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March 28, 2005

They forgot to consult the Talmud

The Colorado Supreme Court has overturned a death sentence because the jury had looked up Bible verses, written some down, and discussed them during deliberations. You know, like "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."

During oral arguments before the Supreme Court last month, defense attorney Kathleen Lord said the jurors had gone outside the law. "They went to the Bible to find out God's position on capital punishment," she said.
If the jurors had also consulted the Talmud, which makes capital punishment almost impossible to impose, this never would have happened.

On the subject of Jews (other than me) and capital punishment, see this.

UPDATE (3/29): Apparently, Colorado law requires jurors to consult a moral compass.
Legal experts said that Colorado was unusual in its language requiring jurors in capital felony cases to explicitly consult a moral compass. Most states that have restored the death penalty weave in a discussion of moral factors, lawyers said, along with the burden that jurors must decide whether aggravating factors outweigh mitigating factors in voting on execution.
I guess the court wanted a moral compass without NORTH on it.

UPDATE (3/29): Some more thoughts after reading the actual opinion.