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man faces execution after jury consulted bible


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  #1  
October 15th, 2009, 06:38 PM
Jarheadwed's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Texas man faces execution after jurors consult Bible to decide fate - Telegraph

Should he receive a new judgment?
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  #2  
October 16th, 2009, 08:09 AM
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I dunno. Seems like if he shot a guy in the face and beat him with a rifle it was probably the right call regardless BUT the fact that a bible was used in the deliberation room to help make this decision is deeply disturbing. What if this had been a hate crime?

Suppose the man shot the man in the face and beat him with the rifle because he was gay? Then suppose the jury consulted the bible, and instead found a passage stating that homosexuality is "wrong" and then aquitted the murderer based on that?

So kind of a tough call. They made a descent decsion but set a dangerous precedent...
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  #3  
October 16th, 2009, 08:13 AM
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My opinion is overturn the decision (b/c I don't believe the death penalty is a good means of punishment, and a Bible was used). Honestly, though, is it really any different than those 4 people quoting the Bible from memory without the Bible there? Or saying, "Well, in the Bible if you murder someone you have to die" without physically having the book?
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  #4  
October 16th, 2009, 08:23 AM
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I think it should stand. It was a jury of his peers judging him... they did nothing wrong and I thinks its wrong to want to judge the jury for how they made their decision. Who cares if they used the bible, its not like its evil powers made them want to kill the guy, ya know?


eta: do you still have to swear on the bible in court? anyone know? just curious...
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Last edited by $pryNinja; October 16th, 2009 at 08:27 AM.
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  #5  
October 16th, 2009, 08:27 AM
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Nope his sentence should stand.
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  #6  
October 16th, 2009, 08:32 AM
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Hmmmm... I don't know. I don't think there is anything wrong with an individual using a Bible to come to their own conclusion, but the fact that there were government supplied Bibles with verses highlighted seems a little bit weird to me.

I am a little confused though, were the jurors deciding this guy's sentence, or just his guilt? I didn't think jurors usually assigned sentences. I'm guessing that they were deciding his guilt, and the sentence associated with the charge is death, and in that case, I think the verdict would have been the same regardless.
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  #7  
October 16th, 2009, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donomama View Post
Hmmmm... I don't know. I don't think there is anything wrong with an individual using a Bible to come to their own conclusion, but the fact that there were government supplied Bibles with verses highlighted seems a little bit weird to me.
That is a bit weird, just read that too... but it would depend on who highlighted and supplied the bibles... was it the court itself or just a jury member? If it was another jury member then its no different than trying to sway the opinions of the others thru any other means. I think thats what jury's are meant to do.. if there was evidence to dispute his guilt then you would think they would have focused on that. But I do think jury's can suggest sentences but the judge is the one who carries them out... no?
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  #8  
October 16th, 2009, 08:55 AM
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  #9  
October 16th, 2009, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by donomama View Post
Hmmmm... I don't know. I don't think there is anything wrong with an individual using a Bible to come to their own conclusion, but the fact that there were government supplied Bibles with verses highlighted seems a little bit weird to me.

I am a little confused though, were the jurors deciding this guy's sentence, or just his guilt? I didn't think jurors usually assigned sentences. I'm guessing that they were deciding his guilt, and the sentence associated with the charge is death, and in that case, I think the verdict would have been the same regardless.
In Colorado, at least, the first half of a death penalty case is deciding guilt. The second phase is to decide the sentence - death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. I believe Texas also uses that system and if I am remembering right, it is unconstitutional for a judge to decide death or LWOP (I'm specifically remembering the three judge panels used in death penalty cases in Colorado that were declared unconstitutional by SCOTUS). In this case, the jury was deciding sentencing - the man was already declared guilty.

I think it should be overturned - and I think the Appeals court deliberately ignored the CLEAR evidence that this influenced their decision. I mean come on, several copies with HIGHLIGHTED PASSAGES were passed out to the jurors. How anyone could come to the conclusion that that is okay and constitutional, and that there isn't any "clear evidence" that they were influenced is just beyond me.
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  #10  
October 16th, 2009, 11:08 AM
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The death sentence should be commuted. The fact that the Federal Appeals courts have acknowledged that the use of a Bible is an outside influence and, therefore, unconstitutional but upheld the sentence is appalling, IMO.

If this man had been Muslim and had brutally killed his sister for being "too liberal", as an "honor killing", and a jury of his peers referenced and cited the Quran, would anyone think it was acceptable?
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  #11  
October 16th, 2009, 11:15 AM
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Nope nope nope nope nope. Using the bible in this manner violates the individual's Constitutional rights. The sentence should be overturned.
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  #12  
October 16th, 2009, 11:18 AM
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Bible or no bible, execution is abhorrent and shameful.

As for those referencing the bible to justify such a despicable practice, I guess the person doing the highlighting never made it to the New Testament, eh? Shame.
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  #13  
October 16th, 2009, 11:31 AM
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No, unacceptable, and I'm Christian and would use my Bible based faith in making a decision - but for me personally and within the confines of secular law, not by handing out highlighted verses to the entire jury.

Funny how people will view the Bible in a different way though. It's because of my Bible belief that I would never decide for another human being to die - I don't feel it's my place, only God's. But, my beliefs on this would be a whole other debate
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  #14  
October 16th, 2009, 03:22 PM
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I too think it should be overturned. A religious text should not be considered when handing out a punishment in the US.
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  #15  
October 16th, 2009, 03:36 PM
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As for the question on whether you have to swear on the bible or not, I can say that I did not when I was questioned once. I was asked if I was religious, and when I said no I was made sign a document. ( this was in Canada )

I think the decision should be overturned. He is supposed to be judged by a jury of he peers, not a religious text.
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  #16  
October 16th, 2009, 05:12 PM
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I too think it should be overturned. I don't agree with the death penalty anyway but the idea that bibles were used to reach his verdict is unconstitutional regardless.
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  #17  
October 17th, 2009, 12:34 PM
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Another one that says overturned. He is supposed to be judged according to the LAW not according to RELIGION. I personally find it appalling. As PP said, I understand individuals being swayed by their individual beliefs, but to use religion as a group involving sentencing reminds me of Salem frankly.
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  #18  
October 17th, 2009, 12:55 PM
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At least in my state, you don't swear on a bible. You swear to tell the truth with the understanding you'll be thrown in jail for perjury if you lie.

And this absolutely should be overturned. I don't even know how these jurors made it through voir dire. Jury instructions are VERY clear in stating jurors are bound to make their decision based on the law and what was presented in the courtroom and nothing else. Attorneys usually ask if potential jurors will be able to separate their personal feelings and beliefs from their task at hand. A typical question is "if you believe marijuana should be legalized, will you still be able to find a defendant guilty of possession of marijuana?"
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  #19  
October 18th, 2009, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jess5377 View Post
Bible or no bible, execution is abhorrent and shameful.

As for those referencing the bible to justify such a despicable practice, I guess the person doing the highlighting never made it to the New Testament, eh? Shame.
I completely agree. The death penalty is disgusting. I can't support it any way around it. As far as the law is concerned it's horrifying that they used the bible in the trial or sentencing. Yuck. New trial please.
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