Caleb Adams Commentary
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Convicted Murderer/Rapist's Death Sentance Overuled
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Bible should not be allowed to influence a person's thought process - specifically, the Bible should not be considered by members of a jury.
The convicted murderer and rapist will not get the death penalty, but will get a life sentance instead.
Robert Harlan of Denver, who raped and killed a waitress and permanently paralyzed the woman who tried to save her in 1994, instead will serve life in prison, the court said in a 3-2 ruling.
Bob Grant, who tried the case as Adams County district attorney, said the evidence of Harlan's guilt was so overwhelming that the introduction of a Bible passage shouldn't have mattered.
"If there's a case in the state that deserves the death penalty, it's Robert Harlan," Grant said.
Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery, vice president for government and public policy, said there was nothing wrong in using biblical principles to decide on a death sentence.
"Today's ruling further confirms that the judicial branch of our government is nearly bereft of any moral foundation," Minnery said in a statement. "It is a sad day when the Bible is banned from a jury room."
Michael Farris, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief, said jurors were trying to assuage the worries of one Christian juror who thought that imposing the death penalty would violate his faith. "They were using a Bible to answer his questions," said Farris, who is president of Patrick Henry College, in Purcellville, Va. "Their goal (the jury) was to follow the law of Colorado."