The Supreme Court rejected the use of “racial stereotypes” in death penalty cases Wednesday, reopening the case of a black man in Texas who was sentenced to die after his jury was told African Americans are more likely than whites to commit crimes.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said this testimony had no place in a sentencing hearing and “appealed to the racial stereotype that black men are prone to violence.”
“Our laws punish people for what they do, not for who they are,” the chief justice said in the courtroom.
The 6-2 decision faults Texas authorities for refusing to give a new sentencing hearing to Duane Buck, a Houston man who was convicted of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend and seriously injuring her new boyfriend in 1995.
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