A state’s vengeance

The death penalty is an extreme, irreparable and absolutely inadequate punishment for an insufficient justice system like the one in Texas. The case of Edgar Tamayo Arias is an example of everything that is wrong with carrying out capital punishment.

Tamayo is a Mexican citizen who was sentenced to death for the brutal murder of a police officer. When Tamayo was arrested, the Mexican consulate was not notified immediately to ensure that he would have an adequate defense. As a result, during the trial, the public defendant did not argue mitigating circumstances like the defendant’s suffering during childhood and the impact on his behavior of a serious brain injury he suffered at 17. It was also never mentioned that Tamayo has an IQ of 67 or that he had been diagnosed with mental retardation—a condition that would bar his execution, according to a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

However, for Texas, it is too late to argue mental retardation. There is no doubt that Governor Rick Perry wants to continue the record he has so far: 250 executions in 12 years.

Perry is not concerned about Tamayo’s execution endangering Americans overseas, like Secretary of State John Kerry said, making reference to violating consular treaties.

There are also no concerns about the constant failures of Texas’ court system, which sentences people to the death penalty or life in prison, only to free them 20 years later because of mistakes made during the trial. Texas is the third state in the country with the highest number of wrongful convictions, and the only one in this trio that has capital punishment.

The death penalty, on the other hand, is a barbaric punishment. It is about retribution, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, without any other value. It has been proven that as an exemplary punishment, it is not a deterrent to crime.

Tamayo’s execution is a state’s vengeance. In Texas, the death penalty is being applied without respecting international treaties, a defendant’s right to a competent defense and Supreme Court decisions that ban the execution of someone with mental retardation.

An execution in these terms is more like a legal murder than an act of justice.