Target: Mike Anderson, District Attorney of Harris County, Texas
Goal: Demand a new hearing in order to give Duane Buck a fair sentence
Duane Buck was convicted for the murders of two people in 1997. He admitted to committing these crimes; his guilt is not in question. However, when the prosecutor cross-examined psychologist Dr. Walter Quijano to testify to Buck’s “future dangerousness,” necessary to assign capital punishment in the state of Texas, Quijano issued a dooming diagnosis: a fundamentally racialized statistic of the link between African Americans and higher rates of crime.
According to the New York Times, the prosecutor had the former state prison psychologist confirm this race-based testimonial: “You have determined that the sex factor, that a male is more violent than a female because that’s just the way it is, and that the race factor, black, increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons; is that correct?”
Quijano had determined that Bucks’ recidivism rate was low. Yet in light of the jury’s subsequent death sentence for Buck, Quijano’s confirmation of this statement did irrevocable damage.
What demands our immediate action is the fact race was even considered in deciding whether a man lived or died. Worse still is the uniquely inexplicable discrimination of Buck’s case: out of those 6 other race-based capital cases identified by attorney general at the time John Cornyn, only Buck has not received a new hearing.
Now, according to the New York Times, 100 plus individuals including former Texas governor Mark W. White Jr., “other elected officials, former judges and prosecutors, civil rights leaders, members of the clergy, past presidents of the American Bar Association,” and even the surviving victim of Buck’s shooting, are all rallying behind efforts to demand a fair trial for Buck. Please sign the petition below, and urge District Attorney Mike Anderson to give Duane Buck a new hearing because no one deserves to die based on his or her race.
Dear District Attorney of Harris County, Texas, Mike Anderson,
I urge you to grant a new sentence hearing to Duane Buck, who was condemned to death by a race-based testimonial in 1997. He admits his undeniable guilt for the murders of two people. He does not deserve to die himself based on his being African American.
As per psychologist Dr. Walter Quijano’s courtroom testimonial, Mr. Buck’s future dangerousness had already been deemed low before the prosecutor elicited a racialized response from Dr. Quijano. The jury’s subsequent issuing of a death sentence to Mr. Buck raises grave questions as to the equity of our legal system that have no easy solution. However, what can be done now is to give Mr. Buck a new, fair trial, ultimately his legal right. While the 6 other race-based capital cases identified by district attorney at the time John Cornyn were given new sentence hearings, none was granted Mr. Buck. To sentence a man to die when there is even a suggestion of race as an underlying cause is unacceptable. Please act to correct this injustice and grant Duane Buck a new sentence hearing.
[Your Name Here]
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