SCOTUS: Texas May Not Execute A Murderer Just For Being African-American

Gov. Rick Perry holds the all-time state record for supervising executions… at least 235 people have been executed on his watch, and he’s proud of it. So, apparently, was the audience of the recent GOP presidential debate; they cheered him for it.

But a last-minute stay by the U.S. Supreme Court averted, at least for the moment, the execution of convicted murderer Duane Edward Buck. Many bloodthirsty Texans would call the basis of both the penalty and the stay in Buck’s case a “technicality,” but it is no technicality. Rather, it is gross malfeasance by an alleged “expert witness” in the sentencing phase of the trial.

Rick Perry has condescended to accept the Supreme Court’s ruling for the moment.

To assess the death penalty, a Texas jury must decide that the convict is an ongoing danger to society, i.e., liable to commit further (presumably violent) felonies. The jury in Buck’s case decided he would be an ongoing danger, based on the testimony of the “expert witness.”

This is not the first time such malfeasance has been committed by an “expert witness,” and other people have probably been executed in violation of Texas law as a result. I don’t know who the “expert witness” was in this case, but there is locally at least one motherfucking son of a bitch who has made a cottage industry of testifying along these lines:

  • The convicted murderer is African-American;
  • Statistically, African-Americans convicted of murder are more likely to commit additional violent crimes than murderers of another race;
  • “Therefore” this particular convicted murderer is likely to commit additional violent crimes because he is African-American.

It doesn’t take a mental giant to see the fallacy: group statistics of any sort have no bearing on individual members of a group; e.g., a trick coin can be weighted to come down heads ten times as often as tails, but that fact says nothing about the specific result of the next toss. But juries hear “expert testimony” from this MF SOB that the murderer’s race alone makes him more liable to commit future violent crimes. So they vote to kill him.

That MF SOB’s picture should appear in the dictionary next to the term “perjurer.”

I have no idea what conclusion SCOTUS will ultimately come to. They may simply require another sentencing hearing before another jury who have not heard the “expert testimony.” But at least one egregious injustice has been averted at least for the moment. These days, we take what we can get.

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  • jams o donnell  On Saturday September 17, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Fuck it why doesn’t Rick Perry go back to lynching. That would be far more in keeping with everything I have read and seen about the disgusting farce that passes as justice in your home state Steve.

    Sorry if that sounds too jaundiced Steve. So much that I read about the Texan justice system appalls me

    • Steve  On Saturday September 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm

      jams, Perry is, like many of his followers, one of the God Squad; he is certain he has not only God’s permission but a duty to kill as many bad people as possible while he is governor. Make him president and he’ll have the power to kill not hundreds but hundreds of thousands, like GeeDubya Bush before him. (Obama is not blameless in that department either.)

      As for me and my state, jams, I am a failure as a Texan. I am utterly and inalterably opposed to the death penalty under any circumstances. (Can you say “Amnesty member” and “NCADP member,” children?) I once spent two days downtown in a courtroom, on a panel of 36 from which the court was attempting to select a “death-qualified” jury if 12 (yes, that’s the term they use). Eventually they did not select me because I could not honestly say I would vote to convict if I knew the death penalty was a possible sentence. I make no apologies for my views, and no excuses for my fellow Texans: they are, by and large, a bloodthirsty bunch.

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