Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Colorado Supreme Court Bars Execution Because Jurors Consulted Bible

The New York Times : "In a sharply divided ruling, 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.'

'The judicial system works very hard to emphasize the rarified, solemn and sequestered nature of jury deliberations,' the majority said in a 3-to-2 decision by a panel of the Colorado Supreme Court. 'Jurors must deliberate in that atmosphere without the aid or distraction of extraneous texts.'"

"...Mr. Harlan was convicted of kidnapping a waitress, Rhonda Maloney, and raping her. She escaped and flagged down a motorist, Jaquie Creazzo. Mr. Harlan caught up with the two women, shot Ms. Creazzo, leaving her paralyzed, then beat and killed Ms. Maloney."

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