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"Satanism wrongly used at trial, death-row inmate argues" - article

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posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 04:41 PM
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This is one that I don't want to editorialize on at all...Which is unusual, for me...

The link is to statesman.com, dated July 6th 2010, the writer's name is Chuck Lindell.

Satanism wrongly used at trial, death row inmate argues


Irving Davis, convicted of raping and killing a 15-year-old El Paso girl, has asked a Texas appeals court to throw out his death sentence, arguing that jurors should not have been told about his new religion — Satanism.

The revelation, defense lawyers argue, violated Davis' free exercise of religion and improperly prejudiced jurors against the 27-year-old inmate.

Prosecutors counter that allegiance to the Church of Satan was relevant information for jurors, who had to determine whether Davis should be put to death as a continuing threat to society.

Davis' arguments sent two Texas Court of Criminal Appeals judges down rhetorical paths that were more theological than legal — part of a generally chilly reception to the inmate's claims during oral arguments in April.

"I mean, come on, boil it all down, the Church of Satan?" Judge Michael Keasler said. "You've got to be kidding me as to how that's good, because Satan himself, at least as far as Christian doctrine is concerned, is the epitome of what evil is. If somebody chooses to align themselves with something like that, it certainly would seem relevant."

Musing aloud, Judge Lawrence Meyers asked if Satanism should be considered a religion at all, because religions revolve around worshipping a higher power. "Satan's not an almighty being," Meyers said.

But Ruben Morales, Davis' lawyer, argued that introducing Satanism in court was an improper attempt to criminalize beliefs that society finds offensive or disagreeable.

"The state's attempt to place (Davis) in a bad light with the jury was nothing less than a 'witch hunt.' This is precisely the risk that society runs when it attempts to distinguish between good and bad religions," he said in legal briefs.

The court has not yet ruled on Davis' petition, which seeks a new sentencing trial in hopes of converting his death sentence into a life term.

...

Davis' latest appeal arose after the court threw out his first death sentence in 2007 because the trial judge mistakenly allowed only expert witnesses — and not Davis' family and friends — to testify about whether they considered the defendant a continuing danger.

While preparing for the new penalty phase trial, prosecutors learned Davis listed his new religion as Satanism after arriving on death row.

Jurors were shown, over defense objections, Davis' drawings depicting satanic symbols, books removed from his cell that included "The Satanic Bible" and a pentagram tattoo on his chest. Prosecutors also introduced a grievance form that showed Davis complaining about being denied a gong, candles, chalice, black robes, a vial of blood and other items he said were needed to practice his religion.

Prosecutor Lily Stroud said the evidence was meant to show that Davis had chosen to affiliate with an organization that condones and encourages human sacrifice and other illegal acts.

"I don't believe that we put on the evidence, necessarily, to say: 'Well, Satanism is evil, just an evil religion, he's evil, and so you should just put him to death," Stroud said. "The defense had been trying to give implication that while he was on death row he was nothing but a pacifist."

But defense lawyer Morales said jurors, who again sentenced Davis to die, were improperly exposed to information designed to inflame their passions against Davis. The infraction was made worse, he said, because it violated the First Amendment's protection of religious expression.

"The great thing about our country is that we are supposed to have the ability to choose our religion and not be persecuted for it," Morales told the court's nine judges.

"But who's persecuting him?" Keasler asked. "All they're doing is bringing evidence."

"They are bringing evidence that is not viewed in a neutral way," Morales responded.

Meyers joined in by noting that the First Amendment protects the free practice of religion, and "nobody is denying his right to practice."

"How can you say you're protected (in) practicing your religion ," Morales said, "if someone can turn around and say, 'OK, because you practice this religion, we're going to use that as a reason to kill you'?"

Morales also argued that the information was irrelevant because Davis was not a Satanist when Melissa Medina, 15, was killed and never committed a crime or violent act in Satan's name.

Stroud, an El Paso County assistant district attorney, countered that evidence must be relevant to an issue at trial. In this case, jurors had to find that Davis posed a continuing threat to society before they could assess the death penalty — his "character obviously being relevant to that," Stroud said. "All we had to show was he was a member in this particular organization that participated in violent and illegal activities."

Even if the Satanism evidence proves to be inappropriate, Stroud argued, judges should affirm the death sentence because jurors had other reasons to find Davis a future danger, including the brutality of the crime. Davis confessed to killing Medina in 2001 while walking her home from a party, beating her to death before cutting off her fingertips after attempts to sever her hands failed.

Several judges noted that, based on the principle that religion is a choice reflecting a person's values and principles, lawyers can strike prospective jurors from the panel because of their beliefs.

Likewise, prosecutors may argue that defendants who choose to join a violent gang are dangerous — and affiliating with the Church of Satan is no different, Stroud argued. "This was more about his choice of who to affiliate with as opposed to, you know, the moral, reprehensible, abstract beliefs that he might have," she said.

...

According to religion experts, Satanism is practiced by a small group that ranges from deranged loners — who blame or claim satanic influence for their crimes — to members of organized churches or groups . Belief systems vary, even among organized practitioners, but most self-described Satanists tend to be humanists who view Satan as a natural or magical force, while others see Satan as a deity in opposition to the Christian God, experts say.

Presiding Judge Sharon Keller noted that the writings of Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey seem to espouse human sacrifice or murder, such as this advice from the "Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth": "If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him."

"What is unreasonable about assuming someone joins a religious organization because he holds beliefs in common with that religion?" Keller asked.

Morales raised two points. First, he said, the prosecution expert, a community college criminologist, incorrectly applied a literal interpretation to LaVey's writings. The defense expert, the founding director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion, testified that Church of Satan members engage in symbolic rituals, while actual violence and sacrifice of people or animals is prohibited, Morales said.

Second, prosecutors never proved, or even tried to prove, that Davis believed in human sacrifice or any unsavory practices ascribed to Satanism, he said.

Because most people pick and choose which religious tenets to follow, prosecutors should have to prove which beliefs a defendant adheres to before introducing religion into the courtroom, Morales said.

"If his religious preference was Satanism and he did believe in human sacrifice, then could that be used against him?" Keller asked.

"Then you would have a different situation," he said.



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.




[edit on 6-7-2010 by nine-eyed-eel]




posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 03:16 AM
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i know satanists that are basicly atheists with spite for christianity,

im told by them that an actual aknowledgement and worship of satan would actualy be called lucifarianism.


www.statesman.com...



Originally posted by nine-eyed-eel
This is one that I don't want to editorialize on at all...Which is unusual, for me...

The link is to statesman.com, dated July 6th 2010, the writer's name is Chuck Lindell.

Satanism wrongly used at trial, death row inmate argues


Irving Davis, convicted of raping and killing a 15-year-old El Paso girl, has asked a Texas appeals court to throw out his death sentence, arguing that jurors should not have been told about his new religion — Satanism.

The revelation, defense lawyers argue, violated Davis' free exercise of religion and improperly prejudiced jurors against the 27-year-old inmate.

Prosecutors counter that allegiance to the Church of Satan was relevant information for jurors, who had to determine whether Davis should be put to death as a continuing threat to society.

Davis' arguments sent two Texas Court of Criminal Appeals judges down rhetorical paths that were more theological than legal — part of a generally chilly reception to the inmate's claims during oral arguments in April.
....

But Ruben Morales, Davis' lawyer, argued that introducing Satanism in court was an improper attempt to criminalize beliefs that society finds offensive or disagreeable.

....

Davis' latest appeal arose after the court threw out his first death sentence in 2007 because the trial judge mistakenly allowed only expert witnesses — and not Davis' family and friends — to testify about whether they considered the defendant a continuing danger.

....

"How can you say you're protected (in) practicing your religion ," Morales said, "if someone can turn around and say, 'OK, because you practice this religion, we're going to use that as a reason to kill you'?"






Please visit the link provided for the complete story.




[edit on 6-7-2010 by nine-eyed-eel]





edit on 13-9-2010 by pryingopen3rdeye because: to add qoute of now missing OP



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 03:41 AM
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reply to post by pryingopen3rdeye
 


Raping and killing a young girl - I would want the death penalty, but it is not up to humans to call for the death penalty.

He is in jail for his whole life.

He is a burden upon society, and a person who does not deserve to live.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 03:49 AM
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reply to post by catwhoknows
 



yeah and he's not doing this sorta thing out of an earnest interest in atheistic spite of christianity, it's clear in this case he doesnt even know what satanism is and is trying to hold up the courts and make a joke of it,

realy though the courts are at fault alittle,

if the courts just didnt mention any of his satanism at all, this would have been done with already and he would have been sentenced.

edit - to say i realize this is old news and done, only meanin in retrospect


edit on 13-9-2010 by pryingopen3rdeye because: noted above



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 03:56 AM
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reply to post by pryingopen3rdeye
 


No probs, Pry - even hardened crims do not like child abuse.

He will not last long.




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