Another Blow for Death Row Inmate
U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Duane Buck case
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to consider whether race improperly affected the sentencing hearing of death row inmate Duane Buck, who was scheduled to die in September for a 1995 double murder in Houston. Questioned by a prosecutor about whether being black meant that Buck would present a greater danger to the public unless executed, psychologist Walter Quijano replied that it would; at issue is whether that testimony from Quijano biased the jury against Buck, tainting the outcome of his sentencing trial. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Buck's bid for clemency, but the Supremes halted Buck's execution in order to consider whether they would hear the case. On Nov. 7, the court issued an order denying Buck's petition for review. Buck's attorneys are now hoping the state court will intervene and order a new sentencing hearing. "It is now up to the State of Texas to ensure that Mr. Buck receives a sentencing hearing that is not impacted by the color of his skin," said Kate Black, Buck's attorney from the Texas Defender Service.