Update: The U.S Supreme Court issued a stay of execution for Buck on Thursday. Read more from the Associated Press.
Duane Edward Buck will die Thursday from a lethal injection in the state of Texas, unless Gov. Rick Perry (R) grants him a reprieve.
Buck was convicted of murdering two people, including an ex-girlfriend, and wounding another in 1995, the Associated Press reports. It’s not his guilt that’s in question, however--it is the impact of testimony from psychologist Walter Quijano during his sentencing.
When asked by prosecutor Joan Huffman if being black would make Buck more likely to commit a crime again, Quijano answered yes. Buck’s lawyer and others argue that race therefore played an unfair role in determining Buck’s death sentence.
“No one should be executed based on a process tainted by considerations of race,” Buck’s lawyer Kate Black told the Los Angeles Times. Huffman has not backed down from the question, the AP reports, but her deputy in the case, prosecutor Linda Geffin, said “race should never be put in front of a jury in any case, particularly a death penalty case.”
The American Civil Liberties Union has called upon Perry, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, to halt the execution.
In 2000, then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn told the Supreme Court that Quijano’s testimony about race had played an unfair role in the sentencing of seven death row inmates, the New York Times reported. Six of those inmates were given new sentencing trials, according to the ACLU.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected Buck’s request Wednesday. The decision now falls to Perry, who can grant Buck a 30-day reprieve. A spokesperson for Perry told the Texas Tribune the request will be reviewed when it’s received.
Since Perry is out of town, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst would preside over the execution, the AP reports.
During Perry’s tenure as governor, Texas has executed 235 people. When asked by Brian Williams if he ever lost sleep because of this, Perry said he’s “never struggled with that at all.” He’s halted four executions, one of which was later carried through, the AP reports.
Earlier this week, Steven Wood was put to death in Texas for murder and robbery. He was the 10th death row inmate killed this year.