The Texas Tribune posts, "Texas Ends Deal With Psychiatrist Over Race Testimony," this afternoon. It's by Brandi Grissom.
The Texas Youth Commission terminated its contract Friday with a psychiatrist who testified repeatedly in death penalty cases that Hispanic and black men were more likely to be dangerous in the future. The termination followed a Texas Tribune inquiry into the agency's six-year agreement with the doctor.
Despite more than a decade of court controversy in six death penalty cases, including one that was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court last month because of the testimony Walter Quijano provided, the TYC began using the psychiatrist in 2005. The Tribune obtained the contracts under public information laws. The TYC most recently renewed its agreement with Quijano last month, just days before the high court stayed the execution of Duane Buck because of Quijano's testimony.
Upon receiving a public information request from the Tribune regarding the Quijano contracts, TYC officials said Wednesday that they had recently learned of Quijano’s testimony and that the agency was "reviewing its agreements for Dr. Quijano’s services.”
“I find it extremely alarming that someone with Mr. Quijano’s bias has had any control over their health care and well-being,” wrote Whitmire, who is chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.
Starting as early as 1991, Quijano provided testimony during the punishment phase in six death penalty cases. He told jurors about factors that could make a person more likely to be a danger to society in the future. Quijano explained that African American and Hispanic men were more likely to be violent again.
In 2000, then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn admitted the state had erred in the 1996 trial of Victor Hugo Saldana, along with six other death penalty cases, in which Quijano testified regarding race and future dangerousness.
"Because the use of race in Saldano's sentencing seriously undermined the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of the judicial process, Texas confesses error," Cornyn wrote in a court filing.
Earlier coverage of Quijano's work in death penalty cases begins at the link.