The United State Supreme Court has just stayed the execution of Duane Edward Buck, and an excellent article providing the details of Mr. Buck’s case – from crime to stay – can be found at The Texas Tribune, in a piece written by Brandi Grissom entitled "Supreme Court Grants Stay of Duane Buck Execution."

No one is arguing that Duane Edward Buck is not guilty of the homicides for which he was charged and convicted.  The controversy surrounding his case revolves entirely around that second phase of a death penalty case: the sentencing phase (the forte of Terry Lenamon, fyi). 

In Buck’s sentencing phase, a defense expert named Dr. Walter Quijano took the stand in his capacity as a psychologist and told the jury that Mr. Buck likely would not be a danger to society in the future — but (and here’s the Big Issue) when he was cross-examined by the prosecution, Dr. Quijano testified that yes, he did believe that because Buck was black, there was an  increased risk that he would pose a threat to society.

Prosecution: "The race factor, black, increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons; is that correct?"

Dr. Quijano: "Yes."

Now, the United States Supreme Court will consider the events during that long ago sentencing phase of Duane Edward Buck’s trial and decide whether or not the psychologist’s answer of "yes" to the prosecution’s question means Buck was denied his constitutional rights in that proceeding and that a new trial should be had.