Ruling that juries cannot turn to the Bible for advice during deliberations, a divided Colorado Supreme Court threw out the death penalty for a convicted murderer because jurors discussed Bible verses.
[Robert] Harlan was sentenced to death in 1995, but defense lawyers learned that five jurors had looked up such Bible verses as “eye for eye, tooth for tooth,” copied them and discussed them while deliberating behind closed doors.
Defense attorney Kathleen Lord, arguing before the state Supreme Court last month, said the jurors had gone outside the law. “They went to the Bible to find out God’s position on capital punishment,” she said.
I’m neither alarmed by the jurors’ behavior nor the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling. Rather, what’s alarming is that fully five Christian jurors believed that they’d find out “God’s position on capital punishment” by looking at the Old Testament.
Confidential to jurors: There’s this guy called Jesus. You may have read a book about him. He had some things to say about the Old Testament approach to justice. And, based on what Jesus said…not so much with the killing anymore. Check it out.