Former TX Governor Asks DA to Reconsider Death Row Case

Photo of the Harris County District Attorney's office via Wikimedia Commons
Former Texas governor Mark White has joined supporters of a Houston man on death row who contend the inmate's sentence was racially biased. He's calling on District Attorney Mike Anderson to allow a new fair sentencing hearing for the prisoner.

Duane Buck doesn't dispute his capital murder conviction for killing his ex-girlfriend and a man at her apartment here in Houston in 1995. But former Texas Democratic Governor Mark White says his death sentence was unfairly based on race.

"In the sentencing proceedings, there was racial suggestions made that he would be more likely to offend just because he was black."

White says Buck is entitled to a new hearing for sentencing purposes.

Kathryn Kase is one of Buck's lawyers. She says Buck's supporters simply want a fair sentencing hearing that is free from racial bias.

"We never say, 'Oh you're African-American so you should be put to death.' Yet in this case, an expert witness gave testimony that African-Americans, which Mr. Buck is, are more likely to be dangerous in the future. That can't stand in our system of justice."

She says psychologist Walter Quijano had tainted the judicial process of her client and six other defendants in whose trials he had testified.

"Attorney General Cornyn, now Senator Cornyn, promised that everyone who had this sort of racial testimony in their trial, would get a new trial. And that promise was kept for every other defendant, but Duane Buck."

In 2011 the Supreme Court stayed Buck's scheduled execution, but later declined to hear arguments in the case. It's now up to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to consider the case and issue a ruling.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...