Supreme Court Halts Execution Over Racist Testimony

September 16, 2011  |  

(AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution Thursday of a black man convicted of a double murder in Texas 16 years ago after his lawyers contended his sentence was unfair because of a question asked about race during his trial.  Duane Buck, 48, was spared from lethal injection when the justices, without extensive comment, said they would review an appeal in his case. Two appeals, both related to a psychologist’s testimony that black people were more likely to commit violence, were before the court. One was granted; the other was denied.  Buck was sentenced to death for the fatal shootings of his ex-girlfriend and a man in her apartment in July 1995. Buck’s guilt is not being questioned, but his lawyers say the jury was unfairly influenced and that he should receive a new sentencing hearing. His attorneys appealed to the Supreme Court and Texas Gov. Rick Perry to block the execution, saying a psychologist testified that black people were more likely to commit violence.

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