Court Holds Mennonite Woman in Contempt for Refusing to Testify

Court Holds Mennonite Woman in Contempt for Refusing to Testify

Court Holds Mennonite Woman in Contempt for Refusing to Testify
By Dtobias (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
Religious beliefs forbid Mennonite Greta Lindecrantz to testify

Greta Lindecrantz, a Mennonite woman, has been jailed indefinitely after she declined to testify[/tweetit]. The prosecution asked her to do so in a specific death penalty case. District Judge Michelle Amico found the 67-year-old in contempt of court as she would not answer any question while in witness stands due to her religious beliefs.

Court Holds Mennonite Woman in Contempt for Refusing to Testify[/tweetthis]

Lindecrantz was asked to testify on the prosecution's behalf in the Robert Ray appeals hearing. Ray was pronounced guilty of ordering the murder of two individuals, Vivian Wolfe and Javad Marshall-Fields, in 2005 and subsequently sentenced to death in 2009. Both Marshal and Wolfe were witnesses in a separate murder case. Lindecrantz came into the picture as she was employed as an investigator for the team tasked to defend Ray. The attorneys at that time, however, have not requested her to be a legal witness. Mari Newman, her present attorney, said right now the prosecution wants to interrogate her on the subject of her work during the original trial and investigation. Newman terms such action as completely unnecessary as all work she did is already available as an official court record. There is no need, her attorney said, to take the stand.

Newman argued to the court that Lindecrantz should be released. She wore an orange jumpsuit and sat calmly in the court with shackled hands. Her attorney said that there is no reason that her client can be punished only for her religious beliefs. Newman said, Lindecrantz, by testifying, would be violating her religious and moral views. The lawyer pointed out that imprisonment was ineffective in the past and it would be ineffective in the future as well.

Judge Amico, however, was having none of it. She said that she gave her decision and she would stick to it. She informed Newman that the Lindecrantz may appeal to higher court. Before that time comes, the one-time investigator could return to jail. Prior to the judge's pronouncement, Newman had requested for a lesser punishment. The judge had turned it down, pointing out that less punishment will not be effective as Lindecrantz has refused to testify even after staying in jail.

According to Newman, Lindecrantz opposes the killing of any human being, including those sanctioned by the state. The latter has declined to be a witness for the prosecution, saying that doing so would violate her religious beliefs against the death penalty.

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