This Week, Another Racist Execution Is Set to Take Place in TX Under Rick Perry
It's possible that there will soon be an addition to the growing list of questionable executions that have taken place in Texas on Rick Perry's watch:
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles today voted against recommending clemency for Duane Edward Buck, rejecting the pleas of his lawyers, a victim he shot and a prosecutor who was on the team that sentenced him to death.
During Buck's 1997 capital murder trial in Houston, Dr. Walter Quijano told jurors that the fact he was black meant Buck was more likely to be violent in the future.
The same psychologist gave similar testimony in six other death row cases. In each, the defendants were given new trials to determine their sentences after then-Attorney General John Cornyn admitted the state erred by allowing the testimony about race.
Buck, though, has not received a retrial and is scheduled to die Thursday for the 1995 shooting deaths of Debra Gardner and Kenneth Butler.
Now, Buck's attorney is urging Gov. Perry to take action:
Buck's attorney, Kate Black, said she was disappointed with the board's decision, and she urged Perry and Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos to take action. Perry cannot grant clemency without a recommendation from the parole board. He only has authority to issue a one-time, 30-day reprieve. Lykos could withdraw the execution date for Buck.
"We urge Gov. 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,” Black said.
Just last week, audience members at a GOP debate burst into applause at the mention of the record 234 executions that have taken place in Texas during Perry's governorship. Perry says he was "taken aback" by the audience's response. However, it's clear that in at least several cases he's allowed prisoners to be put to death when their guilt was in question.
For more information on the Buck case, I suggest this recent article in The Atlantic.