Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear arguments in Buck v. Stephens, a death penalty case raising extraordinary issues of racial bias. Duane Buck is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court’s ruling that his case did not warrant re-consideration, despite his claim that his lawyer was constitutionally ineffective for knowingly introducing “expert” testimony that Mr. Buck was more likely to be dangerous in the future because he is black. Buck seeks a new, fair sentencing hearing.
Here is a statement from Duane Buck’s attorneys:
“Trial counsel’s knowing reliance on false, inflammatory and deeply prejudicial evidence explicitly linking Mr. Buck’s race to his likelihood of future dangerousness is plainly extraordinary.
“Mr. Buck was sentenced to death after his own attorneys introduced an ‘expert’ who told the jury that Mr. Buck was more likely to be dangerous in the future because he is Black. The Fifth Circuit’s holding that Mr. Buck’s case was not sufficiently extraordinary to warrant review deepened skepticism of the integrity of the judicial system. The Supreme Court’s decision to accept Mr. Buck’s appeal is an important step toward restoring public confidence in the integrity of the courts.”
“We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will correct this egregious error, and that Texas will acknowledge Mr. Buck’s right to a new sentencing hearing free of racial bias. Justice can only be served in this extraordinary case of racial bias by a new sentencing hearing free of inflammatory, inaccurate stereotypes.”
– Christina Swarns, Litigation Director for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.; Kathryn Kase, Executive Director of Texas Defender Service; Kate Black, Staff Attorney, Texas Defender Service.