clemency Duane Buck execution Governor Rick Perry Harris County racial bias Texas Attorney General Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles

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:

An interview with surviving victim Phyllis Taylor can be viewed at:

The clemency petition can be found at:

For more information or comment, please contact:

Kate Black, Texas Defender Service, attorney for Duane Buck, 713-222-7788,

Laura Burstein,


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.


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