Lawyers for Duane Edward Buck are urging Texas Gov. Rick Perry to step in and stay their client's execution, scheduled for tomorrow, citing racially biased testimony presented at his sentencing hearing. Texas law requires juries to decide if a defendant poses a “future danger” when deciding whether to give the death penalty, the LA Times explains. Prosecutors brought up “the race factor,” asking defense psychologist Walter Quijano if being black made Buck more likely to be dangerous. Quijano said it did, and prosecutors cited that in their closing arguments.
Quijano gave similar testimony in six other cases, and in each case the defendants were given new sentencing hearings. Buck, whose guilt is not being questioned, shot two people while on drugs in 1995, but had no prior history of violence—a fact Quijano noted meant he was unlikely to pose a future danger. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted against recommending clemency yesterday, despite calls to do so from one of the people he shot and one of the case’s prosecutors, the Texas Tribune reports. (Click for more on Perry's track record with executions.)