A group of elected officials, civil rights leaders and legal professionals are calling for a new trial free of racial bias for Duane Buck, a Harris County, Texas, inmate, who is on death row.
More than 100 national and state leaders released a joint statement supporting Buck's recent appeal upon new research that says that Harris County, Texas, juries are twice as likely to sentence Blacks with the death penalty than they are with whites.
"The State of Texas cannot condone any form of racial discrimination in the courtroom," the statement said.
It continued, "The use of race in sentencing poisons the legal process and breeds cynicism in the judiciary. No execution should be carried out until the courts have a meaningful opportunity to address the evidence of fundamental injustice in Mr. Buck’s case."
Buck, 48, was convicted of murdering his former girlfriend and her friend in 1995. Buck’s lawyers argued that his sentence was unfair because of a question asked about race during his trial. In 2000, then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn said Buck's case needed to be reopened because of racially charged statements made during the sentencing phase.
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