Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: To avoid arrest
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: January 16, 1983
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1945
Victim profile: John R. Pasco, 27 (Dallas police officer)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Dallas County, Texas, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Texas on March 25, 1993


Ramon Montoya shot and killed a Dallas police officer on Jan. 16, 1983. Officer John R. Pasco noticed Montoya carrying a weapon down the street. When Pasco attempted to take the gun away, Montoya shot him in the head. Pasco died about six hours later at a hospital.

Montoya, a 38-year-old Mexican citizen, was arrested about 45 minutes after the shooting just blocks down the street. Montoya, who was unemployed when he committed the crime, had prior convictions for weapons possesion and burglary.

After being convicted, Montoya was scheduled to be executed on Jan. 26, 1993. Instead, he received a reprieve just seven hours before his proposed execution.

On March 25, 1993, however, Montoya was finally executed. "I just got away with one date last month and now I have another one," Montoya said.

In his final words, Montoya told his father, Paz Montoya, "May God help us." In return, the elder Montoya said, "May God help you, too." With that, the inmate simply said, "I'm ready."

A prison official confirmed that Montoya died at 12:18 a.m. Because Montoya was not an American citizen, much controversy surrounded the case. Texas Gov. Ann Richards rejected pleas from Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari and the Vatican.

"Mexico considers that the death penalty is an excessive punishment that cannot be justified from the punitive point of view nor the prevention of crime," Salinas said. The maximum sentence possible in Mexico is life in prison.

Montoya was the first Mexican executed in more than a half-century.

"The day a Mexican is executed, it will impact our society enormously," Andres Rozental, senior Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs, said in an interview a year before the execution. "Given NAFTA, given the closeness of the relationship at this point, it would be very difficult to convince Mexicans why this would be done."

Montoya's execution brought about riots not only outside the prison walls, but also in Mexico. Several American inmates in Mexico had to be taken to a safe place for fear they would be murdered by Mexican inmates.

Ken Carden, one of the deputy district attorneys who prosecuted Montoya, described him as "one of the most dangerous individuals I have ever met. I believe there are some people who are wolves masquerading in human clothing."

As far as the people Montoya affected with the slaying, one would rather forget the incident than continue to feel the hate. Kay Pasco, mother of the victim, spoke out about Montoya's execution. "At first, I couldn't wait for Montoya to receive the death penalty," she said. "I probably hated every inch of his body. But then over the years, I have no feeling at all for the man. After a while, he's just a name."


Texas Executes a Mexican Killer, Raising a Furor Across the Border

The New York Times

March 26, 1993

A Mexican convicted of killing a Dallas police officer 10 years ago was executed by lethal injection early this morning, drawing a rebuke from the Government of Mexico.

Ramon Montoya, 38, became the first Mexican executed in Texas in 51 years. Two days earlier the state executed a native of the Dominican Republic, Carlos Santana, despite protests from his native country.

Today's execution was front-page news across Mexico, where human rights groups questioned the fairness of the trial and accused the American justice system of racism. In San Luis Potosi, Mr. Montoya's home state in central Mexico, officials said 21 American prisoners had been transferred to a safe place for two weeks because they had reported threats from Mexican inmates over the execution. Execution Toll Reaches 197

Mr. Montoya's case drew pleas of mercy from Mexico and the Vatican. He came within seven hours of being executed on Jan. 27, but Justice Antonin Scalia issued a reprieve to allow the full Supreme Court to decide whether to hear an appeal. On Wednesday the Court rejected an appeal, which contended that Mr. Montoya's confession had been improperly obtained.

Mr. Montoya, who was one of nine Mexicans on death row in Texas, was the 56th person executed in the state and the 197th nationwide since 1976, when the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment.

He was convicted of fatally shooting Officer John Pasco, 27, on Jan. 16, 1983. Officer Pasco was shot as he tried to disarm Mr. Montoya, who said the gun went off when he fell while trying to discard it and avoid arrest.

Police records indicated that Mr. Montoya was trying to avoid his 12th arrest in eight years and the possibility of deportation to Mexico.

His last words were to his father, Paz Montoya. "May God help us," he said. "I'm ready."

"May God help you, too," his father replied, then watched impassively as the execution was carried out. Mr. Montoya died seven minutes after a lethal mix of drugs was injected, prison officials said.

Outside the prison, more than two dozen protesters held candles and chanted in Spanish, "Justice!" and "Life, not death!"

Within minutes of Mr. Montoya's death Mexico's Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it "profoundly laments" the execution "and reiterates its opposition to the application of capital punishment as cruel and inhumane."


988 F.2d 11

Ramon MONTOYA, Petitioner-Appellant,
James COLLINS, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice,
Institutional Division, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 93-1261.

United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit.

March 24, 1993.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Before POLITZ, Chief Judge, JOLLY, and JONES, Circuit Judges.


Petitioner-Appellant Ramon Montoya, scheduled to be executed after midnight tonight, Wednesday, March 24, 1993, has applied to this court for a certificate of probable cause to appeal. Concurrently, he seeks leave to appeal in forma pauperis and a stay of execution. This is his second appearance in our court, his earlier habeas appeal having been considered and denied in Montoya v. Collins, 955 F.2d 279 (5th Cir.1992), reh'g denied, 959 F.2d 969, cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 113 S.Ct. 820, 121 L.Ed.2d 692 (1992). We deny CPC and a stay.

This court lacks jurisdiction to hear an appeal in this case unless a certificate of probable cause is granted. Fed.R.App.P. 22(b). To obtain a certificate of probable cause, Montoya must "make a substantial showing of the denial of a federal right." Barefoot v. Estelle, 463 U.S. 880, 893, 103 S.Ct. 3383, 3394, 77 L.Ed.2d 1090 (1983). To sustain this burden, Montoya "must demonstrate that the issues are debatable among jurists of reason; that a court could resolve the issues [in a different manner]; or that the questions are adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further." Barefoot, 463 U.S. at 893 n. 4, 103 S.Ct. at 3394 n. 4.

The procedural background of this case is related in the Fifth Circuit's above-cited previous opinion. After the decision in that appeal, Montoya was scheduled for execution before sunrise on January 27, 1993, and, having unsuccessfully proceeded for a second time through the state courts on a habeas petition, was granted a stay by the Supreme Court on January 26, pending disposition of his petition of certiorari. On February 22, 1993, the Supreme Court denied certiorari review and, on February 23, the trial court rescheduled Montoya's execution for March 25, 1993.

In this, his second federal habeas petition, Montoya raises a variant of the issue that the state and federal courts have previously rejected: that his Sixth Amendment rights were violated because "the state knowingly questioned the petitioner after he was represented by counsel in the absence of his counsel." In our previous opinion, we described his challenge as follows:

Montoya argues first that his interrogation by the Dallas Police Department violated his right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment and the prophylactic rule of Michigan v. Jackson, 475 U.S. 625, 106 S.Ct. 1404, 89 L.Ed.2d 631 (1986).

Montoya, 955 F.2d at 282. Montoya's petition, filed in federal district court on March 23, 1993, as much as admits duplication, as it states:

The petitioner recognizes that the Federal Courts frown upon successor petitions filed in state habeas corpus proceedings. However, the issue presented here was raised in an earlier petition and the decision at that time was based upon the petitioner's failure to affirmatively assert his right to counsel at the magistrate's hearing. This Court [sic], nor did any other court, reach the issue that the questioning of a defendant after he was represented by counsel once the Sixth Amendment rights had attached was a violation of his constitutional rights. This petition now gives this Court a second chance to enter the proper finding. Simply put, after the attachment of sixth amendment rights, a person represented by counsel cannot be interrogated without informing counsel.

There is no question that this filing of a federal petition for habeas relief constitutes an abuse of the writ or a successive petition under Rule 9(b), Rules Governing 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts. Unless a petitioner shows cause and prejudice, a federal court may not reach the merits of successive claims, which raise grounds identical to grounds heard and decided on the merits in a previous petition, Kuhlmann v. Wilson, 477 U.S. 436, 106 S.Ct. 2616, 91 L.Ed.2d 364 (1986), or new claims, not raised in an earlier federal petition. McCleskey v. Zant, 499 U.S. ----, 111 S.Ct. 1454, 113 L.Ed.2d 517 (1991). However, "even if a state prisoner cannot meet the cause and prejudice standard a federal court may hear the merits of the successive claims if the failure to hear the claims would constitute a 'miscarriage of justice.' " Sawyer v. Whitley, --- U.S. ----, ----, 112 S.Ct. 2514, 2518, 120 L.Ed.2d 269 (1992).

The question whether there has been a miscarriage of justice "is concerned with actual as compared with legal innocence." Sawyer, --- U.S. at ----, 112 S.Ct. at 2519. To fall within the actual innocence exception, a habeas petitioner must show either that the trier of facts would have entertained a reasonable doubt of his guilt, Kuhlmann v. Wilson, 477 U.S. 436, at 454 n. 17, 106 S.Ct. 2616, at 2627 n. 17, or where the alleged error pertains to the sentencing phase of the capital trial, that no reasonable juror would have found the petitioner eligible for a death penalty under applicable state law. Sawyer v. Whitley, --- U.S. at ----, 112 S.Ct. at 2517.

Montoya did not even allege in this second petition that he could establish cause and prejudice for failing to raise his newly-fashioned version of his Sixth Amendment claim in his previous petition. He has not even alleged, much less demonstrated, that a "miscarriage of justice" regarding actual innocence or "actual innocence of the death penalty" could be established in his case. This petition must accordingly be viewed as an abuse of the writ or an impermissible successive petition and may not be considered on its merits.

Further, because Montoya could have raised this issue at a much earlier date in his criminal proceedings, and because he has delayed raising it until 48 hours before the scheduled execution time, it is arguable that even if the McCleskey test were satisfied, equity would prevent the granting of habeas relief. Gomez v. United States District Court for the Northern District of California, --- U.S. ----, ----, 112 S.Ct. 1652, 1653, 118 L.Ed.2d 293 (1992).

For these reasons, Montoya has raised no issue on which we may grant habeas corpus relief, hence, he has raised no issue capable of debate among reasonable jurists.

The motion to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED; motion for certificate of probable cause is accordingly DENIED; motion for stay of execution is DENIED.



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