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Breard v. Greene

    Brief Fact Summary. Basing his argument on the alleged violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, Breard (D) claimed that his conviction should be overturned.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. In a situation whereby a statute that is subsequent in time is inconsistent with a treaty, such a statute to the extent of conflict renders the treaty null.

    Facts. After Breard (D) was found guilty of murder, he was scheduled for execution but he filed for habeas relief in the federal court on the ground that the authorities who had detained him had failed to inform him that as a foreign national, he had the right to contact the Paraguayan consulate (P).

    Issue. When a statute that is subsequent in time is inconsistent with a treaty, does the statute render the treaty null?

    Held. (Per curiam). Yes. In a situation whereby a statute that is subsequent in time is inconsistent with a treaty, such a statute to the extent of conflict renders the treaty null. Because Congress had enacted the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act after the Vienna Convention, the argument which Breard (P) put forward that the Vienna Convention was violated must fail. The Executive branch has the authority over foreign relations and may utilize diplomatic channels to request a stay of execution. Petition denied.

    Discussion. The court also upheld that the Eleventh Amendment barred suits against states. A S 1983 suit was sought to be brought up by the Consul General of Paraguay (P) but the Court found out that Paraguay (P) was not authorized to do so.


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