Racial bias has no place in the administration of justice – tell that to Harris County, Texas. Duane Buck, sentenced to death in Harris County in 1997, may soon be at risk of execution despite the fact that his death sentence is the clear product of racial discrimination.
A powerful newly released video exposes the outrageous discrimination in Mr. Buck’s case:
As the video shows, at Mr. Buck’s 1997 capital sentencing hearing in Harris County, the trial prosecutor elicited testimony from a psychologist that Mr. Buck posed a future danger because he is black. The prosecutor relied on this testimony in arguing in favor of a death sentence. The jury then found Mr. Buck would be a future danger and sentenced him to death.
Three years later, then-Texas Attorney General (now U.S. Senator) John Cornyn identified seven cases in which Texas improperly relied on testimony linking race to future dangerousness, including Mr. Buck’s. The Attorney General promised not to oppose new sentencing hearings for these seven defendants. Texas upheld this promise in all of the cases – except for Mr. Buck’s.
It is high time for Texas to keep its promise and ensure that Mr. Buck receives the fair, colorblind sentencing that all defendants are entitled to.
Mr. Buck’s shocking case has prompted outcry from the civil rights community, faith leaders, elected officials, and numerous other prominent individuals in Texas and across the country. Even one of Mr. Buck’s trial prosecutors and the surviving victim in the case support a new, fair sentencing hearing.
Tens of thousands of people from Texas and nationwide have also joined the chorus of support by signing an online petition urging the Harris County District Attorney’s Office not to seek an execution date for Mr. Buck. Sign the petition!
You can read more additional background information here.
A new sentencing hearing for Mr. Buck is critically important to the integrity of our entire justice system. We must not tolerate sending a man to his death based on the color of his skin.
Tell Texas to uphold the promise made by former Attorney General John Cornyn and grant Duane Buck a sentencing free of the stain of racial bias.
Editor’s Note: This post was provided to RLC by Duane Buck’s legal team