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Texas man faces execution after jurors consult Bible to decide fate

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posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:01 PM
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reply to post by thisguyrighthere
 


It may very well be just another variable, but that doesn't make it right.

I know we are all shaped by our perceptions etc, especially in a situation such as this, but ato take out a bible and actually quote scripture?

And old testament scripture at that, which doesn't relate to christianity at all, except insofar as the OT was a forerunner of the NT.

Besides which, I have always maintained that organised religion is little more than a social control mechanism - so I am somewhat biased in my thinking.

Even so, in the pre-trial questionnaire the question of biblical influence should be addressed IMO.




posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:01 PM
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The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

  • The passage referenced is from the Old Testament, which, while it is referenced as a basis for understanding the New Testament, is more the basis of Judaic, not just Christian faiths.

  • The article states that:

    Four jury members admitted that several copies had been in the jury room and that highlighted passages were passed around.
    Source: www.telegraph.co.uk...

    A jury is comprised of 12 people. As I understand it, a capital sentence must be delivered by a unanimous vote of those 12, not by a simple majority. So, if 4, or even 11 people decided to base their decision on a Biblical passage, the remaining would have had to be convinced of guilt through more accepted means.

  • The article further states:

    The US constitution calls for the separation of state and religion.
    Source: www.telegraph.co.uk...

    This is not exactly true. The words "separation of church and state" do not appear in the US Constitution. The reference is to the beginning of Amendment 1:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...
    Source: www.usconstitution.net...

    This has been interpreted by a large portion of society to mean "separation of church and state", but those are not the actual words. I, as well as others, believe the wording to mean something slightly different: separation of church from state.

  • There are no specific requirements in the US Constitution to address who can be a juror, what they can believe, or how they may come to a decision. this could be argued to be a problem, but at this time it is not addressed. This means that, legally at least, a juror may make a decision in whatever manner or based on whatever belief they wish.

  • The case itself sounded open and shut. After 5 pages of Google results, I have found nothing, not even the slightest hint of any problem in the trial itself, save for the fact that some jurors may have read from a Bible while deliberating. I did, however, find this:

    Summary of incident

    On 03/17/98, Oliver and three juvenile co-defendants were in the process of burglarizing the residence of a 64-year old white male. Oliver and the co-defendants were in the house and Reed was in the vehicle. The victim surprised Oliver and Oliver shot the victim in the face with a 380-caliber handgun. The victim was beaten around the head with the butt of a rifle. Oliver and the co-defendants fled the scene. They were arrested in a motel in Waco, Texas.
    Source: www.tdcj.state.tx.us...

    Since no hint of improper prosecution has been offered, I must accept that Khristian Oliver is indeed guilty of shooting a homeowner in the face with a gun, while actively robbing the man's home. Here in Alabama, that is an offense that can carry the death penalty, since it is premeditated (he had a loaded gun and was apparently prepared to use it without provocation) and committed while in the act of committing another felony (burglary). I can only assume from this story that Texas has similar laws. Therefore, the conviction was appropriate and the sentence was within the limits of the law.

  • I am a bit taken aback by the fact that the referenced source in this case, which is an American legal issue, is a British news source. Of course it is still valid, I just find it unusual that domestic sources were not used...


TheRedneck

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:04 PM
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Erm...

Did they miss the part, which read "thou shall not kill"?



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:07 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


I agree that this was pretty much an "open and shut" case, but that doesn't really excuse the use of biblical "inspiration" by the jurors.

After all, if it was that open and shut, why would they need divine guidance?

I'm also glad you raised the source - I dread to think that it has not been deemed newsworthy in the US only because people consider this a right and proper way to conduct deliberations.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:10 PM
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reply to post by budski
 


If your gripe is with "christians" or "religion" itself that's entirely different with being concerned about influencing variables tainting the jury.

I'm not religious. I dont really care one way or the other about it. Personally, I dont know anyone who does. So I'm not going to defend it or attack it. And if that's the purpose of the thread I'll leave you and others to it.

Corruption of the jurors process is an entirely different thing. Ones religion or belief is simply another variable.

If you're going to question prospective jurors about their religious beliefs out of fear of tainting the outcome then if your fear or concern is of a tainted outcome is genuine you must interview and question on all variables. An infinite number of factors. Or, remove the jury from the process entirely.

As long as a single human being is involved there is no such thing as fairness or impartiality with or without religion.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:12 PM
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This paticular question is not about if the guy was guilty or not.
It's about proper and lawful proceedure. If courts themselves circumvent the law, then there is no law. We have laws and courts for a reason, religion is not the reason. If proper proceedure is not followed, the law is not followed.
These are not technicalites folks, these are the basic principles of justice.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:18 PM
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The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

reply to post by budski

Oh, there are domestic mentions of the incident... plenty of them. granted, most are more blogs than news, but it doesn't sound as though any part of the guilt vs. innocence of Mr. Oliver is ever questioned; he did it.

Most of the stories concern not his guilt or innocence, but whether a murderer should be set free because a juror used a Bible.


In any case, I accept the facts presented by the source. Truth can come form any source, and only a fool tosses out information without vetting it without regard to source.

I should mention that had I been one of the jurors deliberating, I would have ignored any legal arguments from other jurors that were based on the Bible, and probably would have admonished them for making such arguments. My decision would have been made based on my own beliefs and the evidence as to whether or not he did it, whether or not there were mitigating circumstances, and whether or not I believed he deserved the same fate as his victim (death). I'm sure you know what I would have decided; I just would not have needed a Biblical passage to decide it.

TheRedneck

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:21 PM
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reply to post by thisguyrighthere
 


My gripe isn't with religion per se, more how it is used as a justification in certain circumstances.

I disagree that the variables are limitless - religion in some area's is the single biggest influence in some demographics.

I also think that the question of "religious law" is worth addressing, as some who are most vocal about their religion constantly castigate certain other religions for using theology as a judicial tool.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:24 PM
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  • Thou shall not kill
  • Thou shall not steal
  • Thou shall not bear false witness

    What about the laws that line up with one of these Ten Commandment? Should they be ruled unconstitutional as well? You don't have to do everything in the Bible but that doesn't mean you throw the baby out with the bath water. If there's some common sense in there, then use it.



    Exodus 22:5
    If a man grazes his livestock in a field or vineyard and lets them stray and they graze in another man's field, he must make restitution from the best of his own field or vineyard.


    If you break something that belongs to someone else, ya got to pay it back. Unconstitutional or just plain common sense regardless of where you read it from?



  • posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:24 PM
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    Originally posted by budski

    I also think that the question of "religious law" is worth addressing, as some who are most vocal about their religion constantly castigate certain other religions for using theology as a judicial tool.



    That's not an issue with "religious law" if both parties are practicing "religious law." It's an issue with hypocrisy and intellectual inconsistency.



    posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:25 PM
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    reply to post by wouldu
     


    The jurors are obligated to use Texas law, not "divine" or "God's" law.
    If a juror can not do this, they don't belong on a jury.

    [edit on 16-10-2009 by OldDragger]



    posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:26 PM
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    reply to post by TheRedneck
     


    Interesting point, but made more so because I am opposed to capital punishment, and the modern concept of capital punishment has its roots in aspects of theoloogy and/or the social control which arises from it.

    My thinking on this, is that in order to maintain the credibility of the court and the judicial process, something needs to be SEEN to be done - just as people are focussing on this aspect of the jury deliberations.

    Otherwise it just gives unscrupulous groups ammunition to attack the justice system.



    posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:28 PM
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    Originally posted by thisguyrighthere

    Originally posted by budski

    I also think that the question of "religious law" is worth addressing, as some who are most vocal about their religion constantly castigate certain other religions for using theology as a judicial tool.



    That's not an issue with "religious law" if both parties are practicing "religious law." It's an issue with hypocrisy and intellectual inconsistency.


    But as we regularly see, one "side" openly admits to using religious law, while the other "side" takes the moral high ground, conveniently forgetting that exactly the same principles apply in their own country but are not admitted to.



    posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:28 PM
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    reply to post by budski
     


    That explains alot.

    You are anti corpral punishment AND anti religion.

    Put the two together and it makes you turn into the perfect storm.


    The man was guilty, I don't care if they consulted an magik 8 ball, the guy got what he deserved.



    posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:33 PM
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    Originally posted by budski
    But as we regularly see, one "side" openly admits to using religious law, while the other "side" takes the moral high ground, conveniently forgetting that exactly the same principles apply in their own country but are not admitted to.


    That's called hypocrisy.

    It doesnt matter that religion is in there.

    X-Y or A-B the problem is still subtraction. If you cant solve subtraction A, B, X and Y are meaningless to you.



    posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:33 PM
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    Originally posted by jd140
    reply to post by budski
     


    That explains alot.

    You are anti corpral punishment AND anti religion.

    Put the two together and it makes you turn into the perfect storm.


    The man was guilty, I don't care if they consulted an magik 8 ball, the guy got what he deserved.


    I have never said he wasn't guilty, and nor have I said I am anti religion.

    Perhaps you can kindly point out (in context) where I have stated either position.



    posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:34 PM
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    The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

    reply to post by OldDragger

    These are not technicalites folks, these are the basic principles of justice.

    I understand your point. It is well-taken.

    But in legal situations failure to adhere to proper procedures is only applicable when there is a reasonable suspicion that such failure would have affected the outcome. That's not to simply say that the end justifies the means; it certainly does not! But in this case there is nothing to indicate that the removal of Bibles in the deliberation room would have made any difference at all. So, which would be more appropriate: to release a convicted murderer, denying closure to his surviving family and possibly allowing him to commit the same act again, or admonishing the jurors and perhaps placing a ruling into effect to forbid future Biblical reading in deliberations?

    I would say the latter. Justice is not served in the former.

    TheRedneck

    As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.



    posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:37 PM
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    reply to post by thisguyrighthere
     


    Hypocrisy indeed - which is one of the points I have been making.

    How can anyone castigate another religion who openly states their judicial preference whilst doing the same behind "closed" doors?

    If it's a case where religious justice is going to be practised, be open about it, or make sure the problem never rears its head.



    posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:37 PM
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    Originally posted by Captain Obvious
  • Thou shall not kill
  • Thou shall not steal
  • Thou shall not bear false witness

    What about the laws that line up with one of these Ten Commandment? Should they be ruled unconstitutional as well? You don't have to do everything in the Bible but that doesn't mean you throw the baby out with the bath water. If there's some common sense in there, then use it.

    As if those concepts are exclusive to the Ten Commanments?
    Please! Those are "Commandments" because EVERY civilization recognized those things as basics of, well, civilization. Your arguments are irrelevant.



  • posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:39 PM
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    All theories aside, come November this guy will be dead.

    He will be dead because a religion prescribed it so (an eye for an eye basically) in a state that allows for capital punishment.




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