Buck gets stay of execution - no thanks to Gov Perry
Supreme Court suspends execution of murderer - and undermines Republican presidential frontrunner
DOUBLE murderer Duane Buck, who was sentenced to death on the basis of racist testimony, was granted a stay of execution yesterday - no thanks to the man who signed his death warrant, Texas governor Rick Perry.
Instead, the decision was taken by the US Supreme Court after an appeal by Buck's lawyers.
The decision is seen by some as undermining the authority of Perry, who is currently the frontrunner among the Republican candidates to run against Barack Obama in 2012 and is proud of his record of having sanctioned the execution of 235 Death Row prisoners in his decade as governor.
Buck, 48, murdered his former girlfriend and her 33-year-old male companion in 1995. It is not his guilt that is at issue, but the testimony upon which he was sentenced to death.
At Buck's trial, Dr Walter Quijano, a psychologist, was questioned by the prosecution about the likelihood that the convicted man would re-offend. "The race factor, black, increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons; is that correct?" Quijano was asked.
"Yes," he replied.
As Alexander Cockburn reported for The First Post yesterday, Quijano had given similarly controversial testimony in six other cases. Buck's was the only case not to have been sent back for resentencing.
Nevertheless, when asked yesterday to use his gubernatorial powers to stay Buck's execution for 30 days so that his case could be reviewed, Perry refused.
As Cockburn pointed out, "It doesn't help that Buck's case has come down to the wire ... right after Perry issued a fervent endorsement of the death penalty, earning him hearty cheers in the auditorium of the Reagan Library when he stressed that imposing it has never lost him a moment's sleep."
The Supreme Court's decision gives Buck's lawyers one last chance to appeal for a jail sentence instead of the death penalty. On hearing the court's verdict, Buck said: "Praise the Lord! God's mercy triumphs over judgment." ·
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