To say that there 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) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today denied rehearing en banc on one such issue. Although time constraints don't permit a more developed analysis than merely noting an obviously jurisdictional split, this issue appears to be a prime target for SCOTUS review. For more on the subject see Elizabeth A. Brooks' controversial note, Thou Shalt Not Quote the Bible: Determining the Propriety of Attorney Use of Religious Philosophy and Themes in Oral Arguments, 33 Ga. L. Rev. 1113 (1999) (Brook's thoroughly surveys the case law surrounding evoking religious iconography in court); Gardner C. Hanks, "Capital Punishment and the Bible," (explores the death penalty by reviewing biblical references to capital punishment in their historical context and by examining the U.S.'s current application of the death penalty in light of these scriptures); and Dale Recinella, "The Biblical Truth About America's Death Penalty" (Analyzing capital punishment through an examination of religious texts and teachings.)
Bible in jury deliberations, past time for SCOTUS action?
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