Maybe all the Schiavo protestors will head out for Denver. The touring Ten Commandments Monument is in Georgia at the moment, but Colorado’s good citizens can order yard signs, t-shirts, car tags, car magnets, decals, bumper stickers, or Chief Justice Roy Moore’s book, So Help Me God, from (You can get an autographed copy from, the site for the Foundation for Moral Law, Inc.) (I’m having too much fun.)

DENVER, March 28 – In a sharply divided ruling, Colorado’s highest court on Monday upheld a lower court’s decision throwing out the sentence of a man who was given the death penalty after jurors consulted the Bible in reaching a verdict. The Bible, the court said, constituted an improper outside influence and a reliance on what the court called a “higher authority.” …

[more below]

“The judicial system works very hard to emphasize the rarified, solemn and sequestered nature of jury deliberations,” the majority said in a 3-to-2 decision by a panel of the Colorado Supreme Court. “Jurors must deliberate in that atmosphere without the aid or distraction of extraneous texts.”

The ruling involved the conviction of Robert Harlan, who was found guilty in 1995 of raping and murdering a cocktail waitress near Denver. After Mr. Harlan’s conviction, the judge in the case – as Colorado law requires – sent the jury off to deliberate about the death penalty with an instruction to think beyond the narrow confines of the law. Each juror, the judge told the panel, must make an “individual moral assessment,” in deciding whether Mr. Harlan should live.

The jurors voted unanimously for death. The State Supreme Court’s decision changes that sentence to life in prison without parole.

[T]he dissenting judges said the majority had confused the internal codes of right and wrong that juries are expected to possess in such weighty moral matters with the outside influences that are always to be avoided, like newspaper articles or television programs about the case. The jurors consulted Bibles, the minority said, not to look for facts or alternative legal interpretations, but for wisdom. …

Read the full article at The New York Times. Emphases mine.

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