Senator Ellis Press Release

For Immediate Release
September 15, 2011
Contact: Jeremy Warren, 512-463-0113

Ellis Praises U.S. Supreme Court Intervention in Duane Buck Case

(Austin, Texas)//Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) today praised the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to stay the execution of Duane Buck.

In 1995, Duane Buck was convicted of the shooting deaths of Debra Gardner and Kenneth Butler. During the sentencing phase, Dr. Walter Quijano testified that African Americans and Hispanics were more prone to "future dangerousness", testimony used by the prosecution as a basis for the death penalty. In 2000, then-Texas Attorney General found six tainted cases where Dr. Quijano's race-based testimony was used in death penalty determinations, including the Buck case. Of those six cases, only Duane Buck has not received a new trial.

"This is the proper step for justice, "said Ellis. "We know for a fact that the death sentence was based on a so-called expert testifying that black people are naturally more violent and dangerous than white people, which is morally appalling and legally shocking.

"No matter your position on the death penalty, a free and just society must guarantee a fair trial untainted by racially prejudicial testimony," Ellis said."I am pleased the U.S. Supreme Court stepped up to the plate but disappointed that on a matter this serious the state of Texas once again needed federal courts to intervene rather than do the right thing ourselves."

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