This week, the U.S. Supreme Court took the extraordinary step of issuing an emergency delay in the execution of Texas death row inmate Duane Buck just moments before he was to be killed, citing concern over the use of racist testimony in his sentencing hearing. Buck confessed to killing three people, but was given the death penalty after a psychologist told the jury that because Buck is black, he would be more likely to commit future violence if allowed to live.
While campaigning at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in western Iowa yesterday, Perry addressed the issue, saying the high court was “taking the appropriate path“:
He added: “They are taking the appropriate path in my opinion and justice will be served at some point in the future.”
Perry said the Texas legal system is well equipped to handle capital punishment cases.
“We have a clear appeals process that is followed in every case. Whether or not you agree with the appeal or not is your call,” he said. “I have full confidence that people have their full and open right to a jury trial, to an appellate process and to any other appeals that are appropriate. In the state of Texas, we believe in our form of justice, we think it’s appropriate.”
Watch it via CNN:
It’s strange that Perry says he thinks the Supreme Court’s stay was “appropriate,” considering that by all accounts, Perry was going to allow the execution to proceed. Buck had run out of all other options through the traditional appeals process, leaving his only hope of life in Perry’s hands, yet the governor had not acted by the time the Supreme Court did, which was at the very last minute.
Moreover, the Supreme Court’s intervention shows Texas’ appeals process is not effective “in every case,” as Perry claims. Everyone from Buck’s prosecutors to one of his victims had asked for a new sentencing hearing for the inmate, something that had been granted to other inmates sentenced with racist testimony, but the state had refused. Asked about Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX), who used to serve as the state’s attorney general, doubts in the case, Perry said, “John is a former attorney general, he’s a United States senator, but he unilaterally doesn’t make decisions in the state of Texas,” Perry said.