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Tue Oct 4, 2016, 07:11 AM

Supreme court to address Duane Buck's 'racially tainted' death sentence

Source: The Guardian

Supreme court to address Duane Buck's 'racially tainted' death sentence

Justices will hear oral arguments for a new sentencing hearing
nearly 20 years after ‘expert’ witness testified being black
predicted future violence


Ed Pilkington in New York
Tuesday 4 October 2016 11.30 BST

Duane Buck attended in 1997 the sentencing hearing in Texas that would seal his fate. The jury was being asked to decide whether to have him executed for killing his former girlfriend, Debra Gardner, and her friend Kenneth Butler.

There was no disputing the conviction – Buck had carried out the brutal murders on 30 July 1995. Even so, he was still astonished by what he heard coming from the mouth of a so-called “expert” witness.

Water Quijano, a then psychologist who was frequently called to testify in Texas capital trials, was asked to give his professional opinion with regards to a key issue concerning whether Buck should live or die. Under Texas law, in order to put him on death row the prosecution had to convince the jury that the prisoner posed such a danger of future violence that life imprisonment would be too risky – executing him was the only safe option.

The prosecutor put a blunt question to Quijano: “You have determined that the race factor, black, increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons; is that correct?”

“Yes,” the expert witness replied.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/04/duane-buck-racial-discrimination-supreme-court

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