Texas Gov. Rick Perry will not preside over the controversial execution of a Black man sentenced to death after jurors were told that he is more likely to pose future danger to society because of his race.
Duane Buck, an African-American man, was convicted of killing his former girlfriend and her friend in 1995. He was sentenced to death in connection with the crimes, but his attorney says that Buck deserves a fresh sentencing hearing due to racist testimony that may have swayed the jurors’ opinions. In Buck’s case, the testimony of a psychologist was allowed to remain even after he suggested that a killer's race may help predict whether he will commit future acts of violence.
Wednesday, however, Buck’s options narrowed as an appeals court rejected his petition to stay his execution, adding disappointment to previous news from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles stating that they would not recommend a reduction of his sentence to Perry. Buck is scheduled to be excecuted Thursday night at 6 p.m. central time.
With 234 prisoners put to death under his tenure, Perry has authorized more executions that any other governor in U.S. history. When asked about his execution record Perry said, according to ABC News:
“I’ve never struggled with that at all. The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place,” he said.
“In the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you’re involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas, and that is you will be executed.”
However, Texas’ system of ultimate justice is not without its flaws. In 2000, Former Texas Attorney General John Cornyn recommended the review of six capital trials, including Buck’s, that were possibly tainted by racist testimony.
(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)