I don’t like this:
The federal appeals court in San Francisco yesterday upheld a death sentence from a jury that had consulted the Bible’s teachings on capital punishment.
In a second decision on the role of religion in the criminal justice system, the same court ruled Friday that requiring a former prisoner on parole to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous violated the First Amendment’s ban on government establishment of religion.
In the capital case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit split 9 to 6 on the question of whether notes including Bible verses prepared by the jury’s foreman and used during sentencing deliberations required reversal of the death sentence imposed on Stevie L. Fields in 1979.
Mr. Fields, on parole after serving time for manslaughter, committed a series of rapes, kidnappings and robberies, and murdered Rosemary Cobbs, a student librarian at the University of Southern California.
After the jury convicted Mr. Fields and while it was deliberating his sentence, the foreman, Rodney White, conducted outside research, consulting several reference works and preparing a list of pros and cons on the death penalty that he shared with fellow jurors. On the pro side, he quoted passages from the Bible, including this one from Exodus: “He that smiteth a man, so that he dies, shall surely be put to death.”
They then sentenced him to having his eye gouged out a tooth pulled. Just kidding.
In all seriousness, I don’t think I need to go into detail as to why this is a bad thing.
I don’t get it, John. Upheld, despite the biblical reference in deliberations. Every jurist has a set of beliefs and its not wrong to use those beliefs to pursuad other jurors. BTW, Jaun Cole is depressing today. Basically, the next president is screwed because they will have to deal with Iraq. Nice work bush, political to the end.
This guy should have been screened off the jury panel to begin with. That said, once he’s on there, I don’t see how “My bible says eye-for-an-eye” is any different than “My personal belief is you gotta kill a guy for killing a guy”. It looks like this juror was at least attempting to attack the problem rationally and reasonably. If he’d walked into the deliberation room, quoted the Bible, and proclaimed, “Hang’m High” we might have a problem. But many people consider state executions a moral crisis, and many people turn to the Bible in times of moral crisis. Some people in our country lean heavily on religion when making life choices. Welcome to America.
The Other Steve
It rather depends on who is leading the group. AA has been abused by some religious fools.
Don’t you get it, John? The Bible is the basis of mankind in general and the US in particular. This country is the one Jebus actually pays attention to, and it was founded by the Bible (the founding fathers? Just sentient Bibles) for the Bible. If we stray from the Bible, then we get Islamocommienazis, hurricanes, gay sex, recreational abortions, the resurrection of Stalin, and science. Is that what you want, John? Huh? Is it?
I am opposed to the death penalty anyway (but would lie about this so as NOT be excluded from jury duty on a capital crime…sorry, but that’s the way it is) but a sure-fire way for me to rule on an issue is to bring the Bible or the Koran or the Talmud, etc, into it. Whatever those books/quotes/stanzas supposedly call for, I will vote for the direct opposite.
There’s a problem, of course, if the idiot slimebag biblethumper comes in with citations from his/her bible both for and against a certain type of punishment…in that case I guess I go with my own proclivity (against the death penalty).
Seriously, someone bring the bible into it and that, to me, is simply itching for a fight. I immediately become inclined to go the opposite direction of them bible spewage. It’s a reflex, like a hammer tap on the knee.
And whenever his exicution dose take place and abunch of liberal bleedinghearts show up to light their candles and protest against the exiction calling it legalized murder ask them if they support abortion and urge them to set their candles on the ground and squat down over them
Well, right. Except there are large swaths of the Bible I’m perfectly happy with – mercy, charity, law and order, forgiveness, peace, love, cannibalism. I’m for all those things. If a guy needs a holy book to make him feel better about feeding the starving, healing the sick, and clothing the naked, I say that’s fine. If he needs a holy book to justify punishing the wicked, whatever.
It is worth noting that the foreman “conducted outside research, consulting several reference works”. He didn’t just crack open the Bible and say, “Jesus done says he gotta fry”.
The man approached capital punishment from a more philosophical bent than I’d prefer, but I fail to see how it would be unConstitutional, or even bad, if more jurors didn’t give the death penalty this much thought. Even if they do come to the wrong conclusions.
I don’t like this anymore than you. Less, probably. Hey, let’s go all the way to literal stonings, videos on Fox Noise and webcast 24/7?
As the cliche goes, “Beam me up, Scotty…”
By law any juror can discuss any thought process, written or mental that leads them”as a person” to make their own decision. If you can cite different, let me know.
And well I’ll be. What is it that I “swear on”, it’s not the trillions of documents written since. Maybe, you would like it so”but only for certain cases”
It should be a felony to eat lobster too.
I have been reading the Bible for the first time recently.
One passage I read (Leviticus or Numbers, I think) has the Israelites stoning to death a man who is discovered gathering sticks on the Sabbath. Jehovah is consulted, and He signs off on it.