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Monday, September 19, 2011
Once again, the most avid supporters of capital punishment in Texas should be pleased that a scheduled execution has been stopped, at least temporarily.
The U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution Thursday of Duane Buck, the kind of person who, if you believe in capital punishment, fits the description of who should receive this most final of penalties.
Buck was convicted of capital murder in the 1995 slaying of his ex-girlfriend and a man in her Harris County apartment. At this point, nobody is questioning his guilt. But there are serious and troubling questions about testimony that helped land him on death row. During the punishment phase of the 1997 trial, Buck's defense team put psychologist Walter Quijano on the witness stand to testify that he did not believe Buck would continue to be dangerous if not executed. That's a crucial factor in Texas death penalty cases because of state law that allows execution only if jurors believe defendants would pose a continuing threat of violence.