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Shanquella Robinson, who died in Cabo, Mexico

Source: Twitter

A letter sent to the president this week lays out the clear options the U.S. government has to exercise “diplomatic intervention” and work with officials in Mexico to help bring to justice the person or persons responsible for the mysterious death of a young Black woman on vacation across the border last year.

Citing the “swift concurrent response from Mexican and U.S. law enforcement agencies ” following the recent kidnappings and killings of U.S. citizens in Mexico, attorneys representing the family of Shanquella Robinson sent the letter to President Joe Biden and U.S. Department of State Secretary Anthony Blinken demanding the federal government act similarly in this case.

The letter signed by civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Sue-Ann Robinson also explicitly name-dropped Daejhanae Jackson, one of Robinson’s “friends” on vacation with her during the time of death who has been widely identified via unverified social media reports but not by law enforcement as the prime suspect. Jackson, the letter said, was among three “travel mates” who returned Robinson’s luggage to her mother, who was told her daughter’s death was caused by alcohol poisoning.

A Mexican death certificate later refuted that claim.

The culprit(s) can be charged with anything ranging from manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter to murder, the letter said.

“Federal charges that could be brought against co-conspirators to a homicide include conspiracy to commit murder, aiding and abetting, accessory after the fact and obstruction of justice,” the letter added while going on to remind Biden and Blinken of “the extradition protocol” the U.S. has in place with Mexico.

“Alternatively, U.S. federal law enforcement agencies can request concurrent jurisdiction with Mexican law enforcement agencies which would permit U.S. prosecutors to bring the case in the United States as the involved parties are U.S. Citizens,” the letter continued. “We have just witnessed what a swift concurrent response from Mexican and U.S. law enforcement agencies looks like in the kidnapping case of a group of U.S. Citizens at Matamoros, Tamaulipas Mexico. Both scenarios we are requesting on behalf of Shanquella Robinson’s family require a high level of swift diplomatic intervention.”

Read the full letter to Biden and Blinken by clicking here.

How has the U.S. government responded?

Sue-Ann Robinson previously described the U.S. response to Shanquella’s death as “disrespect.”

She said she traveled to Mexico on a fact-finding mission and learned the Mexican government is standing by to assist the U.S. government to serve justice for the death of Shanquella. When she went to the U.S. consulate in Mexico, she said she didn’t get the same kind of “warm greeting” that Mexican officials gave her while assuring the case remained “a top priority.”

Crump claimed last week that Shanquella’s suspected killer “is currently free in the United States of America” and said the U.S. government had two options to proceed: 1) the suspect should be extradited to Mexico to face the charges and the crimes that have been alleged; or 2) take jurisdiction, as he said Mexico has offered so the U.S. can bring a case against the suspect.

It took weeks for the FBI to acknowledge Shanquella’s death.

What happened to Shanquella Robinson?

It’s been more than four and a half months since Robinson’s death was reported on Oct. 29.

Robinson was with several “friends” when she died in her villa at the upscale Fundadores Beach Club in Cabo, Mexico. A death certificate revealed that Robinson died following a “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation,” an instability of neck vertebrae. Around the same time, a video of Robinson being viciously beaten by one of her “friends” also surfaced. At least two people filmed the violence and one male voice can be heard urging “Quella” to “fight back.”

Excerpts from a police report obtained by The Charlotte Observer claim a doctor from a local hospital was with Robinson and other people staying at the villa for nearly three hours before she was pronounced dead. 

Authorities have since ruled Shanquella’s death as femicide.

The state attorney general’s office of Baja California Sur in Mexico issued an arrest warrant for an unnamed woman who was “likely responsible” for Robinson’s death. Social media users closely linked to Robinson’s “friend” group have alleged that the suspect seen in the graphic attack video is Jackson, but her name is not mentioned in the arrest warrant.

“This case is fully clarified, we even have a court order, there is an arrest warrant issued for the crime of femicide to the detriment of the victim and against an alleged perpetrator, a friend of her who is the direct aggressor,” Mexican prosecutor Daniel de la Rosa Anaya reportedly said. “Actually it wasn’t a quarrel, but instead a direct aggression. We are carrying out all the pertinent procedures such as the Interpol alert and the request for extradition to the United States of America. It’s about two Americans, the victim, and the culprit.”

The U.S. and Mexico’s extradition treaty provides for the return of those who have committed crimes and fled across the United States/Mexico border. Typically, in order for extradition to be carried out, the suspect must be located and arrested first. Mexican officials have not confirmed any arrests as of yet.

What can actually happen legally?

Joey Jackson, an attorney and legal analyst for CNN, said there are two ways the arrest warrant can play out. One option is to have the “friend” extradited as requested by Mexico. “You could see Mexico engage in the prosecution,” Jackson told CNN.

The other choice is for the U.S. government to become involved and try the case in the U.S.

“In the event you go overseas and an American citizen is ultimately killed by another American citizen, there’s a statute that could provide for the prosecution to take place in this country,” Jackson added.

Of course, Jackson said that more than three months ago, so it remains unclear whether the arrest warrant would be honored in the U.S.

There is a legal precedent for extradition

An international treaty with provisions for extraditions to and from Mexico has been in place for 45 years. The Extradition Treaty Between the United States of America and the United Mexican States dates back to 1978 and was ratified in 1998 by President Bill Clinton, who said it was meant to “enhance cooperation between the law enforcement communities of both countries.”

About three years later, two U.S. citizens were ordered extradited to Mexico for the killings of two other U.S. citizens. Both suspects were arrested in the U.S. and then extradited to Mexico.

Notably, the announcement of the extraditions by the Southern District of California’s U.S. Attorney said: “The proceedings were held pursuant to the Extradition Treaty between the United States and Mexico, which obligates each nation to extradite offenders wanted in the other country.”

The treaty doesn’t always apply

There is at least one case in recent history when the treaty with Mexico was not honored by the U.S. At least, not yet.

Following the 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, the Mexican government moved to extradite the gunman for killing eight Mexican nationals during the shooting. Mexico’s foreign minister claimed the shooting was a “terrorist” act.

While Patrick Crucius just last month pleaded guilty to 90 federal charges from the mass shooting, the Washington Post reported at the time that it was doubtful he would be extradited to Mexico and be charged under that legal system.


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Understanding The Epidemic Of Femicide: What It Is And How To Stop It

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