The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected the appeal of Texas death row inmate Duane Buck, despite giving 5 other defendants a new sentencing based upon the same exact improper testimony, from the same exact so-called expert.
Duane Buck argued that his trial was tainted because of ineffective representation and racial bias. His mental health expert testified on cross-examination that he was a future danger to society because he is African American.
Dr. Walter Quijano, a clinical psychologist, testified in 5 other capital cases identified in 2000 as tainted by racial bias. The other five have had new sentencings, but Buck was denied. Buck presented 11 arguments, including Dr. Quijano’s testimony, in his appeal, but the court said, “Jurists of reason would not debate that Buck has failed to show extraordinary circumstances justifying relief.”
Buck’s appellate attorneys said of the ruling, “This decision can only deepen the growing skepticism of the fairness of the criminal justice system. No competent capital defense attorney would invite the sentencing jury to make a life-or-death decision based on racial fears and stereotypes and no court should enforce a judgment in which race was explicitly proffered as the basis for a death sentence.”
When being cross-examined by the prosecutor, the following exchange occurred:
Prosecutor: “You have determined that the sex factor, that a male is more violent than a female because that’s just the way it is, and the race factor, black, increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons, is that correct?”
Dr. Quijano responded: “Yes.”
READ THE DECISION HERE.