Supreme Court Rejects Racial Stereotyping for Death Penaly Case in Texas; Case Reopens
United States Supreme Court has rejected the use of racial stereotyping to sentence an African-American man to death penalty in Texas on Wednesday, Feb. 22. The court issued an order for a new court hearing for the case.
Supreme Court judges voted 6-2 in favor of the Texas inmate named Duane Buck, who was sentenced to death for brutal murder of his ex girlfriend and her boyfriend, according to Los Angeles Times. During his trial, a psychologist Dr. Walter Quijano testified in court as an expert witness and said that an African American are more likely to commit crimes than Caucasian.
Based on Dr. Quijano’s testimony, jury sentenced Buck to death. His lawyers filed a motion to Fifth Federal Court of Aappeals that denied the hearing. The case then went into the Supreme Court that ruled on Wednesday to reopen the case.
In the opinion, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Chicago Tribune reported. said the federal court of appeal’s decision to deny a hearing for his case was wrong. The judges also noted that testimony from Dr. Quijano’s was a racial stereotype to say African American to be prone to violence.
"Our laws punish people for what they do, not for who they are," Justice Roberts said as he read the Supreme Court's decision. The ruling will send Buck's case back to court for hearing.
Dissenting judges Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas argued that Buck was properly sentenced for brutal murder. Therefore reopening the case based on procedural reason is not necessary.
Buck’s case was one of the six death penalty cases that was reopened in 2000 when Texas Attorney General John Cornyn held the office. Buck was accused for brutal murder in 1995. Five other cases were reo-opened and the perpetrators were sentenced to death in retrial.
Watch the report on the Supreme Court order for a new court hearing on Buck’s case below: