June 9, 2007


Ruling Likely to Spur Convictions in Capital Cases (ADAM LIPTAK, 6/09/07, NY Times)

A decision by the Supreme Court on Monday that made it easier for prosecutors to exclude people who express reservations about the death penalty from capital juries will make the panels whiter and more conviction-prone, experts in law and psychology said this week.

The jurors who remain after people with moral objections to imposing the death penalty are weeded out, studies uniformly show, are significantly more likely to vote to find defendants guilty than jurors as a whole.

Always amusing when the citizenry of the Puritan Nation complains about how harsh shar'ia is.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 9, 2007 10:12 AM

Those with real moral convictions should seek to have objectionable laws changed. It's not sharia, nor Nazism, to exclude those from jury duty who openly state they would not vote to convict the guilty because they object to capital punishment -- a law of the land enacted by their duly elected legislature.

Posted by: erp at June 9, 2007 11:15 AM

I don't know about that Mrs. Erp. I've always seen juries as part of the checks and balances built into the system. Telling them how to do their job seems to violate that.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at June 9, 2007 12:04 PM

But Robert, what's the difference between having a preconceived notion to vote guilty or not guilty before there's even a trial, and having a preconeived notion that the punishment is wrong, and so voting not guilty regardless of the facts? They're both kinds of prejudging you don't want in a trial.

And as usual, OJ's invocation of sharia is inapt. Criminal law in the West is set down in laws, not taken directly from the Bible. Unless you know of any cases where adulterers have been stoned by the order of a court.

Posted by: PapayaSF at June 9, 2007 1:55 PM

No, I don't, more's the shame. Oathbreakers deserve worse.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at June 9, 2007 3:15 PM


He thinks the laws sprang fullblown from earl Warren's head or something.

Posted by: oj at June 9, 2007 3:38 PM

Mr. M, the point is that jurors are told how to do their job by the judge. There are rules and procedures that must be followed. Luckily, prospective jurors may ask to be excused if they can't perform the duties expected of them.

Posted by: erp at June 9, 2007 4:23 PM

PapayaSF -- it doesn't sound like you've ever read the Law of the bible. Bearing in mind it was written 6000 years ago, try reading it alongside some of the nonsense that was law in Egypt. For instance, the treatment for an open broken bone in Egypt was to apply cow dung; the Law says to clean it with clear, running water.

And such things aren't as obvious as they might seem to you now. Doctors still don't wash their hands properly between operations.

Another interesting point is how the Law specifically states a single witness cannot bring about the death penalty. It was not arbitrary and applied to everyone equally.

The Law was the first example of entrenching private property rights in human history, back when the King owned everything.

Without biblical Law, you would be living today in a society much closer to those you condemn than Western society.

Posted by: Randall Voth at June 9, 2007 5:26 PM

Oh yes, we are so close to shar'ia. I can hardly wait to ban music and art. And my wife must stay fully clothed in public, cannot drive or hold a job, and my daughter must marry the boy of my choosing.

And if anyone publishes a cartoon offending me, I will riot and cut off their head...

With so much in common, it seems odd that we don't get along, eh OJ?

Posted by: Darryl at June 9, 2007 6:42 PM

That's not shar'ia.

Posted by: oj at June 9, 2007 8:01 PM

A correction to my rant on the Law: of course, Moses was born approximately 4000 years ago, not 6000 :-)

Posted by: Randall Voth at June 9, 2007 9:31 PM

Sharia presumes a theocratic regime and is based solely on Islamic scripture. There is no 'seperation of CHURCH (Mosque) and state in such a system.

If you don't believe that to be the case then you don't know what you're talking about.

Nothing against Islamic Law if that's what you want but the silly equivocations you utilize to support your case can only be based on ignorance or more malignant motivations. I'm betting on ignorance.

Posted by: hugh at June 10, 2007 7:16 AM

Anyone not ignorant is aware of the conspicuous absence of theocratic regimes, but presence of shar'ia, throughout the history of Islam. You have to stop taking your understanding of Islam from Islamophobic polemicists.

Posted by: oj at June 10, 2007 11:26 AM

Randall, I'm not saying Western law isn't based on the Bible to some degree, but it's obviously not "Biblical law" the way sharia is Koranic law.

OJ on sharia is like a college Marxist on Communism: sure, all the real-world examples have been flawed and created societies that he'd never want to live in, but in theory, it all works fine....

The reality is that there's nothing anyone could do anytime soon to get Americans to voluntarily go back to the morality of the 1950s, much less the 1850s. Sharia makes the Amish look like punk rockers, so anyone who thinks it's somehow compatible with or similar to the America of today or the future is hallucinating.

Posted by: PapayaSF at June 10, 2007 12:49 PM

The difference is, of course, obvious. Marxist states were communist. Shar'ia states aren't theocratic, anymore than we're a theocracy just because the Republic is expressly religious and its laws mainly derived from Judeo-Christianity.

Posted by: oj at June 10, 2007 1:13 PM