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  1. #1
    FigerPuppet
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    Default Jurors consulted Bible to decide fate

    Amnesty International has appealed to the state to commute the sentence on Khristian Oliver, 32, who is due to die on November 5.

    He was sentenced to death in 1999 for murdering a man whose home Oliver was burgling. The victim was shot in the face and beaten with his own rifle.

    It later emerged that while deciding whether he should be given the death penalty, jurors consulted the Bible. Four jury members admitted that several copies had been in the jury room and that highlighted passages were passed around.

    At one point, a juror reportedly read aloud from a copy, including the passage: "And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death."

    Defence lawyers argued in appeals that jurors had been improperly influenced by the Bibles but the trial judge rejected the claim, a decision upheld by a Texas appeals court.

    The US constitution calls for the separation of state and religion. In 2005, the state supreme court in Colorado overturned a death penalty on a convicted murderer because jurors had consulted the Bible while deliberating over his sentence.

    Commuting Robert Harlan's sentence to life imprisonment without parole, the court ruled that the Bible constituted an "improper outside influence" and a reliance on what it called a "higher authority".

    However, a federal appeals court ruled last year that while the Bible should not have been allowed into the deliberation room at Oliver's trial, there was no clear evidence to indicate they had influenced the jurors' decision. In April this year, the US Supreme Court refused to hear Oliver's appeal.

    Kate Allen, Amnesty International's UK director, said Oliver's trial was a "travesty".

    "Religious texts provide consolation and spiritual guidance for billions of people the world over, but this use of the Bible to decide life or death in a capital trial is deeply, deeply troubling," she said.
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    I agree with Kate Allen. This is outrageous. Why stop at murder? We might as well begin sentencing adulterers to death if we're going to use the Bible as a guide for how harsh punishment should be. (exaggeration promotes understanding of the issue here)

  2. #2
    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    Wow, scary.
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  3. #3
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmileyMan View Post
    Article

    I agree with Kate Allen. This is outrageous. Why stop at murder? We might as well begin sentencing adulterers to death if we're going to use the Bible as a guidance for how harsh punishment should be. (exaggeration promotes understanding of the issue here)
    I tend to think juries should be able to decide however they like. Whether or not anyone outside the trial agrees with the decision is irrelevant. Being tried by a jury is a civil right. When you take power away from a jury, you take power out of the hands of the common man.
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    Senior Member StrappingYoungLad's Avatar
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    What does the bible say about those who do wrong judgments in life-deciding matters?
    Dishonest ISFPs make me sad.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jaguar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StrappingYoungLad View Post
    What does the bible say about those who do wrong judgments in life-deciding matters?
    Death by hanging.

  6. #6

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    Everyone who serves on a jury must use their own judgment to come to a decision on such matters. And there are a multitude of moral and ethical frameworks that individual jurors will bring to bear on such a decision. I'm not sure how you can overturn the case on this basis without making a statement that anyone who holds religious belief is ineligible to serve. Many people will make decisions on the same grounds or using the same thought process regardless of the presence of the Bibles. They're kind of a red herring here.

    That said, I'm troubled by the presence of the Bibles in the jury room, unless they were brought in by the jurors themselves.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    what's worse is amnesty international had to get involved. I'm sorry but that's pathetic. The real issue here is the fact that state and religion should be kept seperate this is not the case, they were clearly ignoring the constitution. the only reason why they got away with it is because it's the bible but if they took some other book and read a passage from that it would have been quickly overturned.
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

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    Senior Member iamathousandapples's Avatar
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    How about killing those who eat shellfish and wear cotton-polyester clothing, too?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jaguar's Avatar
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    Good idea.

  10. #10
    Senior Member TopherRed's Avatar
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    Jesus may have overrode all the OT stuff when he said: "Love your neighbor as yourself", and went a step further to say:

    "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:44-45

    To me, at least, I think of the screwed up life this thief had and all the jacked up people that influenced his life. I'm not saying that he shouldn't be locked away for the rest of his life for what he did, and held responsible, but I'm more concerned about a soul that should be given the opportunity for salvation, then I am about vengence. Though I hope I'm never tested on that personally.

    And no, I don't advocate prisoners being forced to hear about God, but I do advocate giving them the option.
    Love is the point.

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