Last night's Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN examined Duane Buck's case.
"Inmate on death row because he's black?" is by Ed Lavandera. It contains the first half of the archived video.
A Texas man named Duane Buck, convicted of murdering two people, has been sentenced to die. He's asked an appeals court to grant him a new sentencing hearing.
Buck's appeal is supported by a broad coalition of individuals and organizations, including a former Texas governor and one of the prosecutors who convicted him. They're not arguing for a new hearing because he's innocent – there are no doubts that he committed murder.
Instead, supporters argue that Buck is on death row because he's African American, and they point to testimony that jurors heard from an expert witness.
The second half of the archived video is, "Was race a factor in death sentence?" Among others, it features legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
CNN has also posted a transcript of the program. Here's a brief excerpt:
COOPER: Jeff, what they're saying in not granting a new hearing is that this guy was a defense witness, and that makes some sort of a difference?
TOOBIN: Not. The jury hears what the jury hears, regardless of who is putting forth the witness. The other factor here is Texas has an unusual death penalty law in that the issue of future dangerousness is very important. Unfortunately, that law leads to all sorts of quackery. The idea -- the legal system has a hard enough time telling people -- determining what happened in the past. The idea that you can put a psychologist on and predict future dangerousness is just absurd.
COOPER: It's like that movie about future crime, you know. You're fighting future crime.
TOOBIN: Exactly. And Quijano is not the only psychologist who's gotten in trouble here. There is a famous Dr. Death who has testified all the time, who gave similarly ridiculous testimony. But the whole idea of psychologists telling juries that they can predict who's dangerous is fraudulent in and of itself.
Related posts are in the race category index.