April 8, 2006
Will SCOTUS consider Bible-influenced capital sentencing?
As Howard Bashman notes here, yesterday the Fourth Circuit denied rehearing en banc in a case concerning a juror's reliance upon the Bible during capital sentencing deliberations. The circuit's order in Robinson v. Polk and two interesting opinions (a concurrence by Judge Wilkinson, a dissent by Judge King) can be accessed at this link.
Over here at Capital Defense Weekly, Karl Keys adds this interesting comment:
[T]here is a sharp division over how much, if any, Biblical verses and prayer should play in capital cases. Numerous jurisdictions over the years of the Weekly's publication have held that such usage is inappropriate and vacated death sentences in light of its usage (Colorado, Ninth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit, Ohio, & Pennsylvania). Others have overlooked problems finding either no problem or a minimal problem (Fourth Circuit, Mississippi, & Ohio).
Karl suggests that it is "past time time for SCOTUS action" on this issue.
Some related prior posts:
- Notable split capital habeas ruling from the Fourth Circuit (discussing panel decision in Robinson v. Polk)
- Sentencing and Religion
- Sister Prejean powerful perspective
April 8, 2006 at 01:52 PM | Permalink
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