Monday, July 30, 2007

Failure to Preserve Constitutional Separation of Church and State Result in Ronald Marquez Death? Exorcism Update

Ronald Marquez of Phoenix, Arizona was killed by Police officers as they attempted to break up his exorcism of a young girl. The young girl is believed to be the granddaughter Marquez. He was choking her when the police used stun guns to subdue him. Shortly thereafter, Marquez died. Ronald Marquez was 49 years old.

The girl's mother was in the room during the exorcism. She was also injured by the police during their struggle with Marquez. A relative of the girl reported the exorcism to the police and also informed them that an unsuccessful exorcism had also been attempted last Thursday.

"The purpose was to release demons from this very young child," said Sgt. Joel Tranter.

A bed had been pushed up against the door. Officers forced the door open to see Marquez choking his bloodied granddaughter. The mother is a 19-year-old woman who was also in the room, chanting "something religious," Tranter said.Officers used the stun gun several times on Marquez. He initially appeared unharmed; however, after he was handcuffed, he stopped breathing. Marquez's daughter and granddaughter lived in the house with Marquez. Now the question remains, was this a privileged religious ritual or a crime? Keep in mind exorcism is grounded in Christiananity. St Francis performed a famous exorcism of demons at Arezzo.
Update 8-8-07: Biblical cites supporting exorcism provided in comments by J.J.


Anonymous said...



Did You Stop to Think? said...

This is a toughie, especially for a Monday morning?! Geez, Legal Pub... I'm not sure what the rules are regarding children. I know that if a child asks for medical help and her parents believe in faith healing only, the parents can get into trouble because the child isn't old enough to accept their beliefs, rationally, and has a right to medical attention. At least, I read that somewhere once years ago, so this may fall along those lines. Generally speaking, anything that causes harm to anyone or any creature, tends to be illegal. For example, Satanists can't sacrifice babies or horses, etc, or offer up their blood. I would have to vote illegal due to the harm it was causing the child. I don't believe there is anything in the Constitution that gives anyone the right to practice anything, whether it be speech, religion, etc, if it involves harming another. (Of course, what's given or not given is not always enforced, i.e. lynchings in the South in the past century.)

Ms. Calabaza said...

Luke 20:19-26

[19] The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.

[20] Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. [21] So the spies questioned him: "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. [22] Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"

[23] He saw through their duplicity and said to them, [24] "Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?"

[25] "Caesar's," they replied.

He said to them, "Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

[26] They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.


colleency said...

I'm with LS - crime.

There's a difference (imho) between witholding treatment from a sick child, and choking a bloodied child.

No one would have a problem with the grandfather praying over the child, burning incense, chanting, or other non-harmful expressions of faith.

But choking a child who is already bloodied? Nah. The cops wre right.

Ron said...

This was a crazy act and another case of death due to Taser, so their attorneys have another case to defend.

Anonymous said...

A bit off topic but I just can’t hold back…

Yah…you’re right the Taser killed him. It would’ve been so much better if he shot him! Not.

It is true that anytime when humans fight…I mean really fight, not the play stuff kids do in the school yard but the “one is going to the morgue and the other to the hospital”…people get seriously injured and killed. That’s just the lay of the physical combat land.

That said we have the option of:
1. Getting our ass beat and killed (and the little girl continues to be beaten and ???);
2. Using a Taser which is highly effective immediately and 99.9 percent non-deadly; or
3. Using the ultimate felon repellant, the Glock. This, contrary to much misinformed public opinion, is not always immediately effective. Yes it’s true it’s deadlier and much more dangerous, but it can sometimes be like a rattlesnake bite….it’ll kill you later but not help the rattler much at the time. If you want to stop them “NOW!” you might have to eat them up with several high velocity hollow-points.

1. is just not going to happen…sorry, not an option. As between 2. and 3., it would seem that 2. is the preferred option for law enforcement to use, IMHO.

Educate yourself on physical combat (I have over 20 years of martial arts training in multiple disciplines) and the duties and options of law enforcement in protecting themselves and others before being so critical. Tasers are a God-send and, although on rare occasions have contributed (noticed I said contributed not caused) to deaths, they save 100s of times more people than they kill.

Yeah I got it, lets go back to beating people with sticks (nice and progressive technique there, I’ve broken two arms doing so before Tasers…its barbaric and should be reserved for instances where the high risk of severe physical injury to law violators and law enforcement is acceptable).

Or let’s just shot him. That is so much better that Tasering him. NOT!

WTF, you supposed to use nice language and the offer of tea in the afternoon with these crazies?

Put yourself in that room and, unless you’re a slow thinking idiot soon destined for Darwin’s judgment, you’d do the same thing.

The Taser did exactly what the Taser is supposed to do. That’s life. The little girl is not being beaten and the cop goes home. Too bad the bad guy did not do what he was supposed to do.

When challenged by law enforcement, keep your hands and palms visible, don’t represent a threat by word or act, and cooperate…and nobody gets hurt. If there is a fight…somebody’s probably going to get hurt…that’s the way it is (see above). It’s set up so that those who decide to create the “zone of risk” are the only ones in it (to the extent possible).

Bad guy violated the duties imposed on him by law to prevent his injury, he alone decided to create a “zone of risk”, and he alone got hurt in it. This is a bad thing? Should his zone of risk encompass more people and more injury? One person hurt is not enough for you? Would it be better if the cop was beaten to death and the crazy goes back to beating the little girl?

Yeah, that’s a better ending….let’s just have everybody around him subjected to his unilaterally and unlawfully created zone of risk, such that even by following the law one still is placed at risk of serious injury. Let’s be fair…let’s spread his unlawfully created risk of injury to everybody there. That’s sound public policy if ever I heard it.



Anonymous said...

L.S...........who are you anyway, and why do you go on and on and on like that. Are you a killer yourself or what???????? Some wild people on this blog..........

Anonymous Man

Anonymous said...

It is, admittedly, a bit prolix. However, I like to give enough information so that people can better understand my position. It’s called “human communication”. Although cloaked in the form of a question, your argumentum ad hominem attack is not particularly helpful to the discussion. If you can and wish, please address the issues contained.


Ms. Calabaza said...

Hey Legal Pub,

you are missed. Here's hoping you are well.

colleency said...

I second Ms Calabaza'a sentiments.

Hope all is well.

Ron said...

Pubmeister, what happened?????

Are you on vacation? I guess everyone deserves some time off.

Looking forward to your next posting.

Legal Pub said...

Sorry for the absence. While in the Kentucky foothills, I had no contact with the internet world. Ian, I agree it is a tough call. Religious leaders have some times been able to legally support parents who for religious reasons withhold medical treatment. More often, they are not successful. Here, the religious ceremony was apparently causing bodily harm. Probably not time to hold a hearing in order to get an injuction, TRO or similar legal ruling.

L.S. Your post is not off topic at all. Our firm is familiar with litigation concerning Tazer devices. I suspect that co- poster Ron at one time or another has owned stock in Tazer. I don't think anyone would argue that a gun is less likely to be fatal. But a tazer does come with certain definable risks. Some Plaintiffs lawyers have successfully argued that the incidents of death are too high of a known risk with the tazer.

In this case, the family apparently contends Grandpa and mom were executing their religious freedoms in trying to exorcise the little girl. As bizarre as it sounds to some, it is not inconceivable that such conduct is protected under the constitution. Think about how barbaric some view circumcision.

Legal Pub said...

To those interested, L.S. is in law enforcement. His posts are well thought out and argued. Agree of disagree, certainly one can learn his perspective and background by reading his posts...

Anonymous said...

I understand (but don’t agree with) the “1st Amendment freedom” argument. But for purposes of discussion, let’s say this action was protected by the 1st. Still does not mean what happened was wrong.

At 0’dark: 30 with screaming, yelling, fighting, and bleeding kids… I say the order to stop beating the child was still a reasonable one and should have been obeyed. If this was protected activity, the proper manner would have been to comply with given orders and contest the situation in court. The “asphalt is not the court”.

Just because you may or may not prevail in court does not mean one gets to “hold court in the street”. The neat thing in our law is that the cop does not have to be right…he just has to be reasonable.

Going with what we may have had…lets look at it:

1. Get a call from an identified caller;
2. Advised of screaming, yelling…sounds like a little girl is being beaten to death;
3. Arrive on scene and personally corroborate all given information;
4. Attempt to stabilize the scene, and prevent further injury, by giving order to stop the attack;
5. Attack does not stop and, additionally, you are now a subject of the attack…

OK, looks like a protected 1st Amendment issue to me….run away and let her continue to be beaten! NOT!

Even if this was (and it’s not), it’s for the courts to decide, not for him to disobey reasonable and lawful orders and attack an officer.

Sorry, but he created the risk and he was hurt….sucks to be him.


colleency said...

(welcome back, lp!)

How do the courts rule on beating a child with belts or sticks ('spare the rod')? What about the mother who drownded her children because she was trying to save them from demons? - Where have Courts drawn the line on religous expression?

blond bombshell said...

Welcome back L.P. Sure you saw a few inbred clients in the hill country. Welcome to my world, I have to deal with scum on a regular basis...

Seems like whenever there is violence the courts step in to prevent the injury. Some states like Indiana allow spanking by statute. Corporal punishment, while technically allowed, is still pretty dangerous because of civil liability for teachers and child protective services for parents.


Legal Pub said...

L.S. Incidently, a Mr. Johnson of Chicago died this weekend from a Taser. Apparently, he was a violent suspect who resisted arrest. Nevertheless, apparently another unexpected taser death. Still better than a gun but...

Anonymous said...

I understand that when people fight….people get seriously injured and killed.. That’s life. It’s a bad thing when people die. But I sick by my contention that those who choose to create the zone of risk should alone be encompassed in it. I don’t see it as a Taser killing, a gun killing, a stick killing….I see it as a violent law breaker collected on his investment.


Viper said...

L.S. Excellent imagery! Yes, from an officer's perspective, the criminals get what they deserve. Return on investment so to speak. Even "The Lottery" which was a good play about drawing lots to see who gets stoned.

The taser deaths are interesting because some cops have said confidentially that they would have beat the offender over the head with a night stick but thought the taser to be "safer." Not sure which is safer but I understand with your analogy that in your view it does not matter.

Anonymous said...

Actually, in the jurisdiction where I work, beating them in the head is considered deadly force…the same as if you shot them! The Taser, based upon the law of averages, is in the same category as tackling them. And in the grand scheme of things people have been seriously injured and/or killed by being tackled! I know this personally; I chased and tackled a guy once. Not only did I get hurt, but he came down on the point of his elbow on the concrete. He has pins in his arm now and will never have full use of it.

It’s true that Taser use is fraught with danger….but it’s not a danger inherent to the Taser…it’s the danger inherent when people fight. I’m just saying that those who choose to fight should alone bear the risk of injury. This, the Taser does nicely…it’s a Godsend.

I know….I know….I digress. But I think I said it before, “I can’t help it.”


Anonymous said...

Damon revisited!

J.J. said...

This country was founded on religious freedom. The cops stuck their nose in on something that was purely a religious ritual. As a result, a holy man died and the devil won.


michael said...

I have to agree with the Rev, here. If I choose to practice my religion, I ought to be given some flexibility in carrying out my practice. This was a holy man trying to free a body from the devil. Does any one think that is an easy job?


Anonymous said...

In response to J.J.’s, “The cops stuck their nose in on something that was purely a religious ritual”

1st, it not the cops…it’s the law. A concerned citizen provided a credible and corroborated report of an in progress battery/child abuse. The law takes that very seriously, as it should, and rescuers (the cops) were summoned. I’d hate to live in those parts of the world where something of this nature was permitted and/or ignored. God bless America!

2nd, it’s not “purely a religious ritual” in that the laws against battery and assault, those that address child abuse and neglect, etc…are content neutral in that they are not designed to have a disparate impact on religious freedom and, in application, they do not.

I would submit for consideration that creating such a disturbance as to cause a well-founded fear of immediate injury to a child in your neighbor’s mind as to cause them to seek assistance for the suffering child is not “purely a religious ritual”. WTF? You think people are going to come to the incredulous conclusion that you are engaged in a “purely religious ritual”?

3rd, and last…we have laws. The place to test them is in the courtroom, not on the street. One of the great things about America is that we can change our laws…if you don’t agree with them, become politically active and work for change.

However, I don’t know how the law would be changed to permit such a set of facts as these to be considered “purely a religious ritual”.

Such would be a very sick place to live.


Rev. J.J. said...

L.S. as you know, I am a spiritual man. The Good Book contains references to exorcism. In the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament)there were a few references to demon possession.References to evil spirits indwelling humans are found in 3 stories about Abimelech (Judges 9), some prophets (1 Kings 22) and Saul (1 Samuel 16, 18 & 19). In each case, it was God who specifically sent an evil or lying spirit to torment individuals. The lack of many stories in the Hebrew Scriptures might have been caused by the Hebrew's strong monotheistic beliefs. (Their belief in a single God may have caused them to reject the existence of any other supernatural entities.)

Hebrew Scriptures most likely originally contained more interactions between people and demons, but that has been deleted. For example:
the account in Genesis 32 of Jacob wrestling with an unknown assailant by the side of a river might have once referred to Jacob battling a river demon.The account in Exodus 4 where God attempts to kill Moses might have originally described Moses' battle with a demon.Smearing of lamb's blood on the door frame in Exodus 12 might have been derived from an ancient ritual which protected the household from demonic attack.

In the New Testimanent, cases of demonic possession and exorcisms by Jesus and his disciples are reported in the Gospels and Acts. In the Bible, victims of possession are never held responsible for their situation. None of the victims were criticized for having allowed themselves to become possessed.
Animals can be possessed: Matthew 8:30, and parallel passages. Various passages refer to possession of a single individual by multiple demons. Luke 8:30 describes a man who was possessed by many demons; he used the term "legion" which was a unit of 6,000 soldiers.

Demons can grant special powers to people. In Acts 16:16 a woman was given the power to foretell the future by her indwelling evil spirit. But this appears to be an exception; other passages describe how demons harm people.
Luke 9:39 apparently describes a case of epilepsy caused by a demon. Luke 11:14 documents a person who was unable to speak because of an indwelling demon. Luke 13:10-13 describes a woman who had been unable to straighten her back for almost 2 decades because of a evil spirit. Numerous passages in the Bible describe indwelling demons speaking to the exorcist, presumably by taking control of the individual's vocal chords.
Mark 5:4 describes how an indwelling spirit causes its victim to have superhuman strength, so that fetters and chains could not hold him.
Matthew 12:45 describes how a spirit left a person, but returned with seven others who were more wicked than the original spirit was.
With one exception, Jesus or an apostle simply ordered the evil spirit to depart, and the demon immediately complied.
But some exorcisms require special preparation: Jesus' disciples were unable to rid a boy of an evil spirit that was apparently causing the child to be both mute and epileptic. Jesus cured the child and explained that the only way to rid a person of this type of demon was through prior prayer and fasting.
Acts 19:12 described how items of clothing or facecloths that once been used by Paul had magical powers and were used to cure people suffering from diseases or evil spirits.
Acts 19:13 describes how seven non-Christians attempted to exorcise demons in the name of Jesus and Paul. They failed. All were attacked and beaten by the demon-controlled man who ripped their clothes off.
After Jesus' crucifiction, exorcisms were done in the name of Jesus. Acts 16:16 described a slave girl who was possessed. Paul exorcised a "spirit of divination" from her. He commanded the spirit to leave "in the name of Jesus."
bullet Acts 19:13 described how some itinerant Jewish exorcists attempted to exorcise a demon saying "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." They were unsuccessful, apparently because they were not Christian believers.
In Acts 19:13, the demon-possessed man exhibited superhuman strength. He turned on seven Jewish exorcists, beat them, and expelled them from the house with their clothes ripped off. The evil spirit had apparently recognized that the exorcists were not Christian; he refused to follow their commands.
The sick were brought to the apostles; the apostles did not seek out the sick. With one exception, all were cured, whether they suffered from demon infestation or physical illness. Nobody in the Bible had a exorcism ministry.
Matthew 12:43 describes a demon who left a man, presumably because of an exorcism. He returned later with seven other evil spirits to repossess the person. However, there is no mention of any of the exorcisms by Jesus or his followers having produced only temporary cures.
In Mark 9:18, Jesus explained to a man that all things are possible, including the exorcism of his son, to those who believe.

The Devil is real. When he possess someone, how would you suggest getting rid of him. The Devil does not typically follow orders... Exorcism is part of Christiananity and these officers interfered!


Anonymous said...


If one is going to beat another and wishes to do so lawfully, they go to a boxing ring. If one feels the need to cut open another human being, they go to an operating room. There are time and place restrictions…common sense (although not so common) should prevail.

If this is a religious freedom matter (and I’ll say it is for the purposes of this discussion) there is still the “how is this going to be perceived” issue.

I and my friends just might have a religious need to play “shootout at high-noon” on a busy street. Let’s get our play machine guns with our play bullets and run in and out of business full of people shooting blanks at each other. Heck, this is a sacred religious practice of ours and how dare the police intervene.

How could anybody not immediately recognize the religious significance of what we are doing? And when somebody tries to stop all this…and they will (God willing)…let’s blame them for how this turns out….after all, who could possibly misinterpret our actions?

There are ways we can practice our religion while not exposing others to harm or potentially volatile circumstances. There is a time/place/manner to engage in certain behavior. Religious freedom is not absolute. If you’re going to do something that places others at risk, or can be perceived as placing others at risk, plan on somebody else getting involved.

How about going to a church with a congregation and your pastor? If there’s going to be screaming and blood, let those who might respond to such events know what is going on before hand and that these actions, although reasonably perceived as criminal, are in fact a religious activity which have only minimal potential for injury.

But this particular action, choking a little girl until she bleeds, is going to be highly scrutinized. If it is religious freedom, it is at the absolute outer limit. People are going to step in to protect her….that's just the way it is.

How about going to court to obtain an injunction precluding interference by law enforcement for this particular religious ritual at a particular time and place? It’s called “this is going to look real bad and people are going to seek help for her, let’s address this foreseeable issue beforehand”…Duh!

Or get arrested for doing it and contest it in court.

There are ways. My point is just this:

The street is not the court. Have some common sense…think about what you do…and just a heads up…don’t fight when challenged…


Disputes in the street end in this unfortunate manner.

BTW, you seem to know your scripture. I like that.


John D. said...

Ronald Marquez is a holy man. He spoke with God before the procedure. He was following God's will. How is that not protected religion. As a result of state intervention, Satan won.

John D.

J.J. said...

I think L.S. point is actually pretty good in that Marquez should have had the event supervised by a congregation with advanced warning so that outsiders could see the difference between exorcism and assault.

Now let me ask this, if someone like me were choking the devil out of a convict like Braddy, would you still think police interference would occur? Perhaps, but I suspect that the less sympathetic the person being exorcised is, the less chance of interference.


Anonymous said...

Oh how true!

Legal Eagle 3 said...

Our Constitutional freedoms from the Bill of Rights are important to us here at Legal Pub. But the Freedom of Speech won't save your spam from being deleted.

Anonymous said...

Yeah for the Bill of Rights!