Vienna Convention Violation Claim In Illinois

In United States v. Schomig, 223 F. Supp. 2d 968 (N.D. Ill. 2002), the United States District Court for the Northern District for Illinois considered a writ of habeas corpus filed by Madej. The district court provided that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has made it clear that procedural default rules that prevent courts from considering the effect of Vienna Convention violations on a defendant's trial violate the terms of the Vienna Convention and that the ICJ's interpretations of the Vienna Convention are binding as a matter of federal law. See Schomig, 223 F. Supp. 2d at 978-79, citing LaGrand Case (Germany v. United States), 2001 I.C.J. 104 at P91 (June 27). However, while the district court disagreed with the Illinois Supreme Court and granted judgment on Madej's Vienna Convention claim, it still denied relief. Schomig, 223 F. Supp. 2d at 980. The district court found that the issue was moot because the defendant had been granted relief from his death sentence on the ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Schomig, 223 F. Supp. 2d at 980. In discussing this issue the district court noted: "If the Court did not deem the issue moot, the inquiry would not necessarily end with granting Petitioner relief. Since there is no clear Supreme Court precedent about remedies for Vienna Convention violations, it is unlikely that this, or any other Court could premise relief on this basis." Schomig, 223 F. Supp. 2d at 980 n.13. Most courts that have reviewed Vienna Convention violations have emphasized the importance of advising foreign detainees of their rights under the Vienna Convention. See Breard v. Pruett, 134 F.3d 615, 622 (4th Cir. 1998) (Butzner, J., concurring) (noting that the freedom and safety of the United States citizens who are scattered about the world are seriously endangered if state officials fail to honor the Vienna Convention and other nations follow their example).