Yesterday, the conservative media outlet, the Daily Caller, published an opinion piece of mine. In the op-ed, I outlined why Duane Buck, a man on Texas’ death row, deserves a new sentencing hearing. I wrote,
Buck’s own lawyers introduced an expert witness who testified that males and African Americans are both more likely to be a prospective threat. In Texas, juries must agree that defendants pose a future danger in order to impose a death sentence. The prosecution reiterated and relied upon the testimony during cross-examination and the closing argument to influence the jury to approve a death sentence. Considering that as a black male, Buck had two strikes against him, it comes as no surprise that the jury accepted the testimony, found him to be a future danger, and sentenced him to die.
Given that inappropriate testimony helped secure his death sentence, there are many reasons why conservatives should support a fair resentencing hearing.
Conservatives also believe in the rule of law, personal responsibility for actions, and that for every action there ought to be an appropriate and just reaction. These beliefs, in addition to Texas’ requirement to prove future dangerousness, should necessitate a new hearing for Buck. He deserves to be sentenced based on nothing more than his own merits and the facts specific to his case. A death sentence based, in any way, on the perception that an entire race or sex are more prone to violence ignores individual responsibility and instead assigns culpability based upon a distorted view of crime and demographics.
I closed by stating,
Consequently, Buck cannot be held accountable for innate attributes, including being born a black male, but he can be properly judged and held responsible for his actions. However, he should receive a new and unbiased trial to be properly sentenced.