Howard Friedman reports on his blog, Religion Clause, that a cert. petition has been filed in Oliver v. Quarterman, a case revolving around whether or not a juror’s use of the bible constitutes grounds for a mistrial.

Khristian Oliver claims that a juror member’s reading of the bible during a case represents an ‘external influence,’ preventing the juror from considering only the facts of the case and relevant statute. The Fifth Circuit held in August that, while improper, the use of a bible is not per se grounds for reconsideration. They argued that Oliver had not shown sufficient evidence to prove that the bible influenced the juror (or his or her peers) to make a decision they would not have made otherwise.

In October, the court denied cert. in a similar case arrising from the Texas Court Of Criminal Appeals (opinion of the TCCA here). That case, Lucero v. Texas, centered around a jury foreman who read aloud passages from the bible after he found out that two jurors were unwilling to impose the death penalty. The passages, Romans 13:1-6, had the desired effect and the two jurors changed voted to recommend the death penalty. As usual, the Supreme Court denied cert. without issuing any statement.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Categories

Random Posts

  • Updated Term Stats: Term Index Vote Breakdown Vote Breakdown Stats --- You can see from the Term Index that Justice Stevens is the most likely author of...
  • Should the Supreme Court have Appointed Amici in the Healthcare Cases?: The Supreme Court's decision last week to appoint H. Bartow Farr and Robert Long to argue in the ACA cases follows in a long tradition of ap...
  • Traitors to the Cause: 6-3 decisions are, statistically speaking, the least common vote split. Frequently, those cases split along the ideological lines that are s...
  • January Hearing List Released: The Supreme Court has released the Hearing List for the January sitting and you can find it here. Several high-profile advocates are back...
  • Updated Term Statistics: I've updated the term statistics and you can find the new versions of each chart below: Complete (includes all three charts) --- Term I...