Is the presence of a Bible in a deliberation room cause for a new trial? Is it possible that the Bible could have played a role in violating a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial before an impartial jury? The First Circuit Court of Appeal said no, doesn’t think so.
Carlos Rodriguez was convicted by a jury of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Almost immediately after his verdict was delivered, the trial judge came to learn that a pocket-sized New Testament Bible was found in the jury deliberation room. The judge notified the defense counsel and counsel moved for a new trial. Defense counsel’s main argument was that the presence of the Bible violated the defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights— namely, the right of a fair trail before an impartial jury and the right to confront the witness against him. Counsel asked that each juror be called back for a voir-dire. The motion was denied.