On October 5, Christina Swarns, LDF’s Director of Litigation, will present oral argument before the Supreme Court in Buck v. Davis, a case that raises extraordinary issues of racial bias in capital punishment sentencing. In 1997, a Texas jury sentenced Duane Buck to death rather than life in prison after a psychologist, introduced by Mr. Buck’s own trial attorneys, testified he would be more dangerous in the future because he is Black. Under Texas law, a death sentence can only be imposed if the prosecutor can prove “future dangerousness” to the jury. LDF is asking the Supreme Court to reverse the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which refused to review Mr. Buck’s case, in which he argued that his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for knowingly introducing testimony that lead to his death sentence. He deserves a new, fair sentencing hearing free from racial bias.
Christina joins a short list of distinguished African-American women who have argued before the Supreme Court, including former LDF President and Director-Counsel Elaine Jones and former LDF attorney Constance Baker Motley. Read more about her and Duane Buck’s case here.