Based Upon the Requirements of the Biblical Death Penalty,<br> No Person of Biblical Faith Can Support the<br> Use of Confessions in Capital Cases
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I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
November 1, 2012
Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Correctional Chaplain Florida's Death Row & Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella,Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed and for seventeen years a Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults.

Based Upon the Requirements of the Biblical Death Penalty,
No Person of Biblical Faith Can Support
the Use of Confessions in Capital Cases

By: Dale S. Recinella
Catholic Correctional Chaplain for Florida’s Death Row

My friend and spiritual brother in faith, Michael G. Bruno, went home to be with the Lord on October 22nd of this year – twenty-five years and two days after arriving to Florida’s death row.

The following text together with the imbedded footnotes is excerpted [with permission] from the scholarly book: The Biblical Truth about America’s Death Penalty (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2004), at pages 133 - 135.


False confessions can also be obtained from healthy people through threats. In a civil lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office of Broward County, Florida (Fort Lauderdale and Deerfield Beach) a witness recently testified that he spent sixteen months in jail after confessing to a murder that he did not really commit, claiming the detectives threatened him with the electric chair if he didn’t confess and also implicate two other innocent men. Furthermore, he claims to have cracked after only three hours of pressure from detectives who convinced him that confessing was his only way out of the death penalty.i

Experts are scurrying to establish procedures that will make murder confessions trustworthy. The fact of the matter is that under the standards of biblical truth in Torah/Pentateuch and the provisions of Talmud necessary to fulfill those scriptures, all confessions—true, false, coerced or voluntary—are prohibited from being used as evidence in a capital case. We can see the wisdom in this, especially when we experience the power of false confessions to overcome all other evidence to the contrary.

We must marvel at the wisdom revealed by biblical truth in the strict prohibition against confessions. Although the American ideal for testimony in capital cases is that only reliable confessions would be allowed as evidence, the actual practice in America is that even inherently unreliable confessions are freely allowed as evidence and are used by the prosecution because they are extremely persuasive with juries. Both the ideal and the practice fall far short of the biblical standard, which would strictly prohibit any confessions in a capital case, regardless of the circumstances.

In a current Florida case, from the same county that was investigated in the reports by the Miami Herald, confessions of both a father and his son were used.ii The police arrested both the defendant and his then fifteen-year old son. The father attests that he was concerned about his son’s condition, especially after the police fired off a gun right near the teenager’s head in order to scare him into talking. The father agreed to say anything the police wanted if they would just release his son. He gave a taped statement that he had shot the victim and the police then released his son. The defendant wrongly assumed that once he and his son were out of police custody, they could get everything worked out.

… The father claims that there is no physical evidence or forensic evidence connecting him to the crime scene. The use of the father’s own confession, given under duress for the sake of his child … was pivotal to the State’s case. The Florida Supreme Court denied the defendant any relief, even though his attorney was discovered to have been addicted to and using drugs and severely abusing alcohol during the time of preparation for his trial.iii The father has been on Florida’s death row for over seventeen years [at the time of this writing].

A confession given by the father under duress for the sake of his son would never be allowed under the biblical truth of Torah/Pentateuch and the provisions of Talmud that fulfill those scriptural limitations. The answer for us is clear. Biblical truth reveals that the American death penalty fails miserably when it comes to the prohibition against using confessions in capital cases. _________________________________________________

i Associated Press, “Innocent Man: I Confessed to Murder under Electric Chair Threat,” Miami Herald, October 3, 2003.
ii Michael G. Bruno v. State of Florida, 807 So.2d 55 (Florida Supreme Court, 2001).
iii Bruno v. State.

©2004 Dale S. Recinella, Tallahassee, Florida U.S.A.
Used with Permission. All rights reserved.
No reuse republication without permission.

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I Was In Prison
News & Updates
This ezine is targeted for people involved in prison ministry or in stopping the death penalty, we think you will find helpful information for people who are undecided about capital punishment, for those who have never experienced the inside of a jail or prison, and for those who feel called to participate through prayer and adoration.

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Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed

If you Like this Monthly Ezine - You will love Dale's Book!
The Poor Clare Sisters
Paperback: 433 pages

Excellent book on the topic!,
June 13, 2005 Nathan Eanes
(Review from

The Biblical Truth about America's Death Penalty is a must-read. It deals with Biblical standards of Capital Punishment and then compares them to the system used in America today. It is the best-researched, most faithful to scripture, and most evenhanded analysis I have ever read concerning the Death Penalty. Whatever your persuasion on the issue, this book will teach you a great deal. Recinella is a trained lawyer and committed Christian who now volunteers part-time on Florida's death row. He thus understands law, the Bible, and the system of execution in America. I challenge anyone who supports the Death Penalty to read this book.

This ezine edited by The Poor Clare Sisters of Spokane
to support the IWasInPrison Outreach