Juror's concern that man on trial didn't swear on the bible results in the verdict getting tossed

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/05/jurors-concern-that-man-on-t.html


The voir dire for the next trial should be interesting…


So what affirmation would that juror have been satisfied with? Or, for that matter, the defendant?


Better question: Why are we making people swear on the Bible in 2019? That anachronism needs to go away, fast. As for that lady who was worried because the suspect didn’t swear on the Bible, thank you for demonstrating how quickly religious belief should remove you from any consideration as a serious human being.

Religion should be like watching pro sports: Something you do on Sunday with like-minded people, a lot of fun, not mandatory or meaningful. And it has no place in a courtroom – either you can swear you’ll tell the truth to the court, or not, but everyone’s fave invisible friend, God, should have no part in it.


Hahaha… 2 “jury” posts by pesco in the past day or so. Somebody has been called up for service and is doing their research on how to get out of it. Let me tell you though, if you get on a grand jury you’ll see a side to your city/county/state you didn’t quite know about.


Do tell… do we need a popcorn .gif?


I see an opportunity here for a new, courtroom tool: A bible fitted with miniature load cells that would indicate whether or not it is being pressed down on.


I would appreciate a website set lists everyone in public office who refused to swear on a Bible and instead chose to swear on the Constitution or anything other than the Bible. On second thought such a site would make anyone secular a target of the religious right and all these God-fearing people might start firebombing the secular offices of the appointees much the way they sometimes do with abortion clinics.

I am also sick of this anachronism and it is a joke.
This man is a different religion so he was literally kept from a verdict because someone wanted him to swear on their God?

Can we please invalidate anyone as a juror who demands such a stupid thing?


I would be tempted to swear on a copy of “The Kingdom of God is Within You”. Most of the xtianists won’t realise that it is an anarcho-communist book about resisting the state.


Augmented reality app. Just press the button for “Navigate to Next Godless Heathen”.

Gotta catch them all, and let God sort them out .


a post-verdict meeting with the jury

Has that always been a thing? I thought the general principle was that the jury could make whatever cockamine decision they wanted to for whatever reason and that it would stand regardless. (I also thought it was a highly questionable principle.)

1 Like

A jury’s acquittal will virtually always stand, whatever the reason (a possible exception is if it can be proven that the defendant is guilty of jury tampering). A jury’s conviction can be overturned by a judge for good cause shown.


I’m sworn to secrecy or some such thing, right? It was 2 weeks with about 7 cases per day that we heard. You hear a lot of shitty things people did but you hear a lot of really admirable things people did in response as well. A real love/hate response to humanity. What I will say is that one jury kept falling asleep everyday right after lunch. She was funny because she’d jolt awake right before we would cast our votes and ask me how she should vote. Yep, perfect system we Americans have.



Strange as it might seem, some judges, realizing that juries are indispensable, are nice to the jury members. We were thanked, and asked to fil out a survey on our experiences.

From a book on jury innovations:

After formally excusing the jury from service, the trial judge invites any jurors who are interested to meet with the judge informally. The judge generally meets with the jurors
in the jury deliberation room; however, the courtroom (after the parties, attorneys, and spectators have left) or the judge’s chambers (if space permits) are acceptable alternatives. Typically, the parties and their attorneys are not invited to participate in these meetings, although some judges favor their participation in the interest of the attorneys’ education. See also § 7.4, Post-Verdict Interviews by Attorneys and Researchers. The ABA Principles for Juries and Jury Trials encourages participation by the attorneys.

At the beginning of the meeting, the judge should thank the jurors for their participation in the trial. He or she may explain that judges are not permitted to comment on the verdict, but are permitted to answer general questions about the trial process. Informal meetings with jurors also provide an opportunity for the judge to ask about
the jurors’ perception of jury service and to solicit their suggestions for improving jury administration and management. For example, the judge can ask whether there were specific parts of jury service that they found particularly confusing or irritating. The judge should caution jurors against disclosing details of their deliberations, particularly for criminal cases in which the judge may have substantive proceedings in the future (e.g., sentencing hearings).

The key is that it’s after formal dismissal. Any member of the jury is free, and should feel free to go home. The same book also has chapters on post verdict debriefings, which are sometime used in particularly stressful trials-- e.g the trial of Jeffrey Dahmer.


I wish I had someone in my life who looked at me the way Trump looks at his frothing hordes.

I thought that had actually been dispensed with, given how blatantly… wrong it is. But it’s extra silly when the swearer is a non-Christian: “We want you to swear that your testimony is true, and to make sure you mean it, we’re going to have you do it on a book that means absolutely nothing to you.”


What if you don’t want to swear on the bible because you’re worried touching it will cause you to be consumed by a tower of blue flame reaching towards the heavens? Asking for a friend.



1 Like