Supreme Court Review 2016/2017 TERM
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2017
CLICK HERE TO TRACK THIS CASE

Issue:  Future Dangerousness Based on Race

Buck v. Davis

15-8049

QUESTION(S) PRESENTED

Duane Buck’s death penalty case raises a pressing issue of national importance: whether and to what extent the criminal justice system tolerates racial bias and discrimination. Specifically, did the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit impose an improper and unduly burdensome Certificate of Appealability (COA) standard that contravenes this Court’s precedent and deepens two circuit splits when it denied Mr. Buck a COA on his motion to reopen the judgment and obtain merits review of his claim that his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for knowingly presenting an “expert” who testified that Mr. Buck was more likely to be dangerous in the future because he is Black, where future dangerousness was both a prerequisite for a death sentence and the central issue at sentencing?

DECISION

Decided February 22, 2017 HOLDING

The Fifth Circuit exceeded the limited scope of the COA analysis. Buck has demonstrated ineffective assistance of counsel under Strickland. The District Court’s denial of Buck’s Rule 60(b)(6) motion was an abuse of discretion.

ROBERTS, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which KENNEDY, GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ALITO, J., joined.

Text of Opinion
pdf download

ORAL ARGUMENT

Argued October 5, 2016

Transcript
pdf download
Audio
mp3 download

PROCEEDING BELOW

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Decided August 20, 2015
pdf download


SUPREME PODCAST COVERAGE

DATE TITLE CASE STAGE LISTEN NOW
2017-03-04 Decision - Future Dangerousness Based on Race Opinion go to coverage