"In Texas, Prosecutors Add Twitter Insult to Capital Punishment," is Andrew Cohen's follow-up on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals opinions in Duane Buck's case. Here's the beginning of another Cohen must-read:
Twice, as we’ve recounted here at The Atlantic, Texas has deprived convicted murderer Duane Buck of his constitutional right to equal protection. The first time came in 1997 when a now-notorious expert unlawfully told jurors under prosecution questioning that Buck would be more dangerous in the future because he was black. "Future danger" was an "aggravating" factor Buck's jury had to consider in imposing the death penalty on him, which those jurors quickly did after that explosive testimony.
There has indeed been a great deal of unprofessional conduct in the Duane Buck case. It started with that now-disgraced expert and, as the dissent says, terrible defense work at trial and on the initial appeal of Buck's conviction. It continued years later with a broken promise by Texas officials to Buck that, like the others similarly situated, he would get a new sentencing hearing void of unlawful racial undertones. And it continues to this day in the effort by state attorneys, and these six judges, to diminish the import of what happened to Buck by precluding even a review of his case on its merits.
This man—this indigent black man in Texas with a low IQ who received inadequate assistance of counsel and whose trial was rocked by racial prejudice— deserves a new sentencing hearing. If Texas had given him one in 2000, this case would be long over (the five other men tainted by that "expert" were re-sentenced to death). It's not only unprofessional, it's unjust that Texas is fighting so hard to prevent that new sentencing trial from taking place. And I'd be willing to bet that at least a few justices in Washington agree.
Earlier coverage of Duane Buck's case begins at the link.
More 50,000 people from Texas and around the country have signed a Change.org petition calling on Texas officials to grant Mr. Buck a new sentencing hearing.
Related posts are in the race category index.