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Posted: 10/16/2009 10:40:56 AM EST
Texas man faces execution after jurors consult Bible to decide fate

A convicted murderer faces execution in Texas after jurors consulted the Bible while deliberating on his sentence.

By Tom Leonard in New York
Published: 5:56PM BST 15 Oct 2009

Amnesty International has appealed to the state to commute the sentence on Khristian Oliver, 32, who is due to die on November 5.

He was sentenced to death in 1999 for murdering a man whose home Oliver was burgling. The victim was shot in the face and beaten with his own rifle.

It later emerged that while deciding whether he should be given the death penalty, jurors consulted the Bible. Four jury members admitted that several copies had been in the jury room and that highlighted passages were passed around.

At one point, a juror reportedly read aloud from a copy, including the passage: "And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death."

Defence lawyers argued in appeals that jurors had been improperly influenced by the Bibles but the trial judge rejected the claim, a decision upheld by a Texas appeals court.

The US constitution calls for the separation of state and religion. In 2005, the state supreme court in Colorado overturned a death penalty on a convicted murderer because jurors had consulted the Bible while deliberating over his sentence.

Commuting Robert Harlan's sentence to life imprisonment without parole, the court ruled that the Bible constituted an "improper outside influence" and a reliance on what it called a "higher authority".

However, a federal appeals court ruled last year that while the Bible should not have been allowed into the deliberation room at Oliver's trial, there was no clear evidence to indicate they had influenced the jurors' decision. In April this year, the US Supreme Court refused to hear Oliver's appeal.

Kate Allen, Amnesty International's UK director, said Oliver's trial was a "travesty".

"Religious texts provide consolation and spiritual guidance for billions of people the world over, but this use of the Bible to decide life or death in a capital trial is deeply, deeply troubling," she said.

Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:41:37 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/16/2009 10:42:38 AM EST by Aimless]
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:42:56 AM EST
Oliver should be dead an buried.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:42:57 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/16/2009 10:44:26 AM EST by Partisan]
Originally Posted By Troubl3shooter:
Texas man faces execution after jurors consult Bible to decide fate

A convicted murderer faces execution in Texas after jurors consulted the Bible while deliberating on his sentence.

By Tom Leonard in New York
Published: 5:56PM BST 15 Oct 2009

Amnesty International has appealed to the state to commute thesentence on Khristian Oliver, 32, who is due to die on November 5.

Hewas sentenced to death in 1999 for murdering a man whose home Oliverwas burgling. The victim was shot in the face and beaten with his ownrifle.

It later emerged that while deciding whether he should be given thedeath penalty, jurors consulted the Bible. Four jury members admittedthat several copies had been in the jury room and that highlightedpassages were passed around.

At one point, a juror reportedlyread aloud from a copy, including the passage: "And if he smite himwith an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: themurderer shall surely be put to death."

Defence lawyers argued inappeals that jurors had been improperly influenced by the Bibles butthe trial judge rejected the claim, a decision upheld by a Texasappeals court.

The US constitution calls for the separation ofstate and religion. In 2005, the state supreme court in Coloradooverturned a death penalty on a convicted murderer because jurors hadconsulted the Bible while deliberating over his sentence.

CommutingRobert Harlan's sentence to life imprisonment without parole, the courtruled that the Bible constituted an "improper outside influence" and areliance on what it called a "higher authority".

However, afederal appeals court ruled last year that while the Bible should nothave been allowed into the deliberation room at Oliver's trial, therewas no clear evidence to indicate they had influenced the jurors'decision. In April this year, the US Supreme Court refused to hearOliver's appeal.

Kate Allen, Amnesty International's UK director, said Oliver's trial was a "travesty".

"Religioustexts provide consolation and spiritual guidance for billions of peoplethe world over, but this use of the Bible to decide life or death in acapital trial is deeply, deeply troubling," she said.



Would sham-nasty international be on this crusade if it was the koran the jurors consulted? Just a thought to ponder.

Notice too that no one is disputing the murder just the use of a Bible.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:45:18 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/16/2009 10:45:47 AM EST by Will]
How can a guy named Khristian claim the Bible is an improper influence? With that line of thinking his NAME could be an improper influence......
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:45:44 AM EST
If he was lawfully convicted beyond a reasonable doubt then there is not problem.

Juries are NOT The Government, and Jurors are NOT government agents.

Jurors are people and Juries are The People. If the people want to look to The Bible for moral guidance in administering The Law then that this their right. As long as the decision falls within the bounds of the law then there is no issue.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:45:54 AM EST
God Bless TEXAS!!
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:46:31 AM EST
Judges/Politicians don't like "higher authority".
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:46:36 AM EST
These people were probably also inflenced by parents, teachers, and other authority figures while growing up. These influences had no place inside that jury room.

Guy should walk.

Oh wait...that's ridiculous.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:47:34 AM EST
Originally Posted By Aimless:
Reversible error.

edit-except in Texas I guess Poster child of why the death penalty is a bad idea. Did any of these judges actually graduate from law school?






So you wouldn't agree with the death penalty if that was your father that was murdered like that???


Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:50:11 AM EST
Who cares what book they consult, it's their right is it not? This has NOTHING to do with the separation of church and state BTW.....
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:50:22 AM EST
You tell me that some jackhole breaks into a house and kills the owner then beats him with his own rifle.....I really don't need the bible to tell me he needs some killing.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:51:25 AM EST
Sounds to me like they used the Bible to morally justify the ruling. Not legally.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:52:07 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:52:19 AM EST

Originally Posted By Aimless:
Reversible error.

edit-except in Texas I guess Poster child of why the death penalty is a bad idea. Did any of these judges actually graduate from law school?

Did the jurors consulting the bible/koran/Tao-te-ching/wahtever change the law, or their interpretation of the law?
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:53:16 AM EST
Originally Posted By Strykewolf:
Oliver should be dead an buried.


+1

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:55:09 AM EST
Awesome.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:55:10 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/16/2009 10:56:05 AM EST by DK-Prof]
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:55:12 AM EST
Originally Posted By Aimless:
Reversible error.

edit-except in Texas I guess Poster child of why the death penalty is a bad idea. Did any of these judges actually graduate from law school?


Meh. He killed a man in the process of an armed felony. If the justice system accidentally results in justice, even if procedure was not followed, that's still better than most days.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:56:00 AM EST
Lord, please protect me from your flock.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:56:46 AM EST
Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By Furyataurus:
Originally Posted By Aimless:
Reversible error.

edit-except in Texas I guess Poster child of why the death penalty is a bad idea. Did any of these judges actually graduate from law school?






So you wouldn't agree with the death penalty if that was your father that was murdered like that???



So if you were charged with a crime you would be okay with the jury reading the Koran during their deliberations?


I thought juries were allowed to reach their decisions any way they wanted. Are they not allowed any materials in the jury room other than official court documents and stuff? If so, having a Bible there does seem problematic. (but it's not like someone couldn't memorize the bible passage and just tell people about it in the jury room)

Serious question - I honestly don't know.


Generally no. They are to answer specific fact-based questions only.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:58:30 AM EST
Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By Furyataurus:
Originally Posted By Aimless:
Reversible error.

edit-except in Texas I guess Poster child of why the death penalty is a bad idea. Did any of these judges actually graduate from law school?






So you wouldn't agree with the death penalty if that was your father that was murdered like that???



So if you were charged with a crime you would be okay with the jury reading the Koran during their deliberations?


Would I be "okay" with it...........................................of course not!!!! But then again I shouldn't have been doing whatever I was doing in the first place.


Now....................................................are you going to answer my question or keep dodging it???
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:59:00 AM EST
Texans.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:59:02 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 10:59:10 AM EST
Originally Posted By Aimless:
Reversible error.

edit-except in Texas I guess Poster child of why the death penalty is a bad idea. Did any of these judges actually graduate from law school?


You're crazy.

The death penalty should be strictly enforce in all applicable cases. Eye for an eye mother fuckers.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:01:38 AM EST
Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By Silence:

Originally Posted By Aimless:
Reversible error.

edit-except in Texas I guess Poster child of why the death penalty is a bad idea. Did any of these judges actually graduate from law school?

Did the jurors consulting the bible/koran/Tao-te-ching/wahtever change the law, or their interpretation of the law?

The appellate court held that it was error to allow the jury to consult the Bible but that the defendant could not prove that it effected the decision, which makes zero sense if this is what they read

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%2035:16;&version=KJV;

Rather than follow the jury instructions for whether the death penalty was justified they followed some biblical text. Serious lack of balls by the appellate court.


In Texas the criminal is always guilty, whether in state court of the Fifth Circuit. It's just a matter of finding out why his appeal loses.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:01:43 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:02:43 AM EST
Did he kill a man, beyond all reasonable doubt? If so death penalty, I don't give a shit how they came to that conclusion(the death penalty not the verdict).
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:02:46 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:03:45 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:04:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By Aimless:
Reversible error.

edit-except in Texas I guess Poster child of why the death penalty is a bad idea. Did any of these judges actually graduate from law school?


Don't come down here and commit crimes and we'll do our best not to kill you.


Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:05:11 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:05:34 AM EST

Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By Furyataurus:
Originally Posted By Aimless:
Reversible error.

edit-except in Texas I guess Poster child of why the death penalty is a bad idea. Did any of these judges actually graduate from law school?






So you wouldn't agree with the death penalty if that was your father that was murdered like that???



So if you were charged with a crime you would be okay with the jury reading the Koran during their deliberations?


Who gives a shit if he's ok with it or not. If you don't want your life to be in the hands of a bunch of Bible reading Texans then don't kill people.


Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:05:48 AM EST

Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By Silence:

Originally Posted By Aimless:
Reversible error.

edit-except in Texas I guess Poster child of why the death penalty is a bad idea. Did any of these judges actually graduate from law school?

Did the jurors consulting the bible/koran/Tao-te-ching/wahtever change the law, or their interpretation of the law?

The appellate court held that it was error to allow the jury to consult the Bible but that the defendant could not prove that it effected the decision, which makes zero sense if this is what they read

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%2035:16;&version=KJV;

Rather than follow the jury instructions for whether the death penalty was justified they followed some biblical text. Serious lack of balls by the appellate court.

Lets see...

Texas law(paraphrased) says 'you murder somebody we are gonna kill you back'

I dunno what the jury instructions were, but they were probably something like (paraphrased again) 'If you believe that the defendant murdered somebody, the law says we will kill him him right back'

Jury consults bible and decides that the bible is good with Texas law...

Personally I would be more upset if they had consulted the bible and decided to overrule texas law on religious grounds.

Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:06:56 AM EST

Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By timpryor:
Did he kill a man, beyond all reasonable doubt? If so death penalty, I don't give a shit how they came to that conclusion(the death penalty not the verdict).

Except that death penalty cases normally require more than just a murder. The jury ignored the state law and decided the case on religious grounds.

You have proof of this?
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:07:51 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:07:52 AM EST
A jury using the Bible couldn't possibly be any more fucked up than the reasoning of many of our so-called prosecutors, defense attorney's or judges.....

It may even be an improvement....
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:08:04 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/16/2009 11:08:18 AM EST by Zakk_Wylde_470]
Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By Furyataurus:
Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By Furyataurus:
Originally Posted By Aimless:
Reversible error.

edit-except in Texas I guess Poster child of why the death penalty is a bad idea. Did any of these judges actually graduate from law school?






So you wouldn't agree with the death penalty if that was your father that was murdered like that???



So if you were charged with a crime you would be okay with the jury reading the Koran during their deliberations?


Would I be "okay" with it...........................................of course not!!!! But then again I shouldn't have been doing whatever I was doing in the first place.


Now....................................................are you going to answer my question or keep dodging it???

My father passed away a number of years ago. I am unsure how you were raised to think that a comment like that is appropriate.


Of course it's perfectly reasonable to expect that a total stranger on the internet knows your dad died
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:08:09 AM EST

Originally Posted By Silence:

Lets see...

Texas law(paraphrased) says 'you murder somebody we are gonna kill you back'

I dunno what the jury instructions were, but they were probably something like (paraphrased again) 'If you believe that the defendant murdered somebody, the law says we will kill him him right back'

Jury consults bible and decides that the bible is good with Texas law...

Personally I would be more upset if they had consulted the bible and decided to overrule texas law on religious grounds.

I wish Alabama law read more like your paraphrased Texas law.

Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:08:29 AM EST
Originally Posted By Aimless:

My father passed away a number of years ago. I am unsure how you were raised to think that a comment like that is appropriate.


Nice to know you continue to dodge the question when I answered yours.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:08:42 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:08:51 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/16/2009 11:11:58 AM EST by GonzoAR15-1]
Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:
Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By Silence:

Originally Posted By Aimless:
Reversible error.

edit-except in Texas I guess Poster child of why the death penalty is a bad idea. Did any of these judges actually graduate from law school?

Did the jurors consulting the bible/koran/Tao-te-ching/wahtever change the law, or their interpretation of the law?

The appellate court held that it was error to allow the jury to consult the Bible but that the defendant could not prove that it effected the decision, which makes zero sense if this is what they read

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%2035:16;&version=KJV;

Rather than follow the jury instructions for whether the death penalty was justified they followed some biblical text. Serious lack of balls by the appellate court.


It's rather difficult to argue that because they read that passage they ignored everything else. While it's possible, it's probably not terribly likely.

Apparently there is some record of the deliberations that indicates that is what they looked at. I can't say more than that without reading the decisions.


Once of Colorado's prominent death penalty cases got thrown out on the "oh teh noes its the bible" defense.

Google People v. Rob't Harlan.

It was a fucked up case. It was before the Colo Supreme Court on its first appeal when I was a clerk in 1998 –– awful crime scene photos, let me tell you.

ETA: http://overlawyered.com/2005/03/bible-ploy-backfires/

Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:10:08 AM EST
i see no problem here, the jury isn't the government, so they can consult the bible or a fucking coloring book for all i care

that shitbag should be cold by now
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:12:01 AM EST
Aimless, I agree with you most of the time but in Texas, we burn our trash and it's a good thing.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:12:57 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/16/2009 11:15:03 AM EST by Aimless]
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:13:28 AM EST
Originally Posted By EXPcustom:
Texans.


Californians
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:14:00 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:14:34 AM EST
This shit is why bible thumpers and religious zealots scare me.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:15:11 AM EST
Stopped @ "The US constitution calls for the separation of state and religion."

Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:15:12 AM EST

Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By Silence:


Lets see...

Texas law(paraphrased) says 'you murder somebody we are gonna kill you back'

I dunno what the jury instructions were, but they were probably something like (paraphrased again) 'If you believe that the defendant murdered somebody, the law says we will kill him him right back'

Jury consults bible and decides that the bible is good with Texas law...

Personally I would be more upset if they had consulted the bible and decided to overrule texas law on religious grounds.


Nah, death penalty cases normally require that in addition to murdering someone the murder had to be killing a police officer, during a kidnapping, rape etc

B&E/burglary with a weapon.
Link Posted: 10/16/2009 11:16:37 AM EST
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