January 24, 2013
Supreme Court Denies Church Robbers' Appeal of 'Vengeance Is Mine' Judge
Judge: "You took the Lord’s money.... 'Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord,' but every now and then I think the judicial system has to contribute what it can."
The United States Supreme Court will not hear an appeal brought by three robbers who were sentenced for robbing a church but claimed that the judge's remarks during sentencing "impermissibly referenced religious beliefs."
In 2008, James Baker sentenced the three plaintiffs to prison for their armed robbery of a church during its Sunday service. Their haul: Less than $3,000. Their prison terms: 5 to 7 years. The three men appealed the ruling, arguing that Baker's references to his personal religious beliefs in his decision was illegal.
In his ruling, Baker stated:
You took God’s money. You took the Lord’s money and those of us that believe that there is an Almighty and that there is a being that created this world to go in and then steal money that is being tendered by people for the furtherance of an earthly kingdom is just outrageous. ... There is scripture that says 'Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord' but every now and then I think the judicial system has to contribute what it can.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the habeas corpus petition by the three robbers in June 2012, and the Supreme Court's decision affirms the lower court's opinion.