Did Racism Land Black Texan On Death Row?
At issue is the fact that a psychologist at Buck’s 1997 capital murder trial, Dr. Walter Quijano, said “yes” when asked whether Buck is more likely to be dangerous because he is black.
Christana Swarns, director of the criminal justice project for the NAACP legal defense fund, said that Buck did not have any prior convictions. “It’s a stunning and outrageous case,” she said, “where you have someone condemned to die because he is African American.”
Swarns said that Buck’s life was saved by the U.S. Supreme Court before his scheduled September 2011 execution. Two U.S. Supreme Court justices agreed that Buck’s death sentence requires review.
Former Texas Gov. Mark White narrated a new documentary on the case called “A Broken Promise in Texas: Race, the Death Penalty and the Duane Black Case.” He said that he hopes the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will give Buck a new opportunity for a re-sentencing hearing.
Sarah Kinney with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office said that the psychologist in question was involved in seven cases. Five of the defendants have had punishment retrials and are now all serving life sentences in prison. However, she said, Buck’s case is different because Dr. Quijano was called to testify by the defense.