"It's been 201 days of Republican inaction since President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, which means that when oral arguments begin for the fall term on Tuesday, they will still be heard by eight justices instead of nine. Despite the risk of a polarizing case ending in a tie vote, as did the June ruling blocking Obama's plan to allow millions of undocumented immigrants to work, the court has agreed to take on 39 cases so far this term. The docket features important issues, including freedom of religion and speech, insider trading, the death penalty, and racial discrimination........."The constitutionality of the death penalty itself is not on the table, but two related questions are: whether racially biased testimony constitutes inadequate defense and merits an appeal, and to what degree lower courts can decide how to determine mental capacity. Both cases come out of Texas, the state with the most executions. The first case is Buck v. Stephens. Duane Buck, a black man, was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend and her friend in 1995. During his sentencing hearing, the prosecutor asked the defense's expert witness, Walter Quijano, whether black people are more dangerous to society. Quijano replied, "Yes."This testimony is particularly important in Texas, where in order to secure the death penalty a prosecutor must prove to a jury that the defendant is a danger to society, explained Jim Marcus, a clinical professor at the University of Texas Capital Punishment Clinic.In the early 2000s, Texas Attorney General John Cornyn declared he would allow six cases, including Buck's, to be resentenced because of Quijano's testimony, saying the state had erred in allowing racist testimony to be used at death penalty trials. But by the time Buck's case made it to the federal court system, Cornyn was no longer in office, and the new attorney general, Greg Abbott, opposed granting Buck a hearing. Buck's is the only case of the six that has not been allowed an appeal."The bottom line is that Mr. Buck has never had his day in court on this issue," Marcus said. "[The habeas corpus process is] chock-full of procedural technicalities and traps. People lose on technicalities all the time." The justices will decide whether Quijano's racial bias means Buck's trial lawyers were ineffective — remember, he was called as a witness for the defense — and whether the 5th Circuit should allow Buck an appeal. Texas argues that it denied Buck an appeal because he failed to prove that the outcome of this trial would have been different if it weren't for Quijano's testimony.........Oral argument is scheduled for Oct. 5. A 4-4 tie would affirm the Texas court ruling that Buck is not entitled to an appeal. The second case is Moore v. Texas. Bobby Moore has been on death row for 36 years for murdering a 70-year-old store clerk during a robbery. In 2014, a Texas trial court said Moore was mentally disabled and could not be executed, but an appeals court reversed the decision, saying the court was allowed to rely on a medical standard from 1992 to determine a person's mental status until the Texas Legislature decides otherwise. The Supreme Court decided that people with mental disabilities could not be executed back in 2002 in a case called Atkins v. Virginia, but it left that medical determination up to the states..........Moore's lawyers wanted the court to also look at whether spending 36 years on death row, 15 of those in solitary confinement, is cruel and unusual punishment, but the court decided to hear only the first issue. Oral argument has not been scheduled yet, and a 4-4 tie ruling would affirm the Texas court's decision that Moore can be executed."
The entire list - with all eight cases - can be found at the link below;
See The Atlantic story 'The legal fiction that could kill Duane Buck' at the link below..."Like the wandering island, most legal fictions grow up because they allow the law to do things more easily.
But legal fictions can kill. Consider this one: The acts of a lawyer in a capital murder trial are the actions of the defendant. This fiction will be in play next week when the Supreme Court hears Buck v. Davis, a last-ditch death penalty appeal from Texas. Duane Buck is asking the Court to void his death sentence and order a new sentencing hearing because the jury heard testimony that Buck, a black man, was more dangerous than he would have been if he had been white. If Buck’s appeal is rejected, it will be largely because the incompetent lawyer who let this impermissible, false, and unconstitutional “expert” testimony go to the jury was his own state-supplied lawyer—and thus in a legal sense, Buck himself."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/
Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.