A federal circuit court reversed a previous decision and ruled jurors may pray for “divine guidance” during jury deliberations.
The 7-4 ruling of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows for a new trial for former Rep. Corrine Brown, a Florida Democrat who was convicted and served prison time for a conspiracy and fraud scheme involving a bogus scholarship charity, according to the Washington Times.
“Jurors may pray for and believe they have received divine guidance as they determine another person’s innocence or guilt, a profound civic duty but a daunting task to say the least,” wrote Judge William Pryor Jr.
He added, the lower court judge “was wrong to conclude that Juror No. 13’s statements that he received guidance in response to prayers were categorically ‘a bridge too far.’”
The issue arose in the Brown trial when one juror told the district court judge that Juror 13 referred to “higher beings” during deliberations.
“I’ve been following and listening to what has been presented and making a determination from that, as to what I think and believe,”the juror told the judge.
The judge dismissed the juror and appointed an alternate in his place. The jury later ruled Brown guilty on 18 of 22 counts.
The new ruling will allow for a retrial by Brown. The case strongly affirms the ability of a juror to pray and seek divine guidance in making decisions.