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Abraham Trial Essay

1039 words - 4 pages

The trial that Carol Delaney witnessed has brought about a new light on the interpretation of law and religion. This trial has a basis on not only murder of one's child, but on a possible link to the "Tempting Of Abraham" in the book of Genesis. This trial compares the separation between the evil deed committed and the religious motivation to do so. It raises the question, how can a secular legal system deal with this case? To understand the jury's decision, one must recognize the crime and its purpose.In the first phase of the trial, the defendant and prosecutor were trying to decide the severity of the crime. They were hung between a decision of either first-degree murder or manslaughter. The grand jury decided that the death penalty was not a factor in this trial. Therefore, the terms for the defendant were either a hefty jail sentence or plausible case to plea insanity. The defense chose the latter, so that they might contend with the possibility of not having to serve in prison and being released every six months. The idea behind why they chose to enter a plea of not guilty is to defend Cristos Valenti's beliefs and to prove them to the court, along with a lighter sentence. Their argument was centered around his following the word and orders of God. Even though in a moral and legal sense he understood his actions to be wrong, he still could not fathom disobeying God's calling. The problem is that the court will not follow a religious notion, as this trial is a direct correlation with the story of Abraham and Isaac. Nearing the end of the discussion, the jury decided on a verdict of first-degree murder. This shocked the defense, because it was clearly a case of manslaughter on the basis of no inclusive malice. Personally, I believe that the decision on first-degree murder does not relate to this trial. As we know, Valenti was only answering the word of God and following his orders. As shown by the testimonials of his children "he was a good father, was always there, did a lot of family things, was not strict and didn't hit them" (Delaney 55) he knew the repercussions of his actions and would never have done such a thing. The fact that there was no malicious intent should point directly to manslaughter. Since they cannot change what the jury's verdict was, they decided to plead insanity.Throughout the trial, the defense of Valenti was based on his mental state at the time of the murder. It was difficult to see him as insane, because he functioned normally in everyday life. "The psychiatrist said he suffered from religious delusion"(Delaney 57), since he clearly believed that God had told him to commit this act. The trial complicated itself even more when they introduced the fact that he killed his daughter and not his son, as Abraham did. Not to mention that Abraham did not actually kill his son, because God stayed his hand. The question was raised as to why Valenti did not stay his hand, which was...

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