Texas Gov. Rick Perry is facing calls to delay the execution date of Duane Edward Buck, a man consigned to death row after a psychologist testified at his trial that he was more likely to commit further crimes because he was black.
During Buck's 1997 capital murder trial for the 1995 shooting deaths of Debra Gardner and Kenneth Butler, Dr. Walter Quijano told the jury that Buck, a black man, was predisposed to violent crime because of his race. Six other death row cases in which Quijano gave similar testimony resulted in new trials after then-Attorney General John Cornyn said Quijano's testimony was discredited and should not have been allowed.
Texas Pardon Board Did Not Commute, or Override
On Tuesday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended that Perry not commute or delay Buck's sentence, overriding the urging of Buck's defense lawyers, a prosecutor who was on the team that sentenced him and one of Buck's victims who survived after being shot in the chest. Perry cannot grant clemency without the board's approval, but he does have the power to grant Buck a 30-day reprieve. A Perry spokeswoman told the Texas Tribune that Perry's office had not yet received a formal request from Buck's defense lawyers urging the governor to consider a reprieve.
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, said Kate Black, one of Buck's defense lawyers.
During cross-examination at Buck's trial, a prosecutor asked Quijano whether the race factor, black, increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons; is that correct? Quijano replied simply, Yes.
Perry was asked at a recent Republican presidential debate whether he had any qualms about authorizing 234 executions in the past decade, more than any other governor in history. After loud applause from the audience subsided, Perry defended the executions as the ultimate justice.
I've never struggled with that at all, Perry said. The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place. When someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens, they get a fair hearing, they go through an appellate process, they go up to the Supreme Court of the United States if that's required.