Bible is improper influence on jury

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Agent_Smith, Mar 30, 2005.

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  1. Im not sure what i think on this. One side of me says that the bible (or any religion) shouldnt have a place in the courtroom, but another side of me says that if their religion aids them in the way they live their lives, then why not apply that to wether they think someone is guilty?

    The worst part is that depite him admiting the murder, he was left off because of the 'bibles' external influence on the case. Surely common sense should lead the judge into not scrapping the conviction, but hell, the law doesnt work to common sense does it?

    Murder conviction overturned because of bible's external influence
  2. The Bible would also have told them to kill homosexuals,not to eat rabbits and shellfish and not to cook baby goats in milk!
  3. Wacky though this decision sounds, I think the Supreme Court is right to outlaw the use of such a contentious book.

    Given the level of wholesale misinterpretation of The Bible (particularly in the US), I would be deeply unsettled if a member of any jury reached for it as a method of justifying their verdict. Some of the finest minds in the game cannot agree on the exact meaning of large tracts of that text so the idea that a verdict was reached based upon a layman's very probably skewed interpretation of The Bible fills me with dread.

    The fact that he was acquitted as a result does not sit so well.
  4. He wasn't aquitted, the sentance was changed to Life without parole.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. I stand corrected Mike.
  6. I cannot see what possible relevance the bible would have when considering whether a person is guilty of a crime. Their decision should be made after considering the evidence presented to them in court. What should not be of influence are personal beliefs, the media, religeous teachings or whether the defendant is a bit of all right. Only the yanks could be so daft.
  7. The Colorado Supreme Court was looking [at least three of the justices] for any reason to over turn the death penalty conviction.

    This is a better article concerning the case:

    Added the whole text since it appears that the online version is subscriber based. Full credit to NY Times

    Colorado law requires that jurors use a "moral compass" when determining whether the death penalty should be impossed. How much moral then consulting the bible.

    More proof that the Judiciary in the US is way the feck out of control, continually legislating from the bench instead of ruling on the facts and basing their decisions on the constitutionality as written. 8O
  8. Wasn't the crime that was being decided, that had already occured, it was the penalty phase. And if you read the article above you will see that they were required to look at the morality of sentecing him to death, which appears is what they did.
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  9. One wonders whether that juror that brought the Bible in used it as a mean to coerce the other jurors along the lines of "Look, God says kill him if you don't kill him you'll all go to Hell,". If he knew what the Bible said he had no reason to bring it in except to show it to the other jurors, which would probably count as an "outside influence - if they didn't know what it said he had no business telling them - sort of thing".
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  10. For a change i'm on the religious bloke's side.

    If you really do belive in the whole god and his sidekick thing, and it makes a substantial part of your ethical outlook, why shouldn't you read it. On another point, even if the people in question knew the passages it may have helped them to think about what they should do.

    *reads back*

    If that makes any sense i'll be surprised.

    Ah fucit, he's still going to rot in jail, could be worse.
  11. I find that the hypocrasy of the defence attorney is astounding.

    So the defence argues to spare him and bases it on biblical references, and introduces the fact that the accused [well convicted at this point] reads the bible. Yet, they want the death sentence overturned because the jurors actually used the Good Book in aiding a moral decision, and 3 of the Justices sided with the defence....come on this decision was not based on facts in evidence or in law but were personal agendas being spouted from the bench.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. What did you expect from lawyers! :wink:
  13. DOH :oops:
  14. What surprises me is that the jurors were required to decide wether the convicted should face the death penalty.

    Surely this should be a judicial (law makers/interprators) decision rather than one taken by laymen (no offence meant to the jury)

    It just doesn tmake sense to force that judgement on the jury. All they should be asked was wether he was guilty and then the judge applies the appropriate sentence. On top of that, is there not evidence that when the jury has the ability to dish out the death sentence, the occurence of jury intimidation (murder etc) is far higher?

    just seems a bit daft to me :?
  15. I think jurors are supposed to base their decisions on the evidence and arguments presented to them and not find their own. As I said before I would have thought it would depend on how much the Bible-bashing juror used it to coerce the other jurors particularly given (as has been discussed elsewhere re: Koran) the dependency on interpretation and tendency to contradiction of religious texts.
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