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Texas man faces execution after jurors consult Bible to decide fate

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posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:45 PM
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Originally posted by TheRedneck
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

I can't agree. The question is why are Bibles with highlighted passages there in the first place? Is this standard equitment for Texas jury rooms? Are they still there? Who put them there and why? Under who's authority and instruction?
Are jurors expected to consult these Bibles? What if he had been found guilty, yet not received the death penalty?
Why were THESE particular passages highlighted if not to attempt to influence a jury? Were passages concerning mercy and forgivness highlighted as well?
It's just plain improper for the court to supplt any religious text to jurors, let alone highlighted ones.




posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:45 PM
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I can see some Texans having to use a book of interpretation to understand the complexity of American Law in their own words and definations. Afterall, everything is bigger in Texas.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:46 PM
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The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

reply to post by budski

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.

I absolutely agree.

While it would be wrong to allow this convicted murderer leniency over something he had nothing to do with, it would also be wrong to blanketly condone the use of Biblical readings in deliberation rooms. Unfortunately, to many, nothing short of a release and pardon of Mr. Oliver will fill that order.

I would personally be satisfied if a court ruling, or even a law was passed forbidding the use of Biblical passages in deliberations. Of course, such a thing would upset many fundamentalists. There is no pleasing everyone.

I just hope the furor over this dies soon. It is indeed forming a black eye for our judicial system.

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 @ 01:51 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


A mistrial doesn't free anybody, or overturn anything. It simply says the case must be tried again, unless the prosecution declines. In this case, the grounds would be improper influencing of the jury. A new jury would be selected, hopefuly to try the case on facts and law, and recieve lawful jury instruction for the penalty phase.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:52 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


Not only that, but it is making a mockery of those who condemn Islam for using sharia law.

Let's be fair here, sharia law has bad points and some good points - but at least they are not only open about it, but are proud of it.

The reverse is true of this.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 01:57 PM
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The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

reply to post by OldDragger

The question is why are Bibles with highlighted passages there in the first place?

I have seen no evidence suggesting that anyone associated with the court either supplied these Bibles or that anyone in such a position highlighted them.

Bibles are common, and could have been supplied by the jurors themselves. Since it is commonplace (not mandatory) for witnesses to swear on the Bible, there could have been some lying around as court equipment. But even if there had not been a Bible there, would it have mattered? I know people who can quote entire books verbatim.

Highlighters are common as well, and are probably available to the jurors while deliberating, just as pen, paper, or a magnifying glass or legal reference would be available. Bear in mind that one juror read the passages in question, of his own volition. I just don't think this is a case of public officials throwing the jury; I believe it is likely that it is a case of a very Biblically-oriented jury being chosen. It should also be noted that a jury member undergoes an intense examination by both the prosecution and the defense before they are selected from the pool to serve. So if they were Biblically-oriented, that would indicate the defense and prosecution were neither concerned about such leanings.

Now, if you have evidence to suggest that there was coercion from any court officials, please present it. It will probably change my mind on this issue.

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 @ 02:03 PM
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reply to post by infinite
 



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

That's actually a mistranslation in the King James of the Hebrew text. In Hebrew, the phrase is actually, "You shall not murder," which is how it is translated in modern translations. For example, here is Exodus 20:13 in the English Standard Version:


You shall not murder.

 

The issue aside as to whether or not it was right for the people to consult a religious text, to me, it is interesting that the jurors would consult a passage in the Law. The reason I think it's interesting is that, most of Christianity recognizes that the Law doesn't apply to the Christian because Christ fulfilled and became the Law for us. If the jurors really wanted to get a peace, and a quick "thought" about what God thinks about murder and what should be done about it, all they had to do was go to Genesis 9:6 (which isn't part of the Law and thus still applies). It's pretty much summed up there:


Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.


[edit on 10/16/2009 by octotom]



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 02:05 PM
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Maybe I'm missing something here, but I fail to see the problem with the actions of this jury. As long as the bible did not supercede the state laws in determining the suspect's innocence or guilt, there was no wrong doing.

Now if someone can provide an algorithm for the state of Texas penal code that lists the exact steps one is to take when deciding life in prison or the death penalty, I'll reconsider. Of course this doesn't exist or else a computer could have rendered the answer.

Jurors would be free to
1.) Read the bible
2.) Flip a coin
3.) Draw straws
4.) Read any other religious text
5.) Utilize any other selection criteria they desired
in determining the convicted murderer's fate. As long as they unanimously decided a response they completed their responsibility. Where someone gets their morals from has no legal bearing on this decision



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 02:12 PM
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"I have seen no evidence suggesting that anyone associated with the court either supplied these Bibles or that anyone in such a position highlighted them.

Bibles are common, and could have been supplied by the jurors themselves. Since it is commonplace (not mandatory) for witnesses to swear on the Bible, there could have been some lying around as court equipment. But even if there had not been a Bible there, would it have mattered? I know people who can quote entire books verbatim. "




I thought the story said there were four Bibles in the Jury room, each with highlighted passages. My questions stand? As for legal references, only the jury instructions or something approved by the Judge would be allowed. You can't bring your own law books, you are not functioning as a lawyer, but as a juror based on the evidence and law presented to you in the court.
I was once on a drunk driving jury where two minutes after deliberations began we all agreed the guy was probably drunk, but the DA had not presented any convincing evidence as proof.
All but one that is, who said she had alcoholic parents, and she knew "how those people are". I'll spare you the details but she never "got' that we decided on the facts presented to us, not anecdotal memories.
Whatever the Bible says is anecdotal, not fact, law or evidence.

[edit on 16-10-2009 by OldDragger]



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 02:18 PM
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Well this is just incredible, hell I believe in moses law and eye for an eye, but please don't make it so specific you know, lest keep things within the law of the nations that we trust.

Regardless of the man been a criminal or not or deserving the death penalty or not, (I believe he should be done with the same way he did his victim), things like this only open doors to other precedents in our justice system, hell should we start using moses law to stone women for adultery, cut people's hands for stealing and let include burning witches.

Sorry regardless of what the man guilt may be this just taken out of content by the so call jurors.

Hell all they have to do was to say that they find him guilty and he should be punish with death.

Funny how our nation is not so far away in certain religious matters as any other fundamentalist believers around the world that we tend to condone because extremism.

Perhaps the reason of mentioning the bible while looking for the death penalty was for the jurors to have a healtier mental state and peace of mind after condoning another human being to death.



[edit on 16-10-2009 by marg6043]



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 02:32 PM
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The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

reply to post by OldDragger

4 Bibles, 12 jurors. 8 apparently didn't bring theirs.

In the juries I have been on, it was allowed to bring your own reading material for use during breaks, with judicial approval. That would include Bibles. What was not allowed was to use any such written material to influence other jurors, the reason why I am having trouble fathoming how this was even allowed. I'm certain it wasn't so much allowed as not realized, at least not until the jurors mentioned it (which is another problem, as I was always told to not discuss the case with anyone, even after the trial was concluded).

That said, it was still the fault of the jurors for using the Biblical passages and for later admitting to it.


And a mistrial does indeed overturn the conviction. The defendant may still remain in custody, but they are also available to ask for bail; legally it is as if he was never convicted. In this case the concern is not over his innocence or guilt, but rather over the sentencing.

I'm starting to think that a gubernatorial commute of his sentence to life without parole may be in order, just to get it through people's heads that the Bible is not the law to use on a jury (I know, Texas, fat chance). But I still stand by my assertion that justice was served, regardless of the problems in the deliberation room, and I am still firmly against a mistrial.

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 @ 02:56 PM
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reply to post by budski
 


I am sure he would have gotten death anyway and he probably deserves it but "checking the bible for moral guidence" is not allowed in this country.

I could probably lie on the bible but lie on a oath taken on a Star Trek novel?... TOS or TNG?



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 03:17 PM
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If we consulted the bible for punishment guidelines pretty much everyone one of you parents would have had to stone your children to death.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 04:53 PM
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Originally posted by OldDragger

Jurors are supposed to consider only the evidince and the law.
While jurors are entitled to whatever beliefs they choose in their PERSONAL LIVES, they are NOT entitled to bring those beliefs ( WHATEVER they may be) into the jury room.



Wrong! That is only the lie that judges tell the jurors before hand. If there is an unjust law or if the defendant is, in your opinion, justified, you have a moral obligation not to follow the corrupt/ incomplete/ wrong "rule of law" or whatever court proceedings the court is trying to hoist upon you.

Serving on a jury is one of the last lines of defense we, the common people, have against a co-opted government served by a corrupt "justice" system running rampant over the populace.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 05:20 PM
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reply to post by polit
 


But hey, that's "democracy" at work...

Until true power is returned to the people we'll see more injustice?

I would say that if true justice is returned to the people, unfettered, we will see a return to vigilante justice, and instances of "Stone the witch" metaphorically speaking.

I'd rather iron out the kinks of the current justice system - at least in the UK.

But then we have the luxury of not making the ultimate mistake and miscarriage of justice as we don't have the death penalty - which is frankly barbaric.

So many people talk of china and iran killing people for crimes that the west finds hard to concieve of.

At the end of day it's just a matter of perspective - and once you get into it, the only question is one of numbers.

And who's to say that 100 deaths is better than 1,000?


As a man once said "a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money"

But to a tramp, one pound is a fortune.

In the same way, one life is a fortune, according to the bible and "gods" word.

So what then gives a "christian" the right to take a life - punishment is up to god.

Lock him up, throw away the key, but don't try and justify it by wrongly quoting scripture or cherrypicking the parts of the bible that suit, and then in the same breath condemn a different religion for doing the same but having the balls to actually be open about it.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 06:20 PM
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reply to post by polit
 


You mean like the OJ jury?



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 06:33 PM
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I think the death penalty should be reserved for rapists and child molestors. Murder is not as bad a crime as that.

3rd line.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 06:59 PM
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Originally posted by amazing
I think the death penalty should be reserved for rapists and child molestors. Murder is not as bad a crime as that.

3rd line.


Murder is the ultimate act of theft - someone steals your life away.

If you're still alive you can get over it, or try to.

If you're dead they've stolen what you are and all you ever could be to everyone you were around, loved or just had contact with.

So, I disagree with your premise.



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 07:14 PM
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reply to post by IntastellaBurst
 


to take it a step further i hope these jewels take the swine flu shot and mother nature gives them the karma they deserve. my god is this country upside down



posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 07:34 PM
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I will attempt to add my opinion about something relevant to the OP that no one has addressed... unless I missed it, I hope not.

The defense of any accused is responsible for vetting the jury to ensure adherence to the 'trial by a jury of your peers' principle.

I am presuming the jury was selected according to that principle. If so, one might expect he and his jury are in most respects, equals - criminality aside.

I guess most juries wouldn't want to believe that.

By the way, the jury decides the guilt or innocence of the accused. You may want to trivialize it by intimating that it is as fickle as flipping a coin, but I can only hope that you never have to rely on that kind of reasoning were you ever wrongly accused and so judged....

[edit on 16-10-2009 by Maxmars]



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