Just when we think the courts can’t get any more absurd, along comes this case from the Colorado Supreme Court.
“In a sharply divided ruling (3-2), Colorado’s highest court on Monday upheld a lower court’s decision throwing out the sentence of a man who was given the death penalty after jurors consulted the Bible in reaching a verdict. The Bible, the court said, constituted an improper outside influence and a reliance on what the court called a ‘higher authority.’”
In the decision on Monday, the dissenting judges said the majority had confused the internal codes of right and wrong that juries are expected to possess in such weighty moral matters with the outside influences that are always to be avoided, like newspaper articles or television programs about the case. The jurors consulted Bibles, the minority said, not to look for facts or alternative legal interpretations, but for wisdom.
“The biblical passages the jurors discussed constituted either a part of the jurors’ moral and religious precepts or their general knowledge, and thus were relevant to their court-sanctioned moral assessment,” the minority wrote.
Would it matter to these three Colorado judges if the jurors had the Bible verses memorized, rather than consulting the written text?
Good fodder for the U.S. Supreme Court.
After the last couple of weeks maybe I’ll change my vote on whether to use the nuclear option to make judicial appointments filibuster proof. There are just too many judges outside the mainstream of American justice and out of touch with ancient wisdom.