Supreme Court Halts Duane Buck Execution

The U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution Thursday of a black man convicted of a double murder in Texas 16 years ago after his lawyers contended his sentence was unfair because of a question asked about race during his trial.

Duane Buck, 48, was spared from lethal injection when the justices, without extensive comment, said they would review an appeal in his case. Two appeals, both related to a psychologist's testimony that black people were more likely to commit violence, were before the court. One was granted; the other was denied.

The United States Supreme Court late Thursday halted the scheduled execution of Duane Edward Buck, the convicted Texas murderer whose 1997 trial was unconstitutionally tainted by improper racial testimony. Buck's attorneys had sought a new sentencing trial after Texas authorities, in 2000, had conceded his trial was unfair. With hours or perhaps even minutes to spare before the lethal injection protocol was to begin in Huntsville, Texas, the Supreme Court agreed to consider Buck's appeal.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has unabashedly stood by executing more people than any governor in history, but lawyers are pleading with Perry not to add to the record by condemning a man whose sentence may have been tainted by racist testimony.