William D Rich
rich at UAKRON.EDU
Thu Dec 18 13:45:38 PST 1997
At 12:36 PM 12/18/97 EST, Jim Maule wrote:
>I think in any event the Hmong woman is not guilty of attempted
>murder (reckless endangerment, perhaps, due to the fire risk but I
>don't think there's much disagreement on that point). A secular court
>does not have jurisdiction to make a determination that involves
>resolution of an issue living in the spiritual realm. It is indeed "a
>matter for a jury of divines."
I think this argument would make her guilty rather than not. In order to
exculpate her, the (Minnesota) court would have to determine that it's
impossible to kill someone by that means, which Jim asserts is a
determination they can't make. The argument also would preclude courts
from ordering medical treatment to save the lives of Christian Scientists'
children because that intervention rests on a determination that faith
doesn't (reliably enough) heal them. I would agree that courts can't
decide questions of a wholly spiritual character, but here we are talking
about whether an act can cause a physical result by (any means including )
spiritual means. Over such questions I think the courts must have
jurisdiction and the legislatures must have legislative power.
Univ. of Akron Law School
rich at uakron.edu
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