More Than 100 Civil Rights Leaders, Elected Officials, Clergy, Former Prosecutors and Judges, Current and Past ABA Presidents, and a Former TX Governor Call for New, Fair Sentencing for Duane Buck
NAACP Calls Mr. Buck’s Death Penalty Case a “Blatant Example of Racial Bias”
(Harris County, Texas, March 20, 2013)
Today, 102 prominent individuals from Texas and throughout the country released a statement urging Texas officials to provide a new, fair sentencing hearing for Duane Buck. Mr. Buck is an African-American man who was condemned to death after his sentencing jury was told that he posed a future danger because of his race. The signatories write: “The State of Texas cannot condone any form of racial discrimination in the courtroom. The use of race in sentencing poisons the legal process and breeds cynicism in the judiciary. No execution should be carried out until the courts have a meaningful opportunity to address the evidence of fundamental injustice in Mr. Buck’s case. A new, fair sentencing hearing for Mr. Buck is absolutely necessary to restore public confidence in the criminal justice system.”
“The diverse chorus of voices calling for a new, fair sentencing hearing for Duane Buck reflect how Texas’s disturbing appeal to racial bias fundamentally undermines the integrity of the entire criminal justice system and makes each of us less safe,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, Director Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. which represents Mr. Buck, along with the Texas Defender Service and attorney Kate Black. “For anyone to trust the criminal justice system, it must be fair to everyone.”
“Mr. Buck’s hearing was tainted by racial discrimination,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, a signatory to the statement. “He deserves a new hearing that is not the product of race-based fear mongering posing as reasoned fact. This case is a blatant example of racial bias being allowed to seep into a justice system that is supposed to be fair and equitable to all.”
RACE: New Study Shows Racial Bias in Seeking the Death Penalty in Harris County
A new study regarding the use of the death penalty in Harris County, Texas, was released in conjunction with the filing of an appeal by Harris County death row inmate, Duane Buck. The research was conducted by Professor Raymond Paternoster of the University of Maryland, who examined over 500 murder cases in the county. The study found that, in cases with circumstances similar to Buck’s and during the time in which he was tried, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office sought the death penalty 3.5 times more often when the defendant was African-American than when the defendant was white. When the cases were submitted to Harris County (Houston) juries, the net result was a greater proportion of African-American defendants ended with death sentences than white defendants. Buck’s case is also controversial because an expert witness testified at Buck’s trial that he was more likely to pose a future danger to society because he is African American, and hence more likely to commit violence. Read full study.
Action: Petition and Thunderclap Campaign
Please go to http://thndr.it/WGPhK8 and sign up to join the Thunderclap to help Duane Buck.
If we get 100 people to join us, Thunderclap will post 100 Tweets or Facebook statuses at the exact same moment on April 3, 2013 at 12 Noon Eastern.
- Click on “Support with Facebook” and / or “Support with Twitter.”
- Then take the next step and let your friends and followers know that you are helping.
That’s it. Thunderclap will do the rest! On April 3, 2013 at 12 Noon Eastern, the message will appear in your news feed, but don’t worry — Thunderclap will not spam you or your friends.
Sign the petition at Change.org petition asking for a new, fair hearing.