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Peter Duane Buck is A BAD GUY. Peter Duane Buck shot and killed his ex-girlfriend and another man in front of her children. Peter Duane Buck showed no remorse. Again, Peter Duane Buck is A BAD GUY.

AND STILL, WE DON’T MAKE DEATH PENALTY DECISIONS BASED ON RACE. Not even for A BAD GUY. Not even in Texas.

In 1995, a jury convicted Mr. Buck, who is A BAD GUY, on two counts of murder. During the sentencing phase of his trial, the jury was instructed that they could only impose the death penalty if they found beyond a reasonable doubt that there was “a probability that the defendant would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society.”

Mr. Buck’s own lawyer called expert witness Dr. Walter Quijano, who was at the time Big In Wingnuttistan for his theory that African Americans and Hispanics were inherently more prone to violence than whites.

In determining whether Buck was likely to pose a danger in the future, Dr. Quijano considered seven “statistical factors.” The fourth factor was “race.” His report read, in relevant part: “4. Race. Black: Increased probability. There is an overrepresentation of Blacks among the violent offenders.”

On the stand, Quijano testified that, “race is a know[n] factor to predict future dangerousness.”

HE SEEMS NICE.

Least Racist Guy Ever….Well, Except for Trump

Dr. Quijano was even more helpful on cross examination.

[The prosecutor] asked first about the statistical factors of past crimes and age, then questioned Dr. Quijano about the roles of sex and race: “You have determined that the sex factor, that a male is more violent than a female because that’s just the way it is, and that the race factor, black, increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons; is that correct?” … Dr. Quijano replied, “Yes.”

Based in part on Quijano’s testimony, the jury sentenced Buck to death.

Wow! Calling a witness who says your client is violent because he’s black seems like some pretty shitty lawyering! But for some reason, Mr. Buck’s first post-conviction lawyer never cited ineffective assistance of counsel as grounds to overturn the death penalty on appeal. In other words, the second lawyer was just as shitty as the first. This original failure to appeal the death sentence based on incompetent counsel created serious procedural hurdles as the case spent 15 years winding its way through the court system.

Meanwhile, Dr. Quijano had developed quite a business testifying as an expert witness for the State of Texas on his BROWN=VIOLENT theory. In 1999, one of the Quijano cases reached the Supreme Court, which held that, WTF?!? NO! YOU CANNOT SAY PEOPLE COMMIT CRIMES BECAUSE THEY’RE BLACK!! So, Texas finally had to admit that their star witness was a total loon. Dangit, Dale!

Following the Supreme Court smackdown, Texas Attorney General John Cornyn (now a Senator) agreed to re-sentence six additional defendants who had been convicted based on Quijano’s crackpot testimony, including Buck. But by 2002, Texas had decided that Buck was A BAD GUY, and they weren’t responsible for the fact that his own attorney had been the one to call Quijano as a witness.

In 2014, Buck filed an appeal in Federal court on grounds of ineffective trial counsel, i.e. shitty lawyers who call racist witnesses. The District Court for the Southern District of Texas denied his appeal, in part because he was A BAD GUY, whose crimes were “horrific.” They reasoned that his lousy lawyer and racist expert witness probably had no effect on the death penalty verdict, which the jury would have handed down anyway because…A BAD GUY. The Fifth Circuit agreed that Buck was definitely A BAD GUY, who would TOTES have gotten the death penalty in Hang ‘Em High Texas, and so denied his appeal.

Yesterday, in a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s holding in Buck v. Davis and remanded Mr. Buck’s case for re-sentencing. They found that, EVEN A BAD GUY IS ENTITLED TO A FAIR TRIAL, WITH A COMPETENT LAWYER, AND NO RACIST WITNESSES.

Let’s hit the highlights.

Holy Shit! That sure is some Incompetent Lawyering!

Buck’s trial counsel knew that Dr. Quijano’s report reflected the view that Buck’s race predisposed him to violent conduct and that the principal point of dispute during the penalty phase was Buck’s future dangerousness. Counsel nevertheless called Dr. Quijano to the stand, specifically elicited testimony about the connection between race and violence, and put Dr. Quijano’s report into evidence. No competent defense attorney would introduce evidence that his client is liable to be a future danger because of his race.

Cut the Crap! You Guys Knew This Case Was Tainted When You Threw It in the Pile With the Rest of Quijano’s Bad Death Penalty Testimony

Regardless of which party first broached the subject, race was in all these cases put to the jury “as a factor . . . to weigh in making its determination.” …The statement that “it is inappropriate to allow race to be considered as a factor in our criminal justice system” is equally applicable whether the prosecution or ineffective defense counsel initially injected race into the proceeding.

NO RACIST STUFF! Not even just a little bit! Seriously, Texas, how many times do we have to tell you this??

For these reasons, we cannot accept the District Court’s conclusion that “the introduction of any mention of race” during the penalty phase was “de minimis” [minimal]…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.

These Shitty Lower Court Decisions Make The Whole Legal System Look Bad! You Guys are SO EMBARRASSING, OMG!

That it concerned race amplifies the problem. Relying on race to impose a criminal sanction “poisons public confidence” in the judicial process.

Justices Thomas and Alito dissented, of course. Because blahblahblah A BAD GUY. And maybe the trial court will sentence Mr. Buck to death again when it re-hears the penalty phase of his trial – the guilty verdict remains the same.

Dr. Quijano went on to serve for six years as a psychologist for the Texas Youth Commission, working with kids in juvenile corrections facilities. His contract was terminated in 2011 when a state senator made Quijano’s supervisor aware of his racist death penalty testimony. There was no word whether the supervisor has yet been made aware of The Google.

[Buck v. Davis, Supreme Court 2017]

ORDER IN THE COURT! DON’T BE A BAD GUY! GIVE US MONEY!

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  • Msgr_MΩment

    For the record, I am melanin-challenged, and I would get a shitload of pathological enjoyment out of voting the fuck out of Dr. Quijano.

  • ImPEECH!

    … Is that Sammy Jo trying to scratch her itchy scalp under that tacky wig?

  • Oblios_Cap

    Justices Thomas and Alito dissented, of course.

    Well, Thomas, like Ben Carson, is Black and is much more dangerous when he’s awake. Which, fortunately, isn’t very often in either case.

    • Msgr_MΩment

      Are there any statistics on how dangerous orange-skinned males are?

      • wide_stance_hubby

        Daily.

  • Spotts1701, Resistance Pilot

    What a shock, Thomas’ dissent by opens with a Scalia-like “Activist judges! You are all activist judges!”

    Having settled on a desired outcome, the Court bull- dozes procedural obstacles and misapplies settled law to justify it.

    And then rambles on about how it’s too bad, so sad that the appellant in this case had terrible lawyers and all but implies “Well, maybe if he didn’t want bad lawyers he shouldn’t have gone criming in the first place.”

    • dshwa

      That’s some mighty impressive projection by Thomas in that sentence.

    • Dr. Rrrrrobotnik

      Thomas imagines that he’s on a crusade to take America back to the point where American jurisprudence went wrong; that is, Marbury v. Madison. He pretty much thinks that the Supreme Court should stick to its literally defined limits, which I guess means they’d be stuck adjudicating really complicated parking tickets or something.

      That, and he never saw an outcome that even somewhat helped a black person that he liked, because he knows he’ll hear all about it on Fox. And from his wife. And NASCAR crowds. And literally everyone he surrounds himself with.

      • Michael Smith

        Yeah, he’s a pretty useless justice at this point. It would be like having a civil war reenacter on the general staff of our military operations in Afghanistan.

        “I think we ought to really consider some unmanned drone raids of that northeastern position. We’ve got intelligence from intercepted text messages, which strongly suggest that there’s a large cache of munitions being stored there, and the defenses are still pretty weak. Rufus, what do you think?”

        “Sir, I don’t think we should use drones because they aren’t real war weapons. Also, I don’t think we should look at intercepted text messages, because the army never used to look at stuff like that. I think we should send some cavalry to find out where the enemy is camped, line up and charge.”

        “Hmm.”

    • Michael Smith

      Advocating a sentence based on the defendant’s race is against “settled law,” so I don’t see how it was misapplied. Thomas, like the courts below, thinks that in this case it is no big deal because he would have almost certainly received the death penalty anyway, and that the majority is therefore just trying to make a political statement about how much we disapprove of this kind of racism. Which, of course, Thomas doesn’t think is important enough to waste resources for.

  • nightmoth

    Growing up, my southern culture taught me that blacks were inherently more violent than whites: they just were and couldn’t help it. I also “learned” that black men could not resist white women: they just had to rape them–couldn’t help themselves. Thank God I had good parents who said “Bosh!” and I did my own research and self-educated myself out of the deep cultural racism. So now I get really annoyed when some asshole with a degree uses pseudo-science to promulgate crap.

    • Lance Thrustwell

      And it’s so irritating when they say it’s not racist – that it’s a “culture of crime” or some such that’s a determining factor. However true that might be in some instances, reinforcing its existence at the judicial level just creates a self-fulfilling prophecy and denies black people their individuality.

      • nightmoth

        Absolutely. Also, I see it as a factor of class, not race. I’ve known of enough rednecks who got drunk and killed family members, or molested their nieces, or ran meth labs, and never “paid for their crimes.” White guys get away with stuff: black guys go to jail.

        • Alternative Pony Ron

          ‘Lone wolf.’
          ‘Affluenza.’
          ‘Good student.’
          ‘Learned his lesson.’
          All arguments that somehow only ever work when the defendant is white.

    • Celtic_Gnome

      Quijano? Is that a Messican name? What’s their predilection for violence? I’d be worried about being in the same room with that guy.

  • Justices Thomas and Alito dissented, of course.

    Of course, because the idea that because a disproportionate percentage of black men are in jail therefore black people are prone to criminality is a staple belief of some conservatives. I have racist family members that periodically spew that tired bullshit.

    I try to avoid those family members whenever possible.

    • Claire

      So many people have this weird inability to understand that laws are made by actual human beings, who might or might not be making those laws for the purpose of making it difficult to legally Exist While Black (or gay, or female, or whatever.) They’re the same ones who are always saying “Well, if you haven’t done anything wrong, you don’t have to worry!”

      Sure, Cletus. And the fact that you aren’t the one who gets to decide what is and is not illegal will surely never bite you in the ass.

      • (((fka_donnie_d)))

        All of This. And you Still get Ex NYPD detective Baldy McNumbnuts on CNN (I refuse to remember his “real name” coming on air and waving binders full of statistics about black crime rates. And getting paid for it. Fuck alla y’all.

      • Vagenda of Rebel Scum

        That’s a neat circular argument for Cletus: Step 1: jail more black people because prejudice. Step 2: They are more prone to criminality. Just look at how many of them are in jail!

        • (((fka_donnie_d)))

          Never gets old

  • JustPixelz (((Ω)))

    Justices Thomas and Alito dissented…

    Well Thomas is a bad justice because … you know.
    And don’t get me started about Alito and his hot Italian blood.

  • memzilla Ω

    BREAKING: Sessions To Name New Deputy AG After Discovering Name On Wonkette

  • schmannity

    Insisting on constitutional rights? Takers!

    • Rick Hill

      “constitutional rights”
      As if that’s even a thing…for some people, that is.

  • dshwa

    Fuck Clarence, even Roberts got this one right. How dumb are you?

    • nightmoth

      How deep is the sea?

    • wide_stance_hubby

      Boot, piss, instructions on heel, stumped. That dumb.

  • The Librarian

    Since when is “because that’s just the way it is” a legal argument?

    • Spotts1701, Resistance Pilot

      “Your honor, I would like to cite the principles of ‘because I said so’.”
      “‘Nuff said. Guilty! Next case!”

    • Msgr_MΩment

      Hornsby v. The Range, 1986.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOeKidp-iWo

      • The Librarian

        Lol, “but don’t you believe it”.

    • wide_stance_hubby

      Since black, commie!1!

  • Rock Drummer

    If all black folks are more prone to violence, why aint there any killings on a basketball court?

    • azeyote

      the U.Conns women team has been killin everyone for years

  • Cousin Itt de La Résistance
    • Ryan Denniston

      5 white guys sitting in a semi-circle and talking. Who would have guessed?

      • nightmoth

        Does the circle jerk start after cock tail hour?

        • Cousin Itt de La Résistance

          Their tails are self-cocking.

    • Shoto

      Ow! That hurt my brain!

  • Lizzietish81

    Thomas had to be woken up and then go to his office to consult his Ouija board to see what Scalia would have said.

  • Me not sure

    Quijano it seems is the most respected Hispanic person in Texas. Go figure.

  • puredog

    “Calling a witness who says your client is violent because he’s black seems like some pretty shitty lawyering!”

    You guys are nothing but a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacks. Why, any jurist with an originalist bone in his body can see that this is merely the attorney’s trial strategery, not to be second-guessed.

    • Spotts1701, Resistance Pilot

      Hey, it could have been worse. He could have slept through the trial.

      • Swampgas_Man

        Yeah, but THAT won’t get you a re-trial in Texas.

        • puredog

          Tru dat.

      • cmd resistor

        Well, no because then he wouldn’t have introduced this shitty testimony if he was asleep.

  • Michael Smith

    Justice Thomas was like “What? Black people are more violent. Why do you think I work with mostly white people?”

    • puredog

      “. . .work with and marry. . .”
      FTFY

  • Crystalclear12

    This is our only nice time for the day, isn’t it?

  • goonemeritus

    Texas will just rewrite the standard to reference darkies instead of blacks.

    • dshwa

      Poors. That’s always a favorite dog whistle.

      • Dr. Rrrrrobotnik

        “Urban poor”, for extra points.

        • dshwa

          Thugs always goes over well.

    • CriticalDragon1177

      And the supreme court will slap them again for being racists idiots.

      • goonemeritus

        Like that has ever stopped them.

        • CriticalDragon1177

          Well it did this time, and it has before. Its just that they don’t seem to learn.

  • TJ Barke
    • (((fka_donnie_d)))

      I’m always torn between Samuel L Jackson swears and Morgan Freeman swears. Both are wonderful in their own way.

  • Robbertjan Brandenburg

    At first I thought “How did these guys pass the bar exam but then I remembered this little gem.

    http://img-9gag-fun.9cache.com/photo/avZGOnn_700b.jpg

    • Stulexington

      Half of those are just smartass witnesses. The other half though … what the ever living fuck?

      • YoBunnyBunny

        Yeah, I would have responded the same snark.

    • puredog

      Oldies but always goodies. And I concur with Stulexington, J.

  • Martini Ambassador

    Interestingly enough, Entertainment Weekly also called Texas’ use of Dr. Quijano’s “expert” testimony “Terrifically tawdry. Also, super racist, prejudicial and wildly irresponsible.”

    • Shibusa

      Quijano, by the way, stands by his testimony. He told the NYT, “The literature suggests … correlation” between race and threat. It is not, he said, “the blackness of the person that is causing the violence. It is what goes with it. Poverty, the exposure to lack of education, exposure to criminal elements.”

      Psychology professor John Monahan, whose writings Quijano cited among the “literature,” told the Times his work supports no such conclusion. Race, he said, “plays at most an extremely small role” in predicting future violent acts.

    • mailman27

      2 1/2 stars.

  • dshwa

    Is Roberts turning out to be a centrist, or am I just so rock bottom with Trump that I’m grasping at any optimistic straw I can find?

    • Crystalclear12

      You already know the answer to that, don’t you?

      • dshwa

        42?

    • Sardonicuss

      He did swing the Obamacare decision. Think he is worrying more and more about legacy of his court.

      • dshwa

        That’s part of what I was thinking. There’s been a couple of other cases where he landed opposite where I thought he would as well. Of course, given that I thought he was going to be another Scalia, it’s not a high bar for him to surprise me.

        • Sardonicuss

          I think at some level he realized what an abomination Citizens United really was…..and had been trying to make amends for it ever since.
          Given the horror show a Trump administration promises, he may end up being one of those who starts voting with the sane block.

          • dshwa

            If he winds up as Suter 2.0, we could do worse.

          • Sardonicuss

            Especially if Gorush? turns out not be the Scalia 2.0 everybody thinks he is…which is possible.

          • puredog

            (1) No; (2) Maybe sometimes.

  • DahBoner

    For some weird, strange reason, angry Black people want to beat up Dr. Quijano?
    https://media0.giphy.com/media/bvC9HdIg0uC3u/giphy.gif

  • OddMan

    Thanks Ms. Five Dollar. Appreciate a bit of good news in this era of Darth Dampnut. At least the SCOTUS is still sane, well some of them.

  • Chadwells

    Fuck Texas and FUCK ICE!!!! WTFF?! BTW….I never saw in the article where she “refused surgery”….she was refused surgery by ICE….but the Daily News didn’t want to phrase it that way, it seems.

    “Undocumented woman with brain tumor refused surgery, forcibly removed from Texas hospital: lawyer”

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/undocumented-woman-brain-tumor-removed-hospital-lawyer-article-1.2979956

    • Claire

      I wonder if someone at the hospital ratted her out. If someone did, I hope that person gets fired and blacklisted from his or her entire profession forever.

      • Chadwells

        Well, from what I gathered…she was actually in detention before going to the hospital after complaining about head pain. ICE took her to the hospital…Doctor said she needed immediate brain surgery…and all of a sudden and without explanation, ICE physically restrained and removed her without cause and the surgery that was scheduled for Saturday was abruptly cancelled. The family can get no answers as to WTF is going on…even as the woman’s nose continues to bleed due to the tumor.

        • Lance Thrustwell

          Ucchh. Even if you believe that illegals shouldn’t get the same deal that citizens do when it comes to various aspects of healthcare – you gotta make an exception for life-saving surgery when it’s right in front of your face. You have to! If you’re a human being, that is.

          • puredog

            Yeah, but slippery slope, libtard: in front of your face —> in the ER —> at the front desk —> on the phone —> in the future, u.s.w.

        • Thaumaturgist

          This is just a case of librul doctors trying to get rich on the gubmint dime. If she’s an ISIS prisoner and she doesn’t have insurance, who do you think is going to get stuck with the bill? OTOH, as long as she’s in custody, she’s not in a position to arrange for her own care. That’s why the custodian is responsible for her care. The only was for ICE to escape liability, in my opinion, is to release her. (Sorry, meant ICE, prisoner. Don’t know how ISIS got involved.)

          • cmd resistor

            They’re all the same, ICE, ISIS, when it comes down to it.

          • Celtic_Gnome

            Well, we are talking about illegal immigrants, so you know ISIS is involved somehow.

        • Alternative Pony Ron

          ‘Well, she would have used up valuable surgery that should have gone to an actual American.’
          I’ll bet a cookie that was their EXACT rationale.

          • cmd resistor

            I don’t want to read any comments on this story anywhere because unfortunately there will be lots of people saying that very thing.

    • Robbertjan Brandenburg

      So basically ICE discovered one of their operatives was inside the woman’s head…

      I will see myself out.

    • cmd resistor

      I think they meant she [was] refused surgery, not that she actually refused it.

      • Chadwells

        Exactly…you said it way more succinctly.

      • Chadwells

        They had the surgery scheduled and it was cancelled. The woman with the tumor did not refuse the surgery.

  • WotsAllThisThen

    This guy sounds like a shoo-in for Trump’s special envoy for mideast peace. Or maybe ambassador to Africa.

  • Shibusa

    From the NYT story: Justice Thomas described Mr. Buck’s murders in detail, suggesting that they were proof enough that he remained dangerous and saying that Chief Justice Roberts had relied “on rhetoric and speculation to craft a finding of prejudice.” (?!)

    Thomas has some deep-seated psychological issues.

    • dshwa

      Thomas is an idiot. The case wasn’t saying this guy couldn’t be given a death sentence for other reasons, just not when such blatant racism got said on the stand. Moron.

      • Lance Thrustwell

        When you’re a local law/state’s rights fanatic, you can justify anything by saying ‘who am I to reverse anything but technical mistakes’? Thomas wants SCOTUS to be reduced to the level of clerks and proofreaders.

    • ariel_gee_398

      If have some spare time, this is an entertaining read. It’s the lawyer version of a scathing movie review.
      http://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2488&context=clr

      • puredog

        Also excellent, though a little hard to find, is the book “Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas” by Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson.

        • Darkrose

          That’s a great book; highly recommend.

      • Shibusa

        ‘In a similar vein, recall Thomas’s comment, almost Nixon-like in tenor, that the “numerous congressional investigations in recent years…seem little more than attempts to embarrass the White House.”’25 Circle the wagons! The President is under siege!’ (You can imagine how his rulings will go in any People vs. So-Called President Trump cases.)

        Also, too: ‘Thomas undoubtedly recognized that if he admitted that he had endorsed natural law (often referred to as “higher law”) as a basis for interpreting the Constitution, he would give his opponents ammunition…Natural law is a sufficiently ill-defined and amorphous concept that they could credibly argue that Thomas would use it as a cover to read his personal value preferences into the Constitution….” Jeezus.

        • Thaumaturgist

          In defense of Justice Thomas, in the hands of an “original intent” justice, the United States Constitution itself is sufficiently ill-defined and amorphous to use it as cover for personal value preferences.

  • Martini Ambassador

    In decisions like this, I really wonder what’s going on inside of Thomas’ head. Does he not get that his skin tone means that the Texas judiciary considers him a lesser person? This gives him no insight as to the merits of the argument? I kind of thought empathy and fairness was a necessary component of being an effective Justice.

    • WotsAllThisThen

      Not a lesser justice, only the most violent justice. Every court has one, right?

      • Martini Ambassador

        I’m sure he and Sleepy Ben like to hang out and swap stories about their knife-fighting youthful frolics.

        • dshwa

          I bet those are fascinating chats. For the two seconds they’re both awake at the same time.

    • Mike Steele

      Thomas would consider HIMSELF a lesser person if he actually thought he was black.

      • Skadi

        I have heard it whispered that it has something to do with tensions between Gullah people and “mainstream” African-Americans, who are apparently as prone to sneer “speak English, buddy” as anyone else, and this is also the root cause of his reluctance to speak in public. But that may just be the armchair psychologist brigade.

  • Oblios_Cap

    Texas justice is a bigger oxymoron than military intelligence.

    • LesBontemps

      Maybe because the morons are on oxy?

  • CriticalDragon1177

    You would expect something like this from the deep South in the days of slavery or the Jim Crow era, but not as recent as the nineteen nineties or even more shocking, the early twenty first century.

    So much for the claim that we live in a post racial society. Off course that was already debunked by other things, like the election of Donald Trump.

    • Mike Steele

      Or the 2008 First Supper where (R)s unashamedly united to impede/implode first blah prez, whatever the cost to their country.

      • CriticalDragon1177

        None of them every said it was because he was black through.

        • Mike Steele

          No, Dragon, they didn’t; some things just go without saying. You new around these parts?

  • Warned_and_Persistent

    Just who does Clarence Thomas see when he looks in the mirror?

    • Sardonicuss

      The ghost of Scalia standing behind him telling him what to do.

      • Jeffery Campbell

        The Oda Mae Brown of the SCOTUS.

    • puredog

      Nothing.

      • CriticalDragon1177

        Are you saying Clarence Thomas is a vampire, because if that’s the case, he maybe on the court a lot longer than anyone anticipated. ;)

        • puredog

          Si.

  • Hairstrike Alpha

    So people have told Dr. Quijano that he’s not Caucasian right? Or is that going to be a revelation saved for the Dr. Phil show?

    • Maclare

      Filipino, I think. Maybe.

  • Hairstrike Alpha

    Funny how the pre-requisite to being a conservative when you’re a minority is to passionately hate your own group. I often wonder how they do it….

    • Alternative Pony Ron

      Cognitive dissonance. It’s what’s for dinner.

  • o’look Skwerl!

    I noticed that this was the only case yesterday where Thomas did not agree with both the decision and the dissent. Hmmm….

    • proudgrampa

      Thomas is worthless. I’m convinced all he does is show up for a paycheck.

      • He likes the pretty dress

      • BearDeLaOursistance

        Ya never know. There might be a Coke can that needs decorating.

  • “Dr. Quijano went on to serve for six years as a psychologist for the Texas Youth Commission, working with kids in juvenile corrections facilities.” – Dok Zoom

    Quijano must be one of the characters in this outstanding 1999 Newbury Award winning book:

    http://www.louissachar.com/holes.html

  • IANAL, but my understanding of basic lawyering is that you’re supposed to try to keep your client either out of jail, or not getting the death penalty even if they’re guilty as sin. I guess Texas law schools and the bar exam don’t cover that part.

    • Alternative Pony Ron

      ‘Okay, ladies ‘n gennelmen, here’s the first thing y’all need to know ’bout law in Texas. If th’ defendant’s brown or black he’s guilty. Tomorrow we’ll start coverin’ WHITE law. Class dismissed.’

    • UncleTravelingMatt

      The bare minimum required competency for a criminal lawyer is that they not actively make things worse.

  • Thaumaturgist

    The underlying problem is the jury pool. Would an African-American have been swayed by such an argument? Other than Clarence Thomas?

  • fawkedifiknow

    If Scalia hadn’t inhaled that pillow, the vote would have been 6-3.He’s the genius who said that “actual innocence” is not grounds for reversal of a conviction.

    • redarmyzombie

      May the bastard rot in hell.

  • TundraGrifter

    That DVD looked like fun so I priced it on Amazon. Just $150. Whiskey Tango Foxtwat?

    I read the excellent book – that’s going to have to be enough for now…

    • Maclare

      That shadow of a chair in the background haunts me.

  • Anna Rompage

    Has Alito or Thomas ever cast a decision on the right side of the law, or morality? Just curious….

    • Why are you even asking on that one?

    • Skadi

      I think there was a time Thomas defended a town’s right to outlaw cross-burning, arguing it wasn’t free speech, it was threats and intimidation, and as a black person who’d grown up in the time period he did, he was in a position to know. He was apparently so angry and upset that some of his fellow justices apologized for even considering the opposite, murmuring that they “hadn’t known” or “hadn’t understood”.

      Which says as much about them as about him, I guess.

    • cmd resistor

      Usually if I don’t have time to read the case I skip to see if they are the only dissenters (joined in the past by Saint Scalia). I know that’s wrong, blah blah, read the case.

  • Mavenmaven

    Keeping in mind that the current President *still* believes that 5 innocent kids (falsely accused of the Central Park rape attack) should be executed to death for simply being black.

    • CriticalDragon1177

      Trump at least isn’t dumb enough to come out and say it was because they were black.

      • chicken thief

        President Bannon, however, isn’t so “politically correct”.

    • mrpuma2u

      They are clearly bad hombres.

  • Kitty Smith

    I kind of have to agree that the shitty lawyering wouldn’t have affected the outcome. Texas’ state hobby is murdering people who aren’t white. There’s nothing that helps that along like some justification.

  • ken_kukec

    The other Buck who made it to SCOTUS was Carrie, the black woman who underwent forced sterilization by the Commonwealth of Virginia on the mistaken belief she was “feeble-minded” — the case famous for Justice O.W. Holmes, Jr.’s proclamation that “three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

    • CriticalDragon1177

      Just another unfortunate reminder that the supreme court can’t always be relied upon to make the right decision.

  • Alan

    Hmm.

    “a probability that the defendant would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society.”

    I thought that was the test of whether to incarcerate in a civil society, not kill someone. The criminal justice system in this country is way fucked up. Where in the criminal code is vengeance mentioned?

    • magyar of infinite power

      In the bible, of course

  • UncleTravelingMatt

    At least trial counsel was awake. And sober. And not using cocaine. And present in the courtroom at the time of trial. There has been trouble with those things in the past in Texas capital cases.

    • chicken thief

      So are all courtrooms required to put that warning/disclaimer/reminder on the desks of the trial counsel?

      • UncleTravelingMatt

        Might not be a bad idea.

  • Punkysdilemma

    Yeah. I was born and raised in the Tejas. I moved when Dubya became governor. I disagreed with his gun policy and everything else about him. Wait. Can we replace Orange Head Tiny Hands with Dubya? I would prefer that. Anyway. Back to the sadness of growing up in Texas. It honestly took me a long time to see my own prejudices. But the more I looked at the real experiences of my life the more I understood that white christians seem especially prone to fearfulness. A fear that is not based on actual real things they’ve personally experienced but a fear based on some idea of an unknown thing because they have no personal experience to guide them or their heart. It’s embarrassing that something so obvious took so long to see. If you’re not from the south, you may very well under estimate just how deep and engrained discrimination and fear and hatred is. The other sad thing is some would swear they’re not a racist. It’s all they’ve ever been told to believe.

    • Skadi

      My dad tells me that in Texas, there’s a beautiful, generous woman behind every tree.

      • Mr Canoehead

        Hiding?

    • Beanz&Berryz

      Thank you…. I’m a west coast kid, raised in almost-all-white California middle class suburbs, but without that sort of underlying racial fear. So. (OK. We did have the Zodiac killer, whoever he was, but that’s different.) Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • JustDon’tSayDieInJail

      Not born there, but spent most of my post-college life there. I’m guessing I had a “WTF did I just see?” racism experience around once a year. The casualness of a person I considered a friend saying “nig-KLANG!” in my back yard in 19-ninety-fkn-seven was the clincher.

  • chicken thief

    Damn. And the warden had that cool Truman like “The Buck Stops Here” sign made up and ready to go for the electric chair….

    • JustDon’tSayDieInJail

      boooooooooo!

  • SweetDeeKat

    Doubly crazy because Cornyn referred the case for resentencing and then quivering pustule Greg Abbot said nah, don’t listen to Cornyn, I’m your gubner now.

    OT, Texas actually has an active Innocence Project highly supported by our sentencing judges. This lifts my spirits at times.

  • Thomas and Alito on the wrong side of a case? This is my shocked face!

    • sgt. jmk of the résistance

      Yes! Holy shit! It must be a day!!

  • one_who_wanders

    I am considering changing my screen name to Terrifically Tawdry, either that or my porn name.

    • JustDon’tSayDieInJail

      Why not both?

    • I Am Helpy

      OK, I have no discipline so I’ll be the one to ask. What’s your porn name?

  • chortlingdingo

    I occasionally consider moving out of Texas, because I could be 100% remote at my job and it wouldn’t matter, but then I remember, 1. breakfast tacos and Mexican food, and 2. we can’t all live in the blue states because then we would never win another national election again.

    • JustDon’tSayDieInJail

      I kin haz breakfast burritos at work every day. In California. So nanner nanner nanner!

      (But I do miss the breakfast taco truck that came by most mornings in Austin.)

      • chortlingdingo

        It’s mostly the tortillas and the salsa that are hard to beat here. Also, San Antonio tacos > Austin tacos. ;)

        • JustDon’tSayDieInJail

          If you say so. The one weekend I spent in SA, I didn’t find any Tex-Mex to be much of a much, but then we spent most of the time at or near the fkn riverwalk, so maybe not the best place to sample.

          • chortlingdingo

            Oh, there’s nothing good around the riverwalk. That’s all tourist food.

    • mardam422

      We all thank you for your service.

  • BearDeLaOursistance

    Don Quijano, tilting at windmills again. Or at BBQ joints or basketball gyms, whatever he thinks is stereotypically blacker. Maybe he can hire George Zimmerman to dress up as Sancho Panza.

    • Bitter Scribe

      Pity the poor donkey.

  • HogeyeGrex

    Wait.
    Hold on.
    Let me check my calendar.

    Y’know, it sure looks like there’s a “20” before the “17.”

    • Seriously.
      One of the best signs of the Woman’s March “I can’t believe we still have to protest this shit”
      Same as it ever was.

  • Bitter Scribe

    If every motherfucker who ever used “blacks commit more crimes” as a talking point had been obliged to send me a dime, I could retire.

    • whitroth

      Not only that, but those damn poor people are likely to STEAL other peoples’ property, like, say, bread to feed their family!

      • Once&futureFred

        “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.” Anatole France

  • Panika MCD

    you forgot to list Justice Edith Jones of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals who also buys into this nonsense and once thought it was a good idea to pass it onto University of Pennsylvania law students. (you may find reports that she was a US District Judge in TX, but she has never been one of those. she was plucked directly from the RPT by Reagan to serve on the 5th Circuit.)

    http://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/news/2013-06-04/judge-edith-jones-blacks-and-hispanics-more-violent/

  • whitroth

    Hey, being a white conservative male (and heavily connected to the petrochemical industry) is a major factor in starting wars of conquest and war crimes. (Did I mention Iraq? No. Did I mention Dick-he-is Cheney? No….) Does that mean they should be put to death for war crimes?

  • UnsaltedSinner

    Justices Thomas and Alito. Because of course.

  • Celtic_Gnome

    An all this time, I thought voting Republican was a clear indicator of future dangerousness to society.

  • alpacapunchbowl

    Incompetent or just plain evil? Even a 1L knows that’s shitty lawyering.
    Kinda shocked that Roberts wrote the opinion on this one, but he does surprise me now and then.

    • Beaufighter

      I know right? The guy is full of surprises, never know what to expect.

  • mailman27

    Speaking of BAD GUYS, how ’bout that Sam Alito? He’s a poisonous little snake, the worst of the bunch IMHO.

  • buzz

    I can’t…just can’t
    My cats and I are now heading to bed
    Tomorrow there might be snow or a dusting but I will be drinking strong coffee and ignoring emails from work and it will be good
    Also, there will be grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup

  • i’mjustaskingthequestion

    Makes me wonder…Defence lawyer knows his guy is probably going to get the needle no matter what. Knows that the expert witness is a racist loon. Throws him up there anyway. Incompetent or seeding an appeal?

    I know nothing of this case other than what is contained within this article. But I generally don’t let facts get in the way of my firmly held thoughts.

    • jenny_whyme

      You make an interesting point… except it’s Texas…

      • i’mjustaskingthequestion

        Ah…damn, thought I mighta had something there…

  • bluicebank

    At the risk of indicting myself before any court, I think white people are more dangerous. Historically speaking.

    True, most of us have calmed the fuck down since the shitloads of wars in Europe’s history (plus a few genocides), and the Euro-American genocide of Native Americans, etcetera. Then, too, whiteys from the US to Russian remain locked-and-cocked on thousands of nukes, and support the worldwide trade in arms.

    Individually, though, it’s unreasonable to generalize from the specific to the whole. Just being a white guy doesn’t mean I’m going to tank the world economy. Or blow up the fed building in Oklahoma. Or not pay my taxes and become president. A few bad apples, is what I’m saying, your honor.

  • Christopher Reeve’s Antibodies

    It’s worth pointing out WHY the guy’s reasoning is flawed (and frankly, I suggest amending the article to include this – because right now, it reads like “the evidence was accurate, but we should ignore it anyway”.

    The reason is a very common error in statistical analysis (not just on race, but one that arises time and time again in virtually any setting where there’s statistical prediction of future dangerousness) – double-counting.

    Let’s say that you have person of race ‘A’. Let’s also say that people of race ‘A’ are also economically/socially disadvantaged, and therefore have higher rates of traits ‘B’ and ‘C’, where B and C are correlated with increased risk of violence.

    A, B and C all correlate with increased risk of violence. But that doesn’t mean that you can just add A, B and C together, and say that there’s a greater risk of violence than in a person who only has traits B and C. If the increased risk associated with A is caused by its association with B and C, factoring in A as an additional risk factor is just double-counting the risk from B and C.

    Then you’ve got two more problems. Even if A is associated with B and C, that doesn’t mean that all people with trait A will have the traits B and C. Looking at trait A is going to be seriously misleading compared to looking at B and C by themselves.

    Secondly, even in an extremely improbable scenario, where a MAJORITY of people with trait A are dangerous by virtue of having traits B and C, you still need to know whether the individual you’re assessing is part of that majority. In reality, violence is statistically rare behaviour (not many people commit violence, and most violence is committed by a statistically small subset of any racial sub-group), so the odds are strongly against you guessing this correctly without looking at some further factor.

    That further factor is ‘past violent behaviour’. It’s the only trait that’s a truly powerful predictor of future violent behaviour. So powerful that all other traits (including mental illness, and even severe/psychotic mental illness) are of marginal relevance, especially when you take into account that any risk factors associated with A, B and C are already manifest in the person’s ‘past violent behaviour’.

    Which makes this kind of statistical analysis utterly useless, whether you’re using it for race, schizophrenia, gun ownership, political views, anything at all. The only time in which ANYTHING other than ‘past violence behaviour’ is going to be relevant even minimally, is if the person has only just recently acquired one of those traits.

    Even if the statistician factors in everything above, they STILL end up double-counting. The jury/judge/psychiatrist assessing the future risk makes a casual estimate based on what they know about the offender, and then adds the statistical analysis. But that statistical analysis is based on the same things that they’re already taking into account with their casual estimate, and is less precise than the casual estimate through reliance on generalisation.

  • Nabil Al-Murabit

    I get so fucking tired of hearing that bullshit that Afrikan-Murikans are more violent than european-murikans. To that I have to say who are the majority of your serial killers? European-Murikan males. Who kills more kops (even though I don’t give a damn about that)? White males, and who kommits more krime on white people? White males. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kerry-coddett/white-on-white-crime-an-u_b_6771878.html). Lastly, if people of Afrikan decent are so fucking violent, then 1) why was it so fucking easy to enslave my paternal ancestors and 2) Why weren’t there more slave rebellions?

  • Beaufighter

    Quijano, huh? Sounds like a nice Irish name.

  • 333tenant

    FFS how dd this stinking pile of crap of a case ever get CLOSE to SCOTUS?

    • mardam422

      Ahhh….Texas maybe?

  • motmelere

    How did I know Thomas and Alito were the two dissenters paragraphs before you told us? That’s right, because they truly suck at everything in life.

  • hvdv

    If I were a US American, I’d return my doctorate RN. Apparently, it’s meaningless in this country. At then very least, it needs some asteriskseses.

  • Jennifer Stommel

    This man is a monster, and his actions are unforgivable. And yet, the death penalty in general costs more than life imprisonment (specifically due to the appeal process) and life imprisonment, the most likely lesser sentence he MIGHT have been given at a re-sentencing (not even a retrial ffs), although another death sentence seems equally likely because this is still TX, has the exact same risk of the person being released from prison (ie, none). Texas spent MY tax money on this racist crap just because the have a huge hard on for an eye for and eye. Huh, I wonder what JEZUS said about revenge … something about cheeks? I’m sure these guys would know, Texas loves its bible.

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