Blog of Rights

Death Row Inmate's Former Prosecutor Asks Texas to Halt His Execution

By Will Matthews, ACLU of Northern California at 6:08pm

In an important development, a former assistant district attorney in Harris County, Texas on Friday sent a letter to members of the state's Board of Pardons and Paroles and other state officials — including Gov. Rick Perry — urging them to halt next week's scheduled execution of Duane Edward Buck. In her letter, Linda Geffin, who was the second-chair prosecutor in Buck's case, writes "[n]o individual should be executed without being afforded a fair trial, untainted by considerations of race."

In her letter, Geffin says she "felt compelled to step forward" after reading about Buck's clemency petition and a motion in federal court recognizing that former Texas Attorney General John Cornyn had previously acknowledged the "improper injection of race in the sentencing hearing in Mr. Buck's case."

Last week we reported Buck's impending execution by Texas because he is black. Buck's death sentence was based on the testimony of Dr. Walter Quijano, who told jurors that Buck was more likely to pose a "future danger" to society because he is black.

In order to hand down a death sentence in Texas, a jury must find that a defendant will pose a "future danger" if he or she is not executed.

We must not allow the execution of a man on the basis of his race. You can help to prevent this injustice: go here to join with former assistant district attorney Linda Geffin in urging Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the Board of Pardons and Parole to intervene before it's too late.

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