Saturday, September 5, 2009

Insanity Defense? (Part1)

We've been asked about the possibility of Scott Roeder using an "insanity defense." For reasons we'll explain in part 2 we don't think this is likely.

In Kansas the "insanity defense" has been replaced with "mental disease or defect." A person found "not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect" is not released back into society (at least not immediately) but is instead committed to the State Security Hospital in Larned.

We'll get the law and post more specifics in Part 2.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Justifiable Homicide? (Part 1)

There has been a lot of talk about whether Scott Roeder will try to use a “justifiable homicide” defense in his case. It’s a pretty safe bet that is what he’ll try, the question is can he.

Kansas does not have “justifiable homicide” per se. Kansas Statute Annotated (K.S.A.) 21-3211 provides for use of force in defense of a person. The statute states, in relevant part:
(a) A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent it appears to such person and such person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend such person or a third person against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force.

(b) A person is justified in the use of deadly force under circumstances described in subsection (a) if such person reasonably believes deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to such person or a third person.

What this means for Scott Roeder is that to claim he was defending a third person from Dr. George Tiller he will have to be able to establish:

1. That he reasonably believed that the use of force was necessary;
2. That he reasonably believed that he had to use deadly force;
3. That had he not used deadly force, there would have been imminent death or great bodily harm by Dr. Tiller to a third person.

That all seems straight forward, and to Roeder’s terrorist brethren it’s a clear case. But, when you look at the law in Kansas and how the statute is legally applied, it’s not what they claim. We’ll look at the specifics of a third part defense in part 2.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Alan Combs talks to Dave Leach and Roeder's ex-wife calls in

Right Wing Watch ran a story today where Alan Combs talked to Dave Leach about justifiable homicide. Listening to Leach, I'm very confused (reading his "brief" confused me greatly; I thought I was from another planet). Apparently, finding Roeder not guilty will prevent further abortion providers'. Umm, yea.

Leach says he supports damaging abortion clinics. No, wait, he thinks it's "a good idea to save lives", and Scott Roeder's actions were "the proper thing". But he wrote the brief to preserve Roeder's right to a trial by jury (which hasn't been selected yet). He's "sorry it has to be done that way," stopping abortion through murder, but he doesn't support people going out and killing providers. Below are some quotes. I've taken out Colmes' parts. He kept asking why a successful necessity defense wouldn't make it easier to go out and kill other providers.

"Nothing can be more illegal than what courts have done to keep abortion legal. They've denied the right to trial by jury in a hundred thousand abortion prevention cases, and I'd like that to come to a stop. In Scott's case."

A hundred thousand? Is he talking about FACE violations? Guess that means trying to ensure women have access to health care means those trying to stop them have been denied a right to trial by jury. I wonder how many of those hundred thousand plead guilty to lesser charges ...

"If this brief prevails, no one will ever have a reason to shoot another abortionist. Because if the necessity defense is allowed to go to the jury, if the judge breaks down and tells the jury the only contested issue of the trial -- which is the necessity defense -- it'll be easy for people in the future to shut down abortion clinics by just sitting in front of their doors without fear of arrest."

Again, he seems to be talking about FACE violations. I'm not certain how finding murder acceptable would suddenly overturn a federal law protecting women's health care centers.

"It might not go that way. If the judge does give the defense to the jury, the jury might say 'well, you know, abortion is a harm, a terrible harm, but it's not harmful enough to justify killing an abortionist.'"

Most people believe this as is. But this would put the abortion provider, not their accussed killer, on trial.

"There's two reasons. The second reason is if Scott actually is found innocent by the jury, that does not mean that anyone else who does the same thing will be found innocent. If he is found innocent--"

"If the only reason that a jury would find Scott innocent, that's after they are given the defense, would be because they find Tiller's abortions are much more heinous than other abortionists. Normally, I wouldn't expect a jury to find it justified to kill an abortionist -- that's pretty extreme. Tiller's cases are pretty extreme, too. He's probably the most notorious abortionist in the country."

So it's all Dr. Tiller's fault. And he deserved it.

Later, Roeder's ex-wife, Lindsey Roeder, called the show. She had heard Leach would be on, was listening, and had to call in. Colmes was not expecting this! She was less than pleased with Leach even going so far as to say she hopes she never meets him (you and me both!). She called just to say Roeder is getting a trial by jury (it just hasn't happened yet). Also interesting is her saying she didn't feel comfortable saying she's pro-choice until he was locked up, and she's still a little iffy about it now.

She did say, and this has been said repeatedly, that Roeder suffered from a mental illness. Early in their relationship, he was quite the average guy. But at some point, he started giving their living funds to a televangelist. He became obsessed with sending money to this man and at some point blamed taxes and the government for their lack of money. From here, he began getting involved in radical movements. This is not what makes one insane. An irrational jump in logic is not the only hallmark of mental illness. I am not a psychologist of any stripe, but unwilling to take responsibility for your actions seems to be a quite human trait. If bad reasoning and lack of responsibility qualified one as "mentally ill," everyone would be at one point or another. When one sees themselves as "sane," it's quite easy to see someone else as "insane". It's just one way we use to make ourselves feel like we could never carry out the same actions.

But I digress. Definitely take the time to listen to her call.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Roeder tries to get a new attorney while his Bible group proclaims his innocence

As we knew was coming, Scott Roeder is trying to turn his trial into a stage for his belief that killing abortion providers is justifiable homicide. He's not just weighing it, but he has written to Paul Hill's attorney, Michael Hirsh, to represent him. Hirsh, for his part, is debating it. He previously represented Regina Dinwiddie, notorious Kansas City-area anti-choice protester. Upon hearing of Dr. Tiller's death, Dinwiddie said she was "glad".

We've known Scott Roeder was part of the Sovereign Citizen Movement which has connections with the Montana Freemen and Christian Identity. But new information has emerged regarding his religious practices. Roeder identified as a Messianic Jew. This is why he instructed his son to call Jesus "Yeshua". Probably why he had no problem stalking a man in church, shooting him, and then threaten two other men. Another reason he didn't belong to a church is because religious groups recognized by the government are corrupted. Which is why he left Or HaOlam Messianic Congregation in Overland Park several years ago.

Roeder's former roommate, Tim Parks, disagreed with Roeder's theology (describing it as "plucked from air"), but believe Roeder is being framed by the government. And Roeder's beliefs were plucked from air? We're all for innocent until proven guilty, but being framed by the government? Really?

Another of Roeder's roommates, Michael Clayman, said Roeder often talked about justified homicide. He also says Roeder wants to use the courtroom as a stage for his beliefs.

When someone says murder is okay, it's time to report them. When does wishful thinking turn into murderous action?

Also of interest: Abortion Stigma Affects Doctors' Training And Choices. But not a terrorist, right?