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USA TODAY: Boston bombing jury excludes some Catholics

27. jan. 2015

G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Special for USA TODAY, skriver bl.a.:

BOSTON – As the quest for a jury in the Boston Marathon bombing trial approaches its fourth week, some of the area's 2 million Roman Catholics are growing frustrated with criteria that effectively disqualify followers of church teachings.

Potential jurors in bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trial must be able to impose the death penalty or a life sentence with no possibility of release. That standard eliminates Catholics who heed the catechism of the Catholic Church, which says a death sentence is not to be used when "non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor." Cases warranting the death penalty "are very rare, if not practically non-existent," according to the catechism, because government has other means to keep the public safe from convicts.

"It is both ironic and unfortunate that Catholics who understand and embrace this teaching will be systematically excluded from the trial," says the Rev. James Bretzke, professor of moral theology at Boston College. "It is frustrating."

Judge George O'Toole had hoped to hear opening arguments Monday, but they have been delayed because individual questioning of jurors, which began Jan. 15 after questionnaires were filled out, is taking longer than anticipated. A new start date has not been scheduled.

O'Toole has denied two defense motions to move the trial out of Boston, but the protracted jury selection process is keeping the issue alive. On Thursday, Tsarnaev's lawyers filed a third motion for a change of venue, asking the court to give juror questionnaires "fresh evaluation."

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