PENALTY2 6'?m3f Death Penalty: "No, Jesus would forgive"

JUDGE -- (enters, crosses to bench or podium) This court will
come to order. (pounds gavel) This is the penalty phase of the
trial against William Talbot, who has been convicted of multiple
premeditated murders. What is the recommendation of the state?

PROSECUTOR -- (enters) The state asks for the death penalty,
Your Honor.

JUDGE -- Defense counsel, what say you?

DEFENSE -- Your Honor, as always, our organization opposes the
death penalty. Our usual appeal to the jury is on the basis of
cruel and unusual punishment. But since this is a bench trial
and there is no jury, we must appeal to the sensibilities of
Your Honor, whom we know to be a conservative Christian.

PROSECUTOR -- Your Honor, is it proper to bring religion into
the argument?

JUDGE -- Well, I must say that, in light of defense counsel's
organizations goal of eradicating all vestiges of Christianity
from public life, this does seem to be a rather interesting
strategy. But, as both counsels well know, the Constitution of
the United States does not prohibit religion from influencing
government, but rather it inhibits government from influencing
religion. And, as both counsel's know, our nations laws were
founded on Biblical principles. As such, I have no objection to
the use of religious based arguments in this death penalty
deliberation. Proceed.

DEFENSE -- Thank you, Your Honor. As you have so aptly stated
our organization is not well versed in matters of Christian
doctrine. But I have had a chance to scan the Bible briefly. And
it seems to me from descriptions in the gospels that in all
cases of sin, Jesus would forgive.

JUDGE -- (pause) That's it? That's your argument from the Bible?

DEFENSE -- Yes. And I think it's a powerful argument. Jesus
WOULD forgive.

JUDGE -- Counselor?

PROSECUTOR -- (smiles slyly) Your Honor, I think defense counsel
has a point there.


PROSECUTOR -- Yes, very clearly, the Bible states that if we
humble ourselves and confess our sins, Jesus WOULD INDEED

DEFENSE -- What are you up to?

PROSECUTOR -- If the defendant has humbled himself and taken
responsibility for each and every premeditated murder....

DEFENSE -- This is a trick, isn't it? You're trying to get my
client to confess to the murders so that we will have no grounds
for appeal.

JUDGE -- What about that, counselor?

PROSECUTOR -- Defense Counsel's argument against the death
penalty is based on the idea that Jesus would forgive. I am not
denying that notion, I am merely stating the conditions for the
afore mentioned forgiveness.

DEFENSE -- You're trying to trick me. You're trying to get me to
back away from this strategy against the death penalty!

JUDGE -- Please, counselor, address your comments to the court.

DEFENSE -- Alright, for purposes of argumentation. Let's assume
that my client has indeed humbled himself before God and admits
to each and every one of the six premeditated murders. What
then? Does the prosecutor accept a lesser sentence?

PROSECUTOR -- A lesser sentence?

DEFENSE -- Yes, perhaps life in prison without the possibility 
of parole?

PROSECUTOR -- Life in prison without the possibility of parole?
But Jesus would forgive.

DEFENSE -- Are you saying that you would consider a lesser 
sentence, say, life in prison WITH the possibility of parole?

PROSECUTOR -- A prison sentence is a harsh penalty. But Jesus 
would forgive.

DEFENSE -- What are you up to?

JUDGE -- Please, counselor, address your comments to the court.

DEFENSE -- The prosecutor is up to something, I know it.

JUDGE -- Counselor, are you up to something?

PROSECUTOR -- Your Honor, if Defense Counsel's argument is "But
Jesus would forgive" why should we punish the defendant at all?
Jesus would forgive.

DEFENSE -- You're kidding, right? She's kidding, right?

JUDGE -- Counselor?

PROSECUTOR -- Well, if the only grounds for forgiveness are
humility and confession, I'm willing to release the prisoner, 
provided that we remand custody of the defendant to the defense 
counselor herself.

JUDGE -- Counselor?

DEFENSE -- You've got to be kidding! You're going to remand
custody of a serial killer to me?


DEFENSE -- Me, personally?!


DEFENSE -- He's a serial killer! I would end up dead and
dismembered just like his other victims! That would be cruel and
unusual punishment for me!

PROSECUTOR -- But, Jesus would forgive.

DEFENSE -- This is not what I expected! Listen, I don't know
much about the Bible, but I'm sure that Jesus wasn't talking
about governments forgiving convicted murderers in order to let
them kill again. He must have been talking about God forgiving
individuals of their guilt. Yes, that's it. Jesus would forgive.
But it doesn't apply here.

PROSECUTOR -- I agree.

JUDGE -- Me too. It looks like we're back to the death penalty.

DEFENSE -- Let's not backtrack too far. Is it too late to change
my strategy? What about cruel and unusual punishment?

JUDGE -- Counselor?

PROSECUTOR -- Jesus himself submitted to capital punishment. So
did the apostle Paul. As a matter of fact 11 of the twelve
apostle submitted to capital punishment for lesser offenses than

DEFENSE -- (mutters) He's toast.

JUDGE -- Very well, this court submits to the law of the land,
which, according to Biblical teaching and practice, states that
if man takes the life of a man made in God's image, his life
shall be forfeited. I hereby order the death penalty of the
defendant as prescribed by law and by God. (pounds gavel) This
court is adjourned. (exits)

DEFENSE -- (follows Prosecutor to exit) You know you really had
me going there. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment.

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