updated 5/23/2005 4:16:10 PM ET 2005-05-23T20:16:10

The Supreme Court on Monday turned aside an appeal by a Mexican citizen on death row in Texas, who contended he and 51 other Mexicans should have their death sentences overturned because they were improperly denied legal help from their consulates in violation of international law.

In an unsigned decision, justices dismissed the case of Jose Medellin, who argued he was entitled to a federal court hearing on whether his rights were violated when a Texas court tried and sentenced him to death in 1994 on rape and murder charges without consular access.

The court cited a last-minute maneuver by President Bush ordering state courts to revisit the issue, making Supreme Court intervention unnecessary at this time. It reserved the right to hear the appeal again once the case had run its full course in state court.

“In light of the possibility that the Texas courts will provide Medellin with the review he seeks,” the opinion stated, “we think it would be unwise to reach and resolve the multiple hindrances to dispositive answers to the questions here presented.”

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