Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Denies Clemency to Duane Buck; Steven Woods Scheduled for Execution Tonight

This afternoon, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended against clemency for Duane Buck. The following is a statement from Kate Black, attorney for  Mr. Buck:

“The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles’ recommendation against granting clemency to Duane Buck fails to recognize what the highest legal officer in the State of Texas had acknowledged: No one should be executed based on a process tainted by considerations of race. A trial prosecutor and the surviving victim have asked state officials to halt the execution. The decision as to whether Mr. Buck’s execution will go forward now lies squarely with Governor Perry, who has the power to issue a thirty-day reprieve, and District Attorney Lykos, who has the power to ask for a withdrawal of the execution date. We urge Governor Perry to grant a temporary reprieve to allow all parties involved to work together to ensure that Mr. Buck receives a new and fair sentencing hearing untainted by race-based testimony.”

— Kate Black, attorney, Texas Defender Service, September 13, 2011

On Monday,  Linda Geffin, a former Harris County Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted Duane Buck, joined the surviving victim in urging state officials to halt Mr. Buck’s execution on Thursday because “[n]o individual should be executed without being afforded a fair trial, untainted by considerations of race.”

Ms. Geffin’s letter can be found at: http://standdown.typepad.com/BUCK-Linda_Geffin_Ltr_to_BPP.pdf

An interview with surviving victim Phyllis Taylor can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/pAKStG

The clemency petition can be found at: http://scr.bi/rnZxax.

For more information or comment, please contact:

Kate Black, Texas Defender Service, attorney for Duane Buck, 713-222-7788,kateblack@texasdefender.org

Laura Burstein, 202-626-6868laura.burstein@ssd.com


Also, tonight the State of Texas is scheduled to execute Steven Woods for the 2001 murders of Ronald Whitehead and Bethena Brosz in Denton County.  According to an Urgent Action from Amnesty International, the co-defendant in the case, Marcus Rhodes, reached a plea agreement with the prosecution in which he pleaded guilty to having personally shot both the victims, was sentenced to life imprisonment, and transferred to California where he was facing charges for a murder committed before the Texas killings. Rhodes was sentenced to 25 years to life imprisonment for that murder. He is currently serving his life sentences in prison in Texas.

Read more about the case of Steven Woods in the Houston Chronicle.


3 thoughts on “Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Denies Clemency to Duane Buck; Steven Woods Scheduled for Execution Tonight

  1. What kind of justice is operating in the United States where such inhumanity is taking place before the public of Texas and the entire country. The state will execute Steven Woods when someone else has pleaeded guilty to the murders!!This is absolutely disgusting behaviour on the part of the authorities. We would never have believed such injustice could exist if we had not read it for ourselves.It is time Texas took a good hard look at the kind of backward system of justice it is running. Shame on all who are responsible for this shocking decision.

  2. Texas, for a large part unfortunately, still believes itself to be an entity not related to the rest of the United States. It is a very sad and weird attitude and thoughtless allegiance to an archaic and truly misguided ideal. And being so misguided it makes it more unfortunate that it is firmly based in Christian fundamentalism, taking all of its moral cues literally and directly from a book. Excusing itself from any deep moral contention by simply stating that there are no questions in that book… only the WORD which must be followed obediently without opposition. How could anyone expect any fair treatment whatsoever when people (humans, I’m assuming) in positions of power refuse to use the incredible gifts they should possess to think through reason and trust tolerance, mercy and compassion. Instead they rely on strict adherence to a text that has never contained any passage praising such blind faith–nor is there a disclaimer of “use at your own risk” though there certainly should be. There also seems to be a governor that leaves all tough decisions up to his creator instead of doing the homework we are all required to complete to move on past ‘mulling around the pasture.’ Sorry, but do not look for justice in Texas… and make sure you take an accounting of all the toothless and blind in that state the next time you visit. It isn’t everyone but it is enough to literally scare the hell out of ya’.

  3. You people are ridiculous. Buck was OBVIOUSLY guilty of the murders, and because some psychologist says one thing about the facts that black people tend to be repeat offenders, you say that that was cause to put a stay on that mans execution? What goes on in your minds when the man commits a murder, in front of children, explains that she “deserved it” and then gets away? How ridiculous this is!

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