Massachusetts High Court Finds Vienna Convention on Consular Relations Self-Executing?

by Julian Ku

Actually, I am not quite sure, since all I have is this report on the recent decision of the Supreme Judicial Circuit of Massachusetts holding that the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations gives foreign nationals legal rights to the notification of their consular officials if they are arrested by Massachusetts authorities:

Massachusetts, Cordy wrote, will take steps now to bring the state into compliance: “In order to enable the full effect to be given to [the Vienna Convention], we conclude that the notifications it requires must be incorporated into the protocols of the state and local law enforcement agencies of Massachusetts.’’

Cordy said foreign nationals will have the right to seek a new trial if they were not made fully aware of their rights under the Vienna Convention.

Sounds pretty reasonable, except I haven’t actually looked at the opinion. Can anyone point me to a link?

4 Responses

  1. The opinion is available here (Westlaw account not required).

  2. Ben’s link didn’t work for me. This findlaw link should work.

  3. In order to see a version with footnotes, click on “opinions” on this page, and then click on the link for the Gautreaux case.

  4. Seen from London, I still can’t understand how the MA Court concluded that Avena doesn’t directly bind the MA Court given that was directly binding on the United States as a whole. If the US Government is so bound, why not the States?

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