NEW VOICES: Former Texas Assistant District Attorney Now Wants to Halt Execution

Linda Geffin (pictured) was one of the Texas prosecutors who won a conviction and death sentence for Duane Buck in 1997.  She is now the division chief of the Special Prosecutions Unit in the Office of the Harris County Attorney, and she is urging Gov. Rick Perry and other state officials to stop Buck's September 15 execution because improper race evidence was put before the jury considering his sentence.  In a letter to state officials, Geffin said that former Texas Attorney General John Cornyn had previously acknowledged the "improper injection of race in the sentencing hearing in Mr. Buck's case," and that "No individual should be executed without being afforded a fair trial, untainted by considerations of race."  On June 9, 2000, Cornyn called for new sentencing trials for the defendents who had been improperly sentenced to death because of the racially biased testimony.  Of those seven defendents, Buck is the only one who has not been granted a new sentencing.

(Letter from Linda Geffin to Texas state officials, Sept. 9, 2011).  See also Press Release from the Texas Defender Service here; and Only Texas Inmate Not Resentenced After Admittedly Racially Biased Testimony Faces Execution. More generally, see New Voices and RaceUPDATE: See article by Andrew Cohen in the Atlantic on Buck's case (Sept. 13, 2011).  Buck was denied a recommendation of clemency by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. UPDATE: Buck's execution was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 15, 2011.