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[N.C.] Court officials cover up Ten Commandments as trial begins
Durham Herald-Sun [Durham, N.C.] ^ | February 3, 2004 | The Associated Press

Posted on 02/03/2004 6:01:51 AM PST by Constitution Day



Court officials cover up Ten Commandments as trial begins

The Associated Press
February 3, 2004   7:29 am

NASHVILLE, N.C. -- Attorneys in a capital murder trial are squabbling over a cover-up of the Ten Commandments displayed on a wall at the Nash County Courthouse.

After a request from the defense team, Superior Court Judge Quentin Sumner ruled on Monday the two panels that show the Ten Commandments will be covered for the duration of Andre Edwards' trial. The order upset prosecutors.

"We understand the constitutional separation of church and state, but the next thing they'll be asking for is that the Bible be removed from the courtroom when witnesses come up to testify," said Assistant District Attorney Keith Werner.

"If we're going to be covering them up for this trial, we should be covering them up for every trial."

Defense attorneys Sam Dixon and Tommy Moore filed a motion last week, requesting that the judge have the panels covered. Dixon argued that the displays should be covered to provide his client with a fair trial, especially considering that Edwards could be sentenced to death if he is convicted.

"This is the most important of all trials -- one in which the state is looking to take a man's life from him," Dixon said.

On Friday, county maintenance workers covered the displays, which were painted about 90 years ago on each side of the judge's bench. Sumner said his decision was based partially on avoiding an appeal in the case.

"This trial is the state versus Andre Edwards, not the state versus the Ten Commandments or the country versus the Ten Commandments," the judge said.

Jury selection also began Monday and was expected to last two weeks. The entire trial could run as long as eight to 10 weeks, court officials said.

Andre Edwards, 34, is charged with abducting Ginger Hayes and her 18-month-old baby in June 2001 from outside the store and forcing her to drive to a remote area. Along the way, he forced the woman to withdraw cash from a teller machine in Rocky Mount

Police said Edwards raped the woman and beat her to death with a tire rim and left the baby boy for dead. Nicholas Hayes, now 4, suffered severe sunburn in 90-degree heat but did survive.

Authorities tracked Edwards through his use of the ATM card.

Jeremy Hayes was driving his wife and son from Myrtle Beach, S.C., back to their home in Hampton, Va., when he went into the CVS store for snacks. But when the Air Force staff sergeant came outside, his car and his family were gone.

URL for this article: http://www.heraldsun.com/state/6-442591.html


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; US: North Carolina
KEYWORDS: northcarolina; oldnorthstate; purge; tencommandments; unhelpful
Photo from my local paper:

The Ten Commandments inside the Nash County Courthouse have been covered for the Andre Edwards trial, which started Monday with jury selection.
(Telegram photo/Jason Ivester)

1 posted on 02/03/2004 6:01:52 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: yall
Article from the Rocky Mount Telegram:

State 'opposes these types of shenanigans'

By J. Eric Eckard, Rocky Mount Telegram

NASHVILLE – Andre Edwards' capital murder trial started Monday in Nash County with a cover-up.

Not your typical conspiracy theory, but a literal cover-up of the Ten Commandments that are emblazoned on the walls of the Nash County Courthouse.

Edwards, 34, is charged with the kidnapping, rape and murder of 23-year-old Ginger Hayes in June 2001. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

After a request from the defense team, Superior Court Judge Quentin Sumner ruled on Monday the two panels that show the Ten Commandments will be covered for the duration of Edwards' trial – much to the displeasure of the prosecution.

"The state vigorously opposes covering of the Ten Commandments," said Assistant District Attorney Keith Werner. "We understand the constitutional separation of church and state, but the next thing they'll be asking for is that the Bible be removed from the courtroom when witnesses come up to testify.

"That's how absurd this type of motion is. It's a travesty to take these kinds of steps. The state vehemently opposes these types of shenanigans."

Werner also called the defense's request "a flagrant interpretation of the law."

"If we're going to be covering them up for this trial, we should be covering them up for every trial," said Werner, who is prosecuting the case along with Assistant District Attorney Charlene Coggins-Franks.

Edwards' defense attorneys, Sam Dixon and Tommy Moore, filed a motion this past week, requesting that the judge have the panels covered.

Dixon argued that the displays should be covered to provide his client with a fair trial, especially considering the possible penalty if Edwards is convicted – death.

"This is the most important of all trials – one in which the state is looking to take a man's life from him," Dixon added.

On Friday, county maintenance workers concealed the displays, which are located on each side of the judge's bench and painted about 90 years ago.

Sumner, who admitted that the decision was based partially on avoiding an appeal in the case, called the cover-up a "pre-emptive matter."

"This trial is the state vs. Andre Edwards, not the state vs. the Ten Commandments or the country vs. the Ten Commandments," the judge added.

In addition to this hearing, jury selection also started in the Edwards trial.

Nearly 300 prospective jurors filled out questionnaires and then were divided into smaller 25-member panels. Each panel is expected to return to the courthouse over the next couple of weeks for attorneys to consider each potential panelist as a member of the final jury.

Authorities charge that Edwards carjacked Hayes and her baby in June 2001 from a CVS pharmacy in Greenville, drove to Rocky Mount and forced the woman to draw out cash from an ATM. Afterward, Edwards took Hayes and the then 18-month-old baby to a remote spot in Nash County, raped and beat the woman to death with a tire rim and left the boy for dead, authorities charge. The baby, Nicholas Hayes, now 4, survived 90-degree heat in just a diaper, but suffered a severe sunburn.

Authorities were able to track Edwards through his use of the cash machine.


2 posted on 02/03/2004 6:05:19 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: Constitution Day
The only fitting response to this is to try the SOB, convict him if the evidence is there, and send him to Hell.
3 posted on 02/03/2004 6:06:33 AM PST by grobdriver
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To: Constitution Day
Well, we wouldn't want the jurors to know or understand that there is a moral foundation for the prohibition against cold-blooded murder.
4 posted on 02/03/2004 6:07:41 AM PST by anniegetyourgun
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To: *Old_North_State; **North_Carolina; mykdsmom; 100%FEDUP; 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; ~Vor~; ...
NC Freepers, this really is unbelievable to me.
I live about 15 miles from Nashville.
The town is pretty small, and couldn't be farther away from a 'Chapel Hill' type of liberal mentality.


NC ping!
Please FRmail me if you want to be added to or removed from this North Carolina ping list.

5 posted on 02/03/2004 6:09:14 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: Constitution Day
We would not want anything in there to make lawyers feel guilty.
6 posted on 02/03/2004 6:16:29 AM PST by Piquaboy
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To: Constitution Day
" Edwards raped the woman and beat her to death with a tire rim and left the baby boy for dead."

The state shouldn't be involved; they should simply turn this guy over to Jeremy Hayes.

7 posted on 02/03/2004 6:20:32 AM PST by Redbob
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To: Constitution Day
...and the courts bow and curtsy to this sorry piece of eel crap.
8 posted on 02/03/2004 6:20:34 AM PST by azhenfud ("He who is always looking up seldom finds others' lost change...")
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To: Constitution Day
-sounds like they outta be worried about their client's life, not the 10 Commandments. Do you have the death penalty down there?
9 posted on 02/03/2004 6:21:57 AM PST by tioga
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To: azhenfud
"sorry piece of eel crap"

That is an insult to the digestive systems of eels.

10 posted on 02/03/2004 6:23:22 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: Constitution Day
LOL! well, I couldn't think of anything lower than that, except maybe the mud beneath the roll - and him.
11 posted on 02/03/2004 6:26:57 AM PST by azhenfud ("He who is always looking up seldom finds others' lost change...")
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To: tioga
Yeah, no kidding they should be worried about his life.
NC executed 7 people in 2003, up from 2 in 2002.
12 posted on 02/03/2004 6:27:12 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: tioga; Constitution Day
"Do you have the death penalty down there?"

Yeah. We've got it - and we've got lawyers who obstruct justice, too.

13 posted on 02/03/2004 6:31:35 AM PST by azhenfud ("He who is always looking up seldom finds others' lost change...")
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To: Constitution Day
If I lived in this town, and knew that they forced the 10 commandments to be covered, there is nothing that would prejudice me more against this client.

If you have to cover over the words, "Thou shalt not kill," I would immediately think you were guilty of murder, and unrepentant before God.
14 posted on 02/03/2004 6:37:27 AM PST by I still care
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To: Constitution Day
Under this rationale, every judge who put his hand on the Bible when he was sworn into office is unfit to serve.
15 posted on 02/03/2004 6:59:52 AM PST by kimoajax
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To: Constitution Day
This is outrageous! Funny how these things have never bothered anyone for the past 90 years.

I'm currently reading David Limbaugh's book: Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity. Very good book so far.

Sad how the incorrect interpretation of the Establishment Clause by the left and how they have "conveniently" forgotten the Free Exercise Clause is actually unconstitutionally supressing religious liberties.

MKM

16 posted on 02/03/2004 7:00:16 AM PST by mykdsmom (36.2% of the US taxpaying population pays 95.8% of the total federal income taxes.)
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To: Constitution Day
Smart judge. He's playing CYA to cut a possible ground for appeal ("the display influenced the jury"), saving the taxpayers money and expediting this guy's trip to the death chamber.
17 posted on 02/03/2004 7:08:31 AM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: tioga
Do you have the death penalty down there?

Yes... it is called......

ABORTION


18 posted on 02/03/2004 7:21:17 AM PST by Elsie (When the avalanche starts... it's too late for the pebbles to vote....)
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To: tioga
Yes, we DO have a death penalty & use it more than a lot of states. As much as I dispise Tax-Hike Mike Easley, he is a pretty staunch supporter of the death penalty. You can also take comfort in the fact that the eastern part of NC is VERY conservative and everyone in that part of the state no doubt remembers all of this. This is a very religious part of the state as well.

I remember when this piece of garbage kidnapped this woman & the heartbreak that husband had to endure. I remember how troubling all of this was to everyone in that part of the state. I suspect these lawyers are grasping at everything they can at this point. IMHO, since that part of the state is quite religious in many sections, this will NOT play well with a jury pool, nor will it go over well with the general public. I think they would have been better off having him show up looking like a Baptist preacher and praising the virtues of the Ten Commandments, but then again, I am not a lawyer! (thank God!)

My wife's family lives not far from where all of this happened, so it hit home for all of us, especially since we have 2 sons who were pretty young then and travelled to that part of the state often.
19 posted on 02/03/2004 7:22:21 AM PST by Littlejon
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To: Constitution Day
I would think that covering them up would draw more attention to them.
20 posted on 02/03/2004 7:25:24 AM PST by freekitty
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To: mykdsmom
"Funny how these things have never bothered anyone for the past 90 years."

For much of those 90, if one were "offended" by The Ten, they'd exercise the good sense not to admit it in the company of predominately Southern or Free Will Baptists.

21 posted on 02/03/2004 7:32:51 AM PST by azhenfud ("He who is always looking up seldom finds others' lost change...")
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To: mykdsmom
I've been meaning to pick up David Limbaugh's book, but haven't yet.
Yes, it IS funny how no one complained for 90 years, and I daresay that this is NOT the first murder trial held in this courthouse.

I'll be sure to post follow-ups on this as the trial progresses.

22 posted on 02/03/2004 10:38:25 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: Constitution Day
I guess the commandment not to kill "offends" murderers. We wouldn't want to make them feel badly, would we?
23 posted on 02/03/2004 10:42:28 AM PST by freeangel (freeangel)
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To: Elsie
-amazing -- liberal groups would tell us we are inhumane if we are against abortion and inhumane if we are for the death penalty. The only sense I can make of it is that they love to kill and get away with it.
24 posted on 02/03/2004 10:51:13 AM PST by tioga
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To: Constitution Day
I'm waiting for the day when, if convicted, this defendant comes out to some interviewer, or maybe in one of his appeals, and says, "I have now found God. I read the Bible daily," yada yada yada.

It'll come, trust me.

As for covering up the Ten Commandments, I think every courthouse in today's current climate should have a Ten Commandments wall hanging, with a shroud covering it, as they have in this courthouse. It makes an even more powerful statement than does the appearance of the Commandments themselves.

A shrouded copy of the Ten Commandments on the wall could well be called a religious symbol of atheism. Funny how it's okay for the symbols of the atheist religion to hang on the courthouse wall, but not for the symbols of any other religions to hang there.
25 posted on 02/03/2004 1:00:11 PM PST by Devil_Anse
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To: Constitution Day
Disgusting on many counts

Judge Sumner is spineless. No doubt he is also a RAT, although the legislature conveniently went to non partisan elections when the tide started to change

I do not think it is a CYA situation. We do have a conservative, GOP controlled NC Supreme Court. No doubt in my mind that they wouldn't overturn a jury decision on this ground.

Shame on the defense attorneys. What a lame motion to make. They should be sanctioned.

CD, does the local media say that this is the Sam Dixon from the Edenton, Elizabeth City area? If so, I"ll have something to say.

What a disgusting crime.

26 posted on 02/03/2004 6:59:16 PM PST by Windom Earle
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To: Windom Earle
Spineless, I agree.

Sumner is registered "unaffiliated", how convenient.
Re: the non-partisan judicial elections, have you seen the commercial with former Govs. Hunt and Holshouser exhorting us to support public financing for judicial candidates?

Don't know if this Sam Dixon is the one you refer to.
The latest news about this story doesn't say.
I seem to recall someone by that name running in the Dem. primary for Clayton's 1st Dist. seat, now held by Ballance... am I wrong?

I need to FRmail you; will try to do so this morning.

27 posted on 02/04/2004 6:19:58 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: Constitution Day
Sumner may be unaffiliated since elections are now "nonpartisan" but if my memory serves, he is a RAT.

The guy you're thinking of who ran for Congress is Sam Davis, who runs a hardware store.

28 posted on 02/04/2004 10:05:03 AM PST by Windom Earle
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