Little did I know that by simply being born black I was prone to commit murder.
This from a news report last week:
Duane Buck is guilty of murder. Of that, there is no question. In 1995 he shot and killed his then-girlfriend as well as her male companion in her Houston, Texas, apartment. Not surprisingly, in execution-prone Texas, Buck was sentenced to the death penalty for his crime.
What seems on the surface to be an open-and-shut murder conviction, however, has become one of the most racially explosive cases of the past several decades—unveiling evidence of systemic racial discrimination in Texas’s criminal justice system.
The problem with Buck’s case is this: During the penalty phase of the trial, Harris County prosecutors benefitted from the testimony of controversial psychologist Walter Quijano.
Asked in open court if “the race factor, black” increased Buck’s risk of reoffending, Quijano answered “yes.” The so-called expert went on to testify that being either African American or Latino “increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons.”In Texas, “future dangerousness” is one of the key factors in determining whether a person is eligible for capital punishment. By allowing Quijano’s testimony to stand, Harris County has established that race can be used as a significant justification for meting out the death penalty.