Racial discrimination is unavoidable in considering the Texas death-penalty case of Duane Buck. In the campaign to reduce his punishment from execution to life in prison, [LDF] has been prominent and tenacious, because the discrimination in his case is blatant. Buck was convicted of murdering two women in 1996. He was sentenced to death in 1997. To sentence an offender to death under Texas law, a jury must unanimously conclude that the defendant is likely to commit future criminal acts of violence. In the Buck case, a psychologist named Walter Quijano provided evidence to that effect. Before trial, he claimed in a report that Buck was more likely to be dangerous because he is black. He wrote, “Race. Black. Increased probability.”
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