Thursday, April 26, 2007

Judge Sets Low Bond For Defendant Who Knows His Bible

Should a defendant's knowledge of religious texts be relevant to his treatment in the criminal justice system? Yesterday's Cincinnati (OH) Enquirer reported that in Hamilton County's Municipal Court, Judge John Burlew released on low bond a defendant accused of using a stolen credit card. Defendant Eric Hine's attorney argued that his client was a churchgoer who is employed full time. The judge, skeptical of the claim, asked Hine to recite the 23rd Psalm. After Hine got the first verse right, the judge told him that he would let him out of jail if he could recite the entire psalm. Hine did, and Judge Burlew kept his word, releasing Hine on a $10,000 unsecured appearance bond.

UPDATE: WCPO reports that Eric Hine was back in jail on Friday on different charges. Meanwhile Judge John Burlew defended his actions as merely testing whether Hine's attorney was being accurate when he told the judge that Hine was a Christian.