Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mormon Jurors Need Not Apply

I just came across this interesting article from the Daily Herald highlighting a man from Ogden, Utah charged with aggravated murder who requested that no Mormon be on his jury. His attorney filed a motion to keep Mormons off the jury because his attorney Sharon Sipes believes that some members of the Mormon church might believe that the only way for him to be forgiven by God is to be executed. Sharon Sipes, a public defender for Riqo Perea, filed the motion in 2nd District Court. She says a belief among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that the only way to receive true forgiveness from God after committing a serious offense is to shed one's own blood.

Sipes says that although the church has indicated blood atonement isn't part of official doctrine, members widely believe it. As a life long member of the Church I've never heard of anyone who believes in the "blood atonement" (and I've met a lot of members with some whacked out beliefs). Perea, 21, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder in a gang-related 2007 shooting. Perea could face the death penalty. Sipes, I'll give you an "A" for effort but I don't see a Judge buying this.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, you gotta love those creative PD's. I've actually heard of the "blood atonement" philosophy before, but I'm relatively certain that it is a belief shared only by a small number of fringe individuals. It certainly isn't a wide-spread belief of many Mormons, much less an official doctrine. This seems like a publicity stunt to me. It would be more accurate to ask every potential juror, regardless of religious affiliation, whether they believed that forgiveness of murder required execution.