer said suppression of evidence might be the best remedy in such cases.

Link: http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0629/p25s01-usju.html

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