Today’s Houston Chronicle features an editorial calling for a halt to the execution of Duane Buck, who has a September 15 execution date (“Halt execution where race tainted judgment,” September 8, 2011). Here’s an excerpt:
Buck’s guilt in the shooting deaths of his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend is not in doubt. In Texas, however, homicides resulting from crimes of passion often result in life or lengthy sentences rather than the death penalty. A key issue in such death sentence cases is the likelihood of the defendant committing future violent acts, and it is on that point that Buck’s sentence is irrevocably flawed.
Buck was one of six Lone Star capital murder defendants sent to death row using testimony from former Texas jail system chief psychologist Walter Quijano that blacks and Hispanics were more likely to become repeat offenders. In Buck’s case, Quijano had initially testified that he would likely not pose a future danger to society. But under aggressive cross-examination by the prosecutor, he agreed that being African-American enhanced the possibility of future violence.
The editors note that “Capital punishment is not the issue here. The problem is the lethal injection of race into the sentencing process.”
Read the full editorial.
Sign a petition in support of clemency for Duane Buck.
More coverage of the case and yesterday’s press conference with attorneys can be found at www.standdown.org.