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Argument preview: Justices to consider role of racial bias in death penalty case


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Amy Howe Reporter and Independent Contractor

Posted Wed, September 28th, 2016 12:05 pm

Argument preview: Justices to consider role of racial bias in death penalty case

 

Even Duane Buck’s attorneys describe the facts of his crime as “horrific.” Buck believed that his former girlfriend, Debra Gardner, was in a romantic relationship with another man, Kenneth Butler. On July 30, 1995, he went to Gardner’s Houston home, where he shot and killed both Gardner and Butler. Buck also shot his step-sister, Phyllis Taylor, in the chest at point-blank range; the bullet missed her heart by only an inch, but she survived.

 

A Texas trial court appointed two lawyers to represent Buck at his trial. One of those lawyers, Jerry Guerinot, has been described as the worst capital defense lawyer in the country: Twenty of his clients have been sentenced to death. When the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Buck’s case next week, the decision by those attorneys to present racially inflammatory testimony by a defense expert will be at the heart of the debate.

 

A key issue at Buck’s trial was whether he would be dangerous in the future: Unless the jury unanimously concluded that he would be, it could not sentence him to death under Texas law.Scissors-32x32.pnghttp://www.scotusblog.com/2016/09/argument-preview-justices-to-consider-role-of-racial-bias-in-death-penalty-case/

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