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About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Attorney General Hardy Myers announced today that the United States Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of Moises Sanchez-Llamas, a Mexican national, for attempting to kill a police officer in a 1999 shootout in Jackson County.
In today's opinion, the court interpreted the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, a multi-lateral treaty ratified by the United States in 1969. The court rejected Sanchez-Llamas' claim that his incriminating statements should have been excluded from evidence because police failed to inform him that he had a right under the treaty to require the officers to inform the Mexican Consulate of the fact of his arrest.
The opinion holds that suspects are not automatically entitled to a court order excluding from evidence incriminating statements simply because officers fail to inform them of their rights under the treaty.
"This victory is significant because it upholds a hard-won conviction," Myers said. "However, the decision does not lessen the importance of improving state and local law enforcement compliance with the treaty." Myers pledged to continue efforts to work with foreign governments and with state and local law enforcement to improve compliance.
The court did not change any aspect of criminal law, including the well-established requirement that police give Miranda warnings to suspects. Before the case reached the United States Supreme Court, Oregon courts had concluded that Sanchez-Llamas received proper Miranda warnings and that he voluntarily made incriminating statements. The Supreme Court did not review those issues.
Since 1997, Oregon has won all four cases argued by Myers' office in the United States Supreme Court.
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