Powered by
Movable Type 3.2
Design by
Danny Carlton

Made with NoteTab

October 04, 2005

US Supreme Court outlaws Bible

From the Denver Post...

Robert Harlan, the man convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering Rhonda Maloney in 1994, escaped death Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a Colorado decision saying jurors who imposed the death penalty were improperly influenced by a Bible.

Harlan was convicted of raping Maloney, 25, for hours near Interstates 76 and 25. But Maloney managed to escape when motorist Jacquie Creazzo slowed down and Maloney jumped into her car. Harlan followed the two, shot Creazzo in the spine, paralyzing her, and abducted Maloney. Maloney's body was found days later.

District Judge John Vigil threw out the death sentence because the jurors brought a Bible into the jury room and looked up passages that mandated death for murderers. The Colorado Supreme Court upheld Vigil's ruling. The court said the unauthorized introduction of a Bible and its text commanding death for murder would improperly influence the "typical juror."

David Kaplan, state public defender, said Monday that it is improper for jurors to consult anything but court-approved exhibits and courtroom testimony.

Apparently an even worse thing to bring into a courtroom than the Bible would be common sense. Most Americans who call themselves Christians (note: this would be a much, much larger group than actual Christians) haven't the foggiest idea what the Bible says, and will routinely invent scriptures to rationalize excuses for doing whatever they want. I heard a woman once rationalize abortion by saying it was making the aborted baby an angel, so it was a good thing (angels are not people who have died, the Bible clearly teaches that they are a separate, created type of being)

It would be impossible to keep idiots from bringing their collection of rationalized and invented scriptures into a jury room. By bringing the actual Bible, the fact that what they imagined was scripture, actually isn't, would allow them to come to come to a decision based on facts rather than invented rules.

This is a terrible decision, apparently, though, made by one justice. The SCOTUS order list simply says...

The motion of respondent for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied. The Chief Justice took no part in the consideration or decision of this motion and this petition.

I could find no information about which justice made the decision. If the SCOTUS wants to handle cases this way, they could at least offer the courtesy of letting the American public know which one of them is screwing us out of our rights.

Posted by Danny Carlton at October 4, 2005 07:14 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


The way the Supreme Court works, it takes the vote of four of the nine justices to hear a case. If three or fewer justices agree to hear it, then youe "writ of certiorari" is denied and you are out of luck.

In this case, I have no doubt that all 8 of the associate justices read the writ of ceriorari (the Chief wouldn't have because, obviously, Rehnquist was gone and Roberts's induction onto the Court was still pending when the writs were reviewed this summer). Every justice had to vote yea or nay on whether to hear the case, and apparently they couldn't muster the interest of four justices.

That doesn't mean that the members of the Court agree with the decision, as they only hear about 80-90 cases per year, out of about 10,000 requests. The denial of cert isn't really indicative of the attityude of the justices on the issues involved.

Posted by: Pyrodeus at October 4, 2005 03:44 PM

Yet by their inaction they establish the precedence that the Bible may not be referenced by a jury. People's fuzzy, foggy and hazy memories of what they think the Bible may say, of course, is allowed. Omission can cause as much harm as commission.

Posted by: Danny Carlton at October 4, 2005 03:53 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)

Security verification

Type the characters you see in the image above.