Court: Jurors erred by consulting Bible in death penalty case
No "extraneous texts" allowed
Apr 19, 2005
Colorado’s highest court has overturned a death sentence in a rape-and-murder trial after jurors in the case consulted the Bible on whether the defendant deserved to die for his crimes.
The court ruled 3-2 on March 28 to uphold a lower court ruling and instead sentenced Robert Harlan to life in prison without parole. The court said the jury was wrong to consult the book of Leviticus and its call for “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.”
“Jurors must deliberate in that atmosphere without the aid or distraction of extraneous texts,” the justices ruled.
Harlan was convicted in 1995 of murdering a Denver cocktail waitress, Rhonda Maloney, and permanently injuring Jaquie Creazzo, who tried to help her, reported the New York Times.