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Guest Post: Sad Day for Victim’s Family – Idaho Supreme Court Orders Re-sentencing for Cold-blooded Killer

June 19th, 2008 by Halli

From Bryan Fischer, Idaho Values Alliance

After going through the anguish of the trial for the brutal murder of young Samantha Mayer, her family will now have to face the agony of going through another sentencing trial after the Idaho Supreme Court set aside his death sentence.

In the course of vacating the sentence, the Court kicked the Bible out of Idaho’s judicial system for good measure.

The murderer, Darrell Payne, was found guilty of the kidnapping, rape and murder of Mayer, a BSU coed, and has been on death row since 2002. In truth, he should have been executed six years ago, satisfying the demands of justice and allowing Samantha’s family to find closure and some measure of peace.

In the summer of 2000, Payne had previously sexually assaulted two 14-year-old girls in Barber Park and raped another Boise woman in her apartment before abducting and murdering Mayer while she was on her way to class early that fall.

The Court’s ruling recounts the brutal and heinous nature of his crime. According to the ruling, which you may read at the link following this column, the murderer forced his young victim into her own car at gunpoint and then raped her, “leaving bruises, cuts and scrapes on her face, back and buttocks.”

Then, after raping her, he shot her in the back of the head, tossed her body in the back seat of her car, drove her back to his home and dumped her body in a concrete drainage tank containing water and garbage, after putting a plastic bag over her head. When her body was found, she was found with her clothing leaving her body in a sexually exposed position.

He then went into his house, ate some left-over pizza, took the victim’s keys, purse and credit cards and took a drive to the Oregon coast. If there ever was a man who without question deserves to die, and deserved to die six years ago, Darrell Payne is it.

But, according to the Idaho Supreme Court, District Judge Thomas Neville impermissibly allowed victim impact statements from individuals other than Samantha’s immediate family, allowed them to express their opinions of Payne and the sentence he deserved, and quoted the Bible in support of the death penalty.

Samantha’s family members and friends, whose lives were utterly devastated by her inhumane murder, variously described Payne, according to the ruling, as “evil, a waste of aspirin, a sociopath, a cold-blooded killer, unremorseful, a predator, cold and calculating, not a man, not even human, selfish, a coward, a pathetic monster, a wimp and a man without a conscience.”

Anybody got a problem with that? If your daughter were kidnapped, raped, murdered and dumped in a concrete tank by a guy who then had a spot of lunch and used your daughter’s car and credit cards to take a jaunt to the coast, I believe you’d think – and be willing to say – much the same thing. And you would be convinced that your opinion regarding what should be done to the man who wantonly took the life of your daughter should count for something in our system of justice.

Well, the Court ruled that “none of these statements were admissible,” and set aside his death sentence on the grounds that such statements were impermissibly “inflammatory.” The Court added insult to injury by emphasizing in the text of their ruling that victim impact testimony took a full day, as if her family and friends did not even deserve eight hours of the court’s time to describe their loss.

Further, the Court ruled that friends of the family should not have been permitted to recount the impact of the crime on them, even though they were as ravaged by the crime as Samantha’s immediate family.

Two of the disallowed impact statements were from Samantha’s best friends, both of whom were in her wedding, and will experience this tragic loss for the rest of their lives.

And then to add frosting to this sorry cake, the Court unanimously ruled, even though every homicide statute in the United States is founded upon the Sixth Commandment, that the mention of any passages from the Bible that call for the death penalty for murder is likewise inadmissible since they represent “calls to religious authority as the basis for punishment.”

Samantha’s own father, in his victim impact statement, was the one who told the court, “Numbers 35:16 states, ‘If a man strikes someone with an iron object so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death.’”

He also quoted the words of Deuteronomy 22:25: “But if out in the country a man happens to meet a girl pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die.”

When a father cannot appeal to Scripture in asking for justice for his own murdered daughter our courts are on the verge of losing any pretext to moral authority they might have.

As Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel has said, “Citations to the incorporation of this Commandment (‘You shall not murder’) from colonial times to the present are legion. Courts have been very candid in tracing the prohibition against murder back to the Sixth Commandment.”

Well, if such declarations are “inadmissible,” our system of justice has no proper foundation at all because the Founders based our entire system of government on a “call to religious authority,” the conviction that our civil rights – which include Samantha’s right to life – are gifts to us from our Creator.

If the Court were to be consistent on this matter, it would have to prevent any American citizen or attorney from so much as even referring to the Declaration of Independence in a court of law.

Forcing Samantha’s family to relive their pain in a second sentencing hearing strikes me as cruel and unusual all by itself. Where do they go for justice and fairness?
The victim’s father, Paul Blomberg, told the Idaho Statesman, “We want to move on with our lives, and we can’t do that until this is over.”
Justice and compassion are two sides of the same coin. When justice is done, when perpetrators are adequately punished for their crimes, it provides some expression of compassion and closure for those who loved the victim. Injustice, on the other hand, as we have here, is a gross form of hardheartedness toward the victim’s family and friends and shows no appreciation or regard for their pain and suffering.

Injustice instead inflicts a fresh cycle of agony and heartache on the victim’s family and shows an inexcusable preference for the so-called rights of callous killers.

It appears that the Court primarily cited previous court rulings rather than the law itself in its opinion. Perhaps it’s time to scrap bad precedent and go back to the law itself.

Whether or not the “law” and precedent dictated the outcome of the Court I will leave to those with more knowledge of technicalities and loopholes in code.

What I do know is that even if the “law” has been upheld, justice has not been done.

And since the only purpose of law is the implementation of justice, something is badly, badly wrong with this picture.

Idaho Supreme Court: Idaho v. Payne

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