Friday, February 15, 2019

Death Qualification of Jurors Does Not Violate RFRA

In United States v. Ofomata, (ED LA, Feb. 11, 2019), a Louisiana federal district court rejected a number of challenges to the federal death penalty, including the argument that the death-qualification process violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment by necessarily excluding jurors based on their religion. The court said in part:
Even assuming that Ofomata was able to show that the death-qualification process constitutes a substantial burden, his RFRA claim fails because “[t]he question [of] whether a juror is able to follow the law and apply the facts in an impartial way . . . is a compelling government interest.”