Readers of my blog will know that I’m a bit of a right winger and have previously called for capital punishment to be brought back to sort out the increasingly violent society in which we live. I’m therefore all in favour of the capital punishment programme in the US where certain states execute killers, rapists and terrorists.
There’s been a few stories recently about executions in the US, the latest being a situation where after two hours of trying, the death penalty of a murderer could not continue as they could not find any veins in his body into which they were supposed to put the lethal injection. There is now a group asking for his death sentence to be commuted to life but did this guy take any pity on his victims, who may have been begging for their lives? No ! My view - if they can’t find a vein – shoot him.
The other article about capital punishment in the US was where a 32 year old murderer who blasted his victim in the face with a shotgun was sentenced to the death penalty. Nothing unusual there except that I thought that it was the judge who decided on the capital punishment option but here, it was the jury. And in order to come to their recommendation they first consulted the Bible, which apparently has a passage which says, ‘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.’
And therein lies the problem. The defence lawyers found out about this and appealed on the basis that the jurors had been ‘improperly influenced’ by the Bible but the trial judge rejected the claim, a decision later upheld by a Texas appeals court.
In the US, the constitution calls for the separation of state and religion and in 2005, the 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 Colorado 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 in the Texas trial, there was no clear evidence to indicate that its actual use in that trial had influenced the jurors' decision.
And do you know what the prisoner’s name was in this trial where a bible most definitely decided his fate? His name was Khristian (OK it was Christian with a ‘K’) but how ironic is that ?