It certainly is hard to believe, but this past week the Supreme Court ordered a halt to a prisoner’s execution based on the trial court having permitted a state witness to testify that the Defendant was more likely to re-offend because he is black. Let’s just take a moment to let that sink in…

The state presented–and the trial judge allowed–a state psychologist to testify that one of the identifying markers of “future likelihood of dangerousness” was the Defendant’s race.

Now before you panic and think you’re having a “Back to the Future” moment where you’ve woken up in 19th century America, let me reassure you that in reality this did not happen in the United States. It happened in Texas.

In it’s response to the Defendant’s appeal to the Supreme Court, Texas takes the position that this insidious race-baiting testimony had no bearing on the jury’s decision to sentence the Defendant to death. And you know what? Maybe they’re right. But that’s really not the point, is it?

By: David Edelstein September 18, 2011.