Posted Sep 16, 2011 12:21 am CDT
Updated: It appears that a controversial Texas execution, in a capital murder case in which the factual guilt of the defendant is not disputed but his sentencing was clearly tainted by racism, may not occur after 6 p.m. tonight as scheduled.
The Texas Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay of the death sentence of Duane Edward Buck as it reviews his case, reports CNN.
And, in an apparent new development, the Dallas Morning News subsequently reported that the U.S. Supreme Court has stepped in to halt the execution.
A later Associated Press story confirms that the nation’s top court had stayed Buck’s execution by 8 p.m.
The court said in a one-paragraph ruling that it is halting the execution while it reviews a writ of certiorari and determines whether to hear an appeal by Buck.
“We are relieved that the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the obvious injustice of allowing a defendant’s race to factor into sentencing decisions and granted a stay of execution to Duane Buck,” said attorney Kate Black, who is representing him.
“No one should be put to death based on the color of his or her skin. We are confident that the court will agree that our client is entitled to a fair sentencing hearing that is untainted by considerations of his race.”
A Los Angeles Times article by David Savage and a Texas Tribune story provide additional details about Buck’s sentencing, in which a defense expert testified that he was more likely to reoffend because he is black.
Additional and related coverage:
ABAJournal.com (June 2008): “Texas Judge Halts Planned 6 PM Execution, Appeals Court Overrules, Clock Ticks”
ABAJournal.com (Feb. 2010): “Appeals Court Reverses Death Sentence, Doesn’t Mention Judge-Prosecutor Affair”
Ft. Worth Star-Telegram: “Not a place for considering a person’s race”
Washington Post: “Duane Edward Buck set to be executed Thursday unless Gov. Rick Perry grants a reprieve”
Last updated on Sept. 16 to include and accord with information from Associated Press and Texas Tribune articles.