Saturday, September 12, 2009

Suggested Readings

If your looking for some interesting background readings, here are a few suggestions from The Southern Poverty Law Center.

Terror from the Right 75 plots, conspiracies and racist rampages since Oklahoma City

Anti-Abortion Extremism Doctor's Alleged Killer Had 'Sovereign' Ties

Anti-Abortion Extremists 'Patriots' and racists converge

Anti-Abortion Violence Two decades of arson, bombs and murder

The Southern Poverty Law Center does great work, please consider giving them a donation.

Why No Death Penalty?

Serena at Feminists For Choice asked Wednesday, "Should Scott Roeder Face the Death Penalty?" As she noted, under Kansas law the death penalty is not an option in Roeder's case. Why not? He committed a terrorist act, isn't that enough? Simply put, none of the criteria are met.

In Kansas to be charged with capital murder a person must commit an intentional and premeditated murder that also meet one of seven qualifying factors:

(1) during a kidnapping for ransom,
(2) Contract or agreement to kill someone,
(3) By an inmate in a correctional facility,
(4) during the course of certain sex crimes such as rape,
(5) of a law enforcement officer,
(6) of more than one person, or
(7) child under 14 during a kidnapping with the intent to commit a sex offense.

Since none of the factors are applicable, Roeder was charged with first degree as opposed to capital murder. What do you think? If it were possible, should Roeder receive a death sentence? Post a comment and let us know what you think.

Justifiable Homicide? (Part 2)

We've previously talked about the statute governing defense of another (i.e. justifiable homicide in Kansas). A plain reading of the statute is clear that Scott Roeder will not be able to claim he was defending the "unborn" as justification for his assassination of Dr. Tiller. Beyond the plain reading of the statute, Kansas Supreme Court opinions on the statute leave no doubt that this "defense" has no merit.

The first thing we have to know is that there are very few cases where "defense of a third party" is asserted in the appellate opinions. More often, it is a claim of self defense. The standard is the same however and appellate opinions on both are applicable here.

There are two inquires that must be made:
The first inquiry examines a defendant's subjective belief and requires evidence indicating that the defendant honestly and sincerely believed it would be necessary to kill [to protect a third party] because of an aggressor's imminent use of unlawful force. The second inquiry is objective and requires evidence showing that a reasonable person in the defendant's situation would have perceived the necessity of killing [to protect a third party]. State v. Walters, 284 Kan. Syl. 3, 159 P.3d 174 (2007).

Under this legal standard, Roeder has no chance of claiming "justifiable homicide."

Look at the subjective portion. For our purposes we'll grant Roeder an "honest and sincere" belief that he had to kill to protect a third party. But even under the subjective portion of test (the part that should be the easiest for a defendant to meet) Roeder has problems.

1. Dr. Tiller would have to have been an aggressor for this to even apply. Passing out the church bulletin on Sunday morning is hardly an aggressive act.

2. Dr. Tiller was not using "unlawful force." He was passing out bulletins in his church. Even if we, as the defense will no doubt argue, make this about abortion - it's not unlawful. In fact, that is the very problem Roeder and his fellow terrorists have is that it is lawful!

3. Finally, there was nothing imminent. Dr. Tiller was not in his clinic. He was not with a patient.

Even if Roeder could get past the subjective portion of the test, the objective portion would deny him his bully pulpit. A "reasonable person" (that is the average guy on the street, not the average terrorist) would never perceive that killing was necessary in this case.

The long and the short of it, we can't see any legal way that Judge Wilbert can allow this defense to be argued. Oh, Roeder's fellow terrorists will claim judicial activism, that the D.A. bought off the judge, and kinds of other idiocy. But, in truth the law will simply prevail over terrorist activity!

Roeder Linked to Operation Rescue

Rachel Maddow lays out the link between Scott Roeder and Operation Rescue.


Court Filings

The Sedgwick County District Attorney's office has set up a webpage with at least some of the filings in the case. Right now they have copies of the media order (.tif) and the complaint (pdf).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Trial Date

We checked with the court today and the trial is still set for September 21. They still expect it to be continued. Unclear if it will go to trial the end of this year or early next year.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Forgotten Victims

When we think of of the victims Scott Roeder has left behind we remember Dr. George Tiller and his family. Many of us also think of the women who now have less ability to obtain legal medical care they need. But we often forget a group who are injured just as much - Scott Roeder's family.

Neither Roeder's ex-wife nor his son asked to be drug into this. To be questioned by the FBI. To have people wonder if you're like him or could you have prevented his terrorist activity. We can only imagine what they go through on a daily basis. They are the lost victims in all of this. The ones people don't think about but who have been hurt just as truly and deeply as any other.

So, when you say your prayers tonight, include Roeder's family. They deserve our support too.