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

  • Justice Thomas' History at Oral Argument: The big news in the world of the Supreme Court today is that Justice Thomas finally spoke at oral argument. It is not clear exactly what he ...
  • 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...
  • Nearly Final Term Statistics and Advocate Scorecard: My goal was to publish the final term statistics today, but because the Court will hear rearguments in Citzens United and likely issue an op...
  • Another Elena Kagan - Miguel Estrada Connection: Justice Kagan and Miguel Estrada have had a long relationship that has confounded and surprised many of their skeptics. At Kagan's confirmat...
  • Updated Term Charts: Starting this week, I'll be posting my updated charts on SCOTUSblog. You can find the first SB version of my charts here. More spec...