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Court turns down challenge to jury's use of Bible

•  State Bar News     updated  2009/04/21 09:08


The Supreme Court has turned away a challenge from a death row inmate in Texas who claimed his constitutional rights were violated by jurors who consulted a Bible during deliberations.


Jurors reviewed a biblical passage relating that a murderer who used an iron object to kill "shall surely be put to death." They were deciding whether to impose a death sentence on Khristian Oliver for fatally shooting and bludgeoning his victim with the barrel of a gun.

The court previously has said that jurors should base their verdicts only on evidence presented in the courtroom.

But state and federal courts upheld Oliver's sentence, despite testimony that some jurors consulted the passage that described a killing similar to the one Oliver committed.


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