The U.S. Supreme Court ordered in favor of Duane Buck on Wednesday. He was convicted of murdering two people and sentenced to death over 20 years ago. His attorney’s, however, presented evidence to the courts that the only reason why he was considered a threat to society was because he was black. The high court deemed the case against Buck prejudiced. They ruled 6-2 to remove the decision of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to not hear the case. The ruling declares that the death row inmate has the right to challenge his imprisonment in court.

He is now entitled to a new sentence hearing.

Evidence of racial bias

In July 1995, Duane Buck murdered his ex-girlfriend and another person. As her young children witnessed the ordeal, Buck laughed at what he did while being arrested shortly after.

A victory to sustain the life of an actual murderer comes after Chief Justice John Roberts gave the majority opinion. He ruled that Buck’s sentencing should be reconsidered because his trial attorney was incompetent for providing a testimony from a racially biased psychologist as the inmate’s defense.

For Duane to get the death penalty for the murders, the jury had to agree in a unanimous decision that he was a future threat to society. During the trial, the defense attorney brought forth Dr.

Walter Quijano, who stated that African-Americans were more receptive to violence per statistics.

The prosecutor, Senator Joan Huffman, questioned the cross-examination report provided by Dr. Quijano. Huffman asked, “You have determined that…the race factor, black, increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons; is that correct?”

Quijano responded, “Yes.”

Racial prejudice and anti-Semitism have plagued the criminal justice system in America for a very long time.

What happens now

Due to The Supreme Court ruling against both the 5th Circuit's decision and the insufficient claims of the counsel, Buck’s current sentence is now invalid. What can now be set into motion is a process that allows him to receive a new one.

Judge Roberts said in his majority opinion, “When a jury hears expert testimony that expressly makes a defendant’s race directly pertinent on the question of life or death, the impact of that evidence cannot be measured simply by how much air time it received at trial or how many pages it occupies in the record. Some toxins can be deadly in small doses.”