Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lest You Thought They'd Care - Duane Buck Part II

Let's recap from early this morning.
Seven people in Texas were sent to death row in part because psychologist Walter Quijano told their juries that as blacks or Hispanics they were more likely to commit future violent crimes than if they had been white.
Quijano shouldn't have done that.  What he said is factually wrong; there is no basis for the conclusion that blacks and Hispanics are more violent than whites.    What he said is morally offensive; it is racism in action, regardless of whether Quijano thinks so.  What he said, in the context of a trial, is legally improper; considerations of race have no place in the criminal justice system.  What he said, in the context of a trial, is unconstitutional; it made the sentences, at least in part, dependent on race in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Then Texas Attorney General John Cornyn (he's now a U.S. Senator) recognized that what Quijano did was inexcusable and its effect on the sentences unacceptable.  He supported vacating those sentences.  Of the seven people whose death sentences were infected by Quijano's claims, six had their death sentences vacated and received new sentencing hearings.  The seventh is Duane Buck.  He's due to be executed Thursday.  In part because of Quijano.
One of the prosecutors who tried Buck's case and put him on death row, Linda Geffin, wrote a letter asking the Parole Board to grant him relief.  The surviving victim of the attacks that put him on the row, Phyllis Taylor, wants him to get clemency (That's not a recap, I didn't mention it in the last post.  But I'm putting her YouTube interview at the bottom of this post.)
The way it works in Texas, the Governor can grant clemency only if his hand picked parole board recommends it.
This afternoon, the Parole Board said no.  Making it easy for hoping-to-be-President Perry never to have to say what he would have done.  (As if there's any doubt about what the guy who never lost sleep wondering if any of the 234 men and women he sent to death row might have been innocent would have done.)
In response, Kate Black of the Texas Defender Service, who represents Buck, released this statement.
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.
The words "fat chance" spring to mind.  I hope I'm being too coldly cynical.
I don't think I am.
They plan to murder Duane Buck on Thursday.

No comments:

Post a Comment