Can a murderer ever be redeemed?
JMHACLJ at aol.com
JMHACLJ at aol.com
Tue Dec 13 10:50:20 PST 2005
In a message dated 12/13/2005 1:20:06 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu writes:
Yet surely the answer is that it's perfectly legitimate for
people to base either their support or opposition to capital punishment
on religious justifications, just as it's legitimate for people to base
their opposition to murder, slavery, racism, and the like on religious
justification. Am I mistaken? Would some on this list argue otherwise?
Eugene, of course you are correct, so far as you take your point. There is
no government orthodoxy, as I understand it, that may be imposed on the
thinking of the People about matters of politics, religion, and the like (a
separate fight, please, about the meaning of "imposed"). But what about when the
question moves beyond support for or opposition to the death penalty to actual
cases? What happens when people of faith enter the jury box?
What then are the constitutional strictures? If Venireman Smith may base
his support for, or opposition to, the death penalty, on the teaching of his
faith, how may the government modify its treatment of him in respect of that
religious fount for his opinions and actions?
If, in honest answer during voir dire, he expresses the view that the death
penalty is illicit in all cases, based on that religious belief, must he be
excused for cause? may he be excused for cause?
If Venireman Smith supports the death penalty for murder because of the
teaching of his faith, must he be excluded from service while Venirewoman Jones
be retained for service because her opinions on the death penalty are not
traceable to religious teaching or faith?
May the Prosecutor (as I suspect is more likely) or the defense counsel
inquire into religious faith with the intent and purpose of rooting out veniremen
whose religious identity would likely predispose them in one way or another
on the question of death?
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