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Court declines juror Bible reading case
Daniel Burke, Religion News Service
October 08, 2008
1 MIN READ TIME

Court declines juror Bible reading case

Court declines juror Bible reading case
Daniel Burke, Religion News Service
October 08, 2008

The Supreme Court Oct. 6 refused to hear an appeal from a death row inmate who says a jury foreman improperly read the Bible to fellow jurors during deliberations.

The justices declined to comment on the appeal, letting stand the death sentence of Jimmie Lucero of Amarillo, Texas, who was convicted of murdering three neighbors in 2003.

During the penalty phase of Lucero's trial in 2005, the jury foreman read a passage from Romans 13, in which St. Paul writes that a servant of God is "an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

Lucero's lawyers argued that the Bible reading violated his Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals called the Bible reading a "harmless error."

Lower courts have been split on whether introducing the Bible into jury deliberations violates a defendant's constitutional rights.