Friday, January 07, 2005


A federal appeals court has ruled that a Cincinnati judge did not act unconstitutionally when she quoted the Bible:
A Cincinnati judge did not violate the constitutional rights of a convicted rapist when she sentenced him to 51 years in prison after quoting a Bible verse, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The decision clears the way for a possible showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court over the role a judge's religious beliefs should - or should not - play in court.

The case began in 1998 when Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Melba Marsh sent James Arnett to prison for repeatedly raping an 8-year-old girl.

Marsh quoted a Bible verse that described drowning as an appropriate punishment for those who harm children. Arnett appealed, arguing that the judge's religious beliefs influenced her decision.

In its 2-1 decision Thursday, a panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the sentence should stand because the Bible was just one factor in determining the sentence.

The mind boggles at the idea that quoting Scripture could negate the sentencing of a man who repeatedly raped an 8-year-old girl. We clearly have a society that needs a lot more Bible quoting (and reading), not less.

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