Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Message From Senator Sam

I'd like to say that I'm surprised by this response but alas, I expect nothing less from the man. I received the letter via e-mail on September 20, 2010.


Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about federally funded abortions in the military. I always appreciate hearing from the Kansans whom I serve.

Truly, no gift is more precious than life. I believe that life should be cherished by everyone and that all life is precious and should be protected. This should be a central tenet of any civilization(it is the hallmark of a truly life-affirming culture.

During my time in Congress, I have always defended the sanctity and dignity of every human life from the moment of conception. I will continue to be a strong advocate for legislation that ensures all individuals are afforded their inalienable right to life.

I do not support proposals to amend the National Defense Authorization Bill to allow for the funding of abortions in military hospitals overseas. Such amendments would have the effect of turning our military facilities into abortion clinics. Hardworking taxpayers should not have to be forced to pay for abortions.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me about this important issue. I appreciate your concerns, and I encourage you to visit my website at for more information on the issues on which I am working.


Sam Brownback
United States Senator


Sunday, August 1, 2010

What Direction Should Roeder Watch take?

We're still here at Roeder Watch.  With the trial over there has not been much to report and we've been trying to figure out where we want to take this blog.  Post a comment and let us know.  Should we close the blog but leave it up as an archive?  Should we make it broader and address the anti-choice movement and what they are up to?  Should we move in some other direction?

Thanks in advance for your input.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Two videos from Rachel Maddow

On Thursday, April 1st, Scott Roeder's terrorist friends got their April Fool's joke: after trying to provide reasons why Roeder should be allowed to walk out of the courthouse, Roeder was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 50 years plus 24 months for aggravated assault (with the possibility of a 15% reduction for the assaults for good behavior). If he behaves, positively contributes to prison life, and repents, he has no chance of getting out of prison for 51 years and 8 months.

Rachel Maddow has been one of the only people in the media consistently calling this what it was: domestic terrorism. Thursday, she had Julie Burkhart on the show. Julie was the executive director for Dr. Tiller's PAC, ProKanDo, and has since founded Trust Women PAC. It was nice to see her on the show.

In the second video, Rachel talks about other acts of anti-government terrorism which is linked to anti-abortion terrorism.

We will have more coverage of the trial and the sentencing later, probably with more video.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tweeting Sentecing

We're getting a message that we are over our tweet limit for the day.  Don't know if we'll be able to tweet when sentencing starts back up.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sentencing delayed

According to the Wichita Eagle, Roeder's sentencing has been delayed from March 9th to April 1st. We at Roeder Watch do indeed note the irony.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Great Video - Verdicts Read In Roeder's Trial

I just can't get enough of hearing this!


Monday, February 15, 2010

1996 interview of Roeder by Leach (part 1?)

Dave Leach has been friends with Scott Roeder for a long time. In this interview for Leach's "The Uncle Ed Show," Roeder talks about being a Freeman. He talks about differences between God's law and man's law.

According to KWCH, Leach plans on selling tapes of the entire interview. Looking on his website, I would guess he wouldn't share the whole interview on YouTube (need the money to pay for the stay in Wichita, eh?) The Guardian criticized YouTube for hosting the jailhouse interview, though Don Spitz is of the opinion Roeder didn't threaten anyone in the interview. It is also on Leach's website for download. So it'll be around even if YouTube yanks it.

Spirit One Thinks the Sky is Falling

Spirit One Christian Center has a long history of making political statements outside their building. Many of the statements have caused the IRS to take a look to determine if they have crossed the line as a tax exempt organization.

Appears they have placed Judge Wilbert in their sights. Always scary when a group as far right as Spirit One is in the same boat with so many of the pro-choice groups that were sure we'd all fall off the edge of the earth with Judge Wilbert.


Post-trial quick links

Apologies for some late news here. I got bronchitis immediately after the trial and am just now getting over it. Here are some links of news the past couple of weeks:

Last week, Roeder's attorneys requested a new trial as is normal. Throughout the trial, Roeder's defense team stated the details behind their objections to various denials so they would be in the court record for the appeal.

During the trial, representatives from the US Department of Justice sat in the gallery and observed the trial (and some of the people in attendance). Which lead to an article concerning possible federal charges. Many of the people in the gallery have also visited Roeder in jail. Michael Bray, David Leach, Regina Dinwiddie, Jennifer McCoy, and Angel Dillard have all visited him and attended at least two days of the trial.

Up on the Eagle's website is a video with a couple of the deputies in the courtroom about their security measures during the trial. They made sure everything was orderly to keep the jury as free from prejudice as possible. Dinwiddie has been known in the past to make a ruckus during trials (she wanted to during Roeder's but was not allowed). These men and women of the sheriff's department did an excellent job.

Keith Olbermann gave a "quick comment" after Roeder's conviction. The truth behind Roeder's actions? He's not a hero: he's a fraud. Heroes don't threaten to kill others and then run and hide.

Last up, an article from The Guardian: Free speech wasn't meant for this.
There are a lot of things that don't get called terrorism in this country, but few of them approach the breadth of the long-term, flagrant campaign of intimidation, harassment, exhorted violence, attempted violence, actual violence, and murder of abortion providers and abortion-seeking women.

Roeder is a terrorist. It is flatly inexplicable why he is not regarded as such, nor his campaign of murderous rhetoric treated with the according contempt. Free speech was never meant to protect from embargo the communications of those who justify and exhort organised terror.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Interview With Scott Roeder

Dave Leach did an interview with Scott Roeder after the verdict. As sick as it it, we have to be aware that this how these terrorists think.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

More Soon

Our apologies for going quiet after the verdict. We had to catch up on life outside Scott Roeder. We'll be back soon. Much more to report!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010


A Sedgwick County jury has found Scott Roeder GUILTY of all charges. We will update soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day Five

I didn't have an update on yesterday for a few reasons, and I still don't really have much of one. And today? I have little left in me but great sadness. Writing my daily post for RH Reality Check had me tear up again several times.

Today, Scott Roeder took the stand and admitted to murder and assault. According to Ron Sylvester, Roeder's attorneys let law enforcement know right before he took the stand where he left the gun. Until that point, he hadn't told them. Somewhere in Burlington, KS, a murder weapon is buried. For some reason, Roeder thought a pile of dirt in a parking lot would stay there so he could go back and get the loaded gun back. And that no one would be hurt.

Jennifer McCoy had a baby girl on Sunday via c-section. That's why she hasn't been at the trial much. She showed up this afternoon and won the lottery, sitting next to me again. Randall Terry, three of his goons, Dave Leach, Anthony Leake, Michael Bray, and Regina Dinwidde were among those in attendance today. A couple of new people showed up. Some Phill Kline supporters wanted to hear him testify but upon learning about the lottery seating process decided to leave. We might have more on that later. But until then ...

RH Reality Check Day Three

RH Reality Check Day Four

Today was a very difficult day. Even though I logically knew what would happen, it was still a shock to hear it. He presented it so coldly, with such disregard. Tomorrow, it will largely be done.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day Three

Today was very, very, very full of evidence. Very full. On the terrorist front, no one new that we could ID showed up though Randall Terry thought it would be a fantastic idea to neither "condone or condemn Scott Roeder's actions". When I left the courthouse tonight, I saw two people near the exit handing something out. They asked me if I was media. I told them no but asked what they wanted anyway. So they were handing out that press release which delt with Terry arriving and telling us he's planning a press conference Wednesday during the lunch session. Uh huh. He was also on the phone bad-mouthing Troy Newman. Operation Rescue's Advisory Board issued a press release authored by Christian Defense Coalition President Patrick Mahoney admonishing Terry. It's a pretty interesting read ...

At any rate, I have to get to bed soon so I can get up before dawn. In the mean time, check out the Johnson County Sheriff's Deputies pulling over and apprehending Roeder.

Trial roundups for Friday and yesterday are up on RH Reality Check (at the moment, there is an error with two dates).

Monday, January 25, 2010

Guess who I hung out with today?

On the positive side: two representatives from the Feminist Majority Foundation, a representative from the National Abortion Federation, an old friend of Dr. Tiller's, and a clinic employee who lost her job in May.

On the negative side: David Leach (who edits his own Wikipedia page) and two little old ladies who sat with him, talking to the media about how Roeder was right. In the afternoon, Michael Bray made his much-anticipated arrival. Also making an appearance in front of the courthouse in handicap parking all day long: a van decked out with anti-abortion images with Illinois tags and Missionaries to the Pre-Born Iowa on the hood (the link is fun. Click it!) Totally pro-life.

Gone today were Regina Dinwiddie, her mother, Jennifer McCoy, Cathy Ramey, and "Texas".

We heard more evidence that Roeder planned this murder out. Unfortunately, DA Nola Foulston opened the door on the abortion conversation. But witness Keith Martin did a fair job responding back explaining the ELCA's social statement on abortion and that individuals are free to abide by it or not which was difficult for Mark Rudy to understand -- as I understand it, he's Catholic (which I was for most of my life) which doesn't really allow members to abide or not abide by statements made by the Church. Martin said that he had also been targeted by anti-choicers who sent letters to his house telling him he shouldn't teach Sunday school because of his church.

Randall Terry has told the press he'll be in Wichita tomorrow (Tuesday). Back when Sonya Sotomayor was up for confirmation, he swung through Wichita, holding a press conference at WHCS (he's barred from going near clinics, but since WHCS was closed by then, he could hang out there). A few of us locals managed to disrupt his press conference and what did appear on air included us loudly shouting in the background. He also tried to put his arm around me and hold my hand. I had to take a shower before telling the police. Last I heard, Don Spitz is due in town next week.

If you're in Wichita, please make sure to check out our twitter frequently so if any of these media whores/terrorists try something, you can come down and help us stop them.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Not. About. Abortion

At least twice today, one of Roeder's public defenders, Mark Rudy, tried to lead a witness down the road Rudy had traveled during the preliminary hearing. The witness, Dr. Ryding, said he had noticed Roeder a few months before and had tried to have a conversation. Roeder was "defensive" and his conversation disjointed. Rudy wanted to know why Ryding, and the congregation, was so interested in new people. Ryding insisted it is because they are an open, welcoming church, but Rudy wanted him to say it's because some people come there to protest Dr. Tiller. Ryding worked hard not to go there, and Nola Foulston objected several times. At one point, Ryding said quite forcefully into the microphone the word "worship". When I first heard it, I wasn't certain what he had said. Apparently, neither was Rudy. He thought the word was "abortion" and repeated it. I figured it was "worship" because that's how Ryding continued. Rudy said "abortion" twice when questioning Ryding before he was stopped and the jury dismissed. The transcript was read back. Other than Rudy, everyone had heard "worship". Judge Wilbert gave Rudy the benefit of the doubt that he had honestly heard "abortion" (like I said, I questioned it originally). Later, Rudy was leading Ryding down the path to say he knew Dr. Tiller would eventually be killed, based on what he had told a detective back in May. Before Foulston could object, Wilbert stopped the questioning and called everyone to his bench. After that, Rudy stopped trying to get the answer.

Wilbert said if the witness opened the door to talk about Dr. Tiller's profession, Rudy could continue. But that Ryding had not opened the door. He had let Rudy try to get it out of Ryding, but he stopped it when it was going no where. It was getting the witness and Rudy quite frustrated (there were a couple of heated exchanges).

Wilbert had said several times before that this trial would not be about abortion. Today, he reminded the gallery not to make noises or motions that would influence the jury one way or the other. And then he stopped Rudy from forcing a witness to talk about Dr. Tiller's profession. Wilbert is keeping an eye on the questioning and keeping the trial about murder, not abortion.

Day One -- Terrorists in Waiting

I am working on a post for RH Reality Check on the details of evidence today, but rather than repeat that here, I figure I'll talk about the behind-the-scenes stuff.

I was not the first one in this morning -- one person was before me. After me was a woman from Texas (her name is apparently in dispute; it had been up on the Kansas City Star but isn't anymore) who was quite fidgety. Regina Dinwiddie showed up along with a woman identified as her mother. Cathy Ramey came in from Oregon. Jennifer McCoy was also there. In addition was a woman who was a friend of Dr. Tiller's (I spent a lot of time with her) and a local attorney who had attended a couple of hearings, also a friend of Dr. Tiller's.

From Judy Thomas's fairly detailed KC Star article:
About a half-dozen of Roeder's supporters attended Friday's session. Roeder glanced at them and smiled as he entered the courtroom. As the session began, the judge warned those in attendance not to cause any outbursts or distractions. During the session, one woman was admonished when she reacted with glee when a photo of Tiller's body was shown to jurors.

Cathy Ramey, a longtime anti-abortion activist from Oregon, said she came to Wichita to observe the trial.

"I'm here because I believe that God has a consistent standard of justice and whatever force is necessary to protect an innocent born person ought to be applied to an innocent unborn person as well," Ramey said. Regina Dinwiddie, a friend of Roeder's from Kansas City, showed reporters a petition that she had been taking around Wichita. It said, "We, the undersigned, declare the justice of taking all godly action necessary to defend innocent human life,. We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child. We further declare that if Scott Roeder shot and killed George Tiller, Roeder's actions are morally justified if they were necessary for the purpose of defending innocent human life. Under these conditions, Scott Roeder should be acquitted of all charges."

Dinwiddie said she’d gathered about 100 signatures on her petition.

"The tide is turning,," she said.

The woman "with glee" was the one from Texas. In the afternoon, she was having some sort of laughing or crying fit (we couldn't figure it out).

As for the petition ... I had caught this in a Google Alert a couple of days ago but did not see that it happened in Wichita. Ramey wrote the update I had found. I don't know which Wal-Mart they went to, but she also told Thomas today that she had a much lower response rate when she went to QuikTrip (a regional gas station). Dinwiddie estimated 8% of Americans support killing of abortion providers. Even if that were anywhere near true, no matter how many people are fine with murder does not make it right. Lots of people were fine with lynching.

Before the trial began, Dinwiddie wanted to see how far she could go before getting kicked out of the courtroom. She and Texas wanted to wanted to stand up when their "hero" came in. Seemed they wanted to cause a bit of a fuss. They were told they couldn't at all. Texas was disappointed (which I could tell because she was sitting next to me). We also saw the bomb-sniffing dog. Texas was all giddy. After I explained it's a bomb-sniffing dog, she complained that it's not fair that dog gets to be there but she can't bring hers. I tried to explain the dog is on duty, but that was wasted breath.

I found out Bray is "expected" in town next week, and Spitz is due in on the 31st. I didn't catch when Leach was suppose to be here. They told the media they hadn't planned any protests so far.

On a much happier note, over the lunch break we saw a young couple get married! We wished them well before the terrorists and terrorist sympathizers came back up. As the floor got more crowded, a gay couple introduced us to their newborn baby daughter, only 30 hours old when we met her. When we told them who was on the other side and who we were, they were glad they randomly picked to sit on our bench.

If you see something while reading these posts on the trial that you don't understand or think I should certainly be mentioning, please email us! These first few days are going to be quite strange for me. I'm still adjusting to all the national (and international) media attention on my hometown. It's surreal.

Another Pathetic Response From Todd Tiahrt

Todd Tiahrt will not protect women in the pending healthcare legislation.

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for the inclusion of abortion services in healthcare reform legislation. I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.

I must respectfully disagree with you on this issue. I believe that God is the giver of life, that every life is sacred and should be protected, from conception to natural death. I cannot, in good conscience, support any healthcare reform legislation that provides taxpayer coverage for abortions. While abortion has been made legal in this country, an overwhelming majority of Americans do not want their tax dollars to pay for abortion. I strongly agree with this policy. Excluding abortion from the healthcare bill would not outlaw the practice, it would merely protect taxpayers from funding abortions.

The House passed H.R. 3962, the healthcare reform bill, on November 7, 2009. Included in the bill was an amendment that prevents federal funding from being used for abortion, or from going to benefits packages that include abortion. However, it does still allow individuals who wish to use their own private funds to purchase supplemental insurance that covers abortions. I voted in favor of this amendment, which passed by a vote of 240-194. H.R. 3962 is currently awaiting consideration in the Senate.

Again, thank you for contacting me. If you have any additional questions on this matter, please do not hesitate to call on me or Richard Henkle of my Washington, D.C. staff. It is an honor to serve the people of Kansas in the United States Congress.

Best regards,

Todd Tiahrt
Member of Congress


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The jury has been selected, opening statements Friday

Thursday evening, 8 men and 6 women were seated for the jury in the trial of Scott Roeder. Friday morning, there will be a few more motions before the jury is sworn in and opening statements begin. Word on the street is Regina Dinwiddie has been in town a couple of days and both Don Spitz and Dave Leach will be here shortly, if they are not already. We expect Jennifer McCoy to attend at least a few days of the trial though she is due with her tenth child on Valentine's Day. We're certain others will be in town as well.

This starts on an auspicious day. Tomorrow is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It is the day pro-choice activists celebrate the recognition of women's right to choose in their pregnancies. Abortion is one of the ways in which women are empowered to participate in society (though the Roe decision is far more than just abortion: it is also to prevent laws regulating pregnancy). Though since Dr. Tiller died, thousands of women in Kansas have lost that part of our empowerment. Of our 105 counties, only two counties have abortion clinics, both in the extreme northeast. Women in western Kansas already faced a difficult and long journey to Wichita, one they likely couldn't afford on top of the cost of the medical procedure, and they must now travel even more. While we celebrate the recognition of our right to choose, we are also faced with the cold, sad reality that we in Kansas have quite limited access to it. I am feeling today much as I did on May 31st: angry and sad.

We will try to update our twitter page throughout the day. Also follow Ron Sylvester and RH Reality Check for additional updates. Tomorrow night, expect a report on opening statements.

Tomorrow, keep Dr. Tiller in your minds. And celebrate choice.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Judge Wilbert Gets High Marks From Attorneys

The Wichita Eagle and the Wichita Bar Association conduct a survey of attorneys every election year to get an evaluation of the District Court judges from those that practice in front of them. The most recent survey was in 2008.

173 attorneys ranked Judge Wilbert. The percentage who stated they "agree" or "strongly agree" with the survey questions was above 60% in every category:

Is fair ------------------------------------------------------- 68%

Demonstrates knowledge of the law,
including the rules of procedure and evidence ----------------- 77%

Communicates orally and in writing in
a clear and logical manner ----------------------------------- 79%

Clearly explains rulings -------------------------------------- 73%

Is prepared for court ----------------------------------------- 79%

Is respectful, courteous and professional --------------------- 71%

Is punctual and demonstrates a fair work ethic. --------------- 78%

Applies the law appropriately --------------------------------- 67%

Treats people fairly without regard to
race, gender or sexual orientation ---------------------------- 71%

Is ethical ---------------------------------------------------- 66%

If the attorneys who appear before Judge Wilbert feel this strongly about him (and we know some win and some lose) then we need to calm down and trust him to try the case appropriately.

Senator Brownback Does Not Know About the Medical Needs of Women in the Military

On Wednesday, we told you that Todd Tiahrt Does Not Care About the Medical Needs of Women in the Military. We've now heard back from Senator Brownback and his position is . . . well . . . unknown. Read this non-responsive response and let us know if you can decipher what he means.

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act. You may be assured of my interest in this matter, and I appreciate your taking the time to express your views to me. Please be assured that I will give this issue my most careful consideration, keeping your particular comments in mind.

I am honored and privileged to serve you in the United States Senate. Kansans elected me to Congress on a platform of Reduce, Reform, and Return in order to restore the American dream for Kansans and all Americans; and I continue to base my service upon these principles. From taxes to welfare reform to education to matters of fiscal responsibility to defense and all that comes in between, I cast my vote with these principles in mind.

The undergirding principle behind all of this is my deep and abiding respect for the dignity of every human being. When the Congress passes a law or Washington bureaucrats write a regulation, the lives of many people can be affected. Too often, policy in Washington is short-sighted or fails to take into account the long-term or broader effects and implications of laws and regulations on individuals' lives. While the Federal government does play an essential role -- especially in the areas of defense, commerce, and transportation -- I do believe that many other important decisions are better made at the local level where individuals have faces, and are more than just numbers or statistics.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this issue. As I continue my service in Washington on behalf of all Kansans, please continue to keep me informed on issues that are affecting you. I encourage you to visit my website at to learn more about issues on which I am working. You are the reason that I am here, and I look forward to hearing from you in the future.


Sam Brownback
United States Senator


AOG Doesn't Like Pro-All-Life Groups

We've always known that the folks over at AOG don't see eye to eye with their anti-choice brethern. Let's face it, AOG is "pro-life" and advocates killing while most other pro-life organizations are, well pro-life. So while doing some research today I wasn't that surprised to see that AOG had issued a "List of the Baby Betrayers."

This is a list of pro-life groups that took a pro-life stance and denounced the terrorist acts of Scott Roeder. So, who are these "evil" pro-life groups that think that all life has value?

Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalitions.

Rev. Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

40 Days For Life

Center for Bio Ethical Reform

American Life League

Focus on the Family

Women Influencing the Nation

Campaign Life Coalition

Kansas Coalition for Life

Life Issues Institute

Family Research Council

The Christian Anti-Defamation League

Kansas Family Policy Council

Susan B. Anthony List

Priests For Life

Kansans For Life

Stand True

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC),

Kelowna Right to Life

Real Women of BC

Rev Chet Gallagher OSA Las Vegas

Flip Benham OSA/Operation Rescue

Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League

We're not big fans of many of these folks either, but we do respect them taking a stance against terrorism and for that they get to be mentioned in this blog (this once) out of respect.

As for you AOG, we wouldn't expect anything less from you than your anti-life position. Your tinfoil hat is in the mail.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A couple of reasonable articles

"Reasonable" is not a judgement on quality but a statement of reasonableness.

Friday, the AP published a story regarding the public vitriol directed towards Judge Wilbert, Kansas judge in abortion case comes under scrutiny. The article mentions that Wilbert was endorsed by the Kansans for Life PAC in 2008. We had been informed of this a few days ago, but knowing how endorsements are given for judges, we did not feel this would impact his decisions. We also discovered Dan Monnat, one of Dr. Tiller's attorneys, had represented Wilbert a couple of years ago. The AP expanded further on that saying Monnat had donated to Wilbert's re-election campaign. Honestly, from what Judge Wilbert has said in court so far, we could not tell one way or the other what his opinion on abortion was. He has used fair language (even using "medical clinic" to describe WHCS), and his rulings have made sense.

Which leads us to A Tough Case to Make at the Tiller Murder Trial in Newsweek.

This means Roeder has to demonstrate not one, but four things. First, that there was a threat to a third person. Second, that the threat was imminent. Third, that imminent threat was the result of an unlawful act. And, fourth, that he honestly believed all of this. If Roeder fails to prove just one, his defense falls apart. Roeder will have to convince the jury that he believed the fetus counts as a "third party"; so far, no state has ever declared a fetus a person. Proving Tiller to have been an imminent threat also poses a challenge, given that he was shot at church, not at his abortion clinic. Even if Roeder could prove that he honestly believed the fetus to be a third party, and that Tiller was indeed an imminent threat, he would still have to convince the jury that he honestly believed Tiller was committing an "unlawful act." Such a belief, however, would have absolutely no basis: despite numerous attempts by former Kansas Attorney General Phil [sic] Kline, Tiller was never convicted of performing an "unlawful" abortion.

A "formidable and daunting task" indeed.

And now to some unreasonableness. We've had two comments left on another post pointing out what appears not to be obvious: here on Roeder Watch, we're biased. We are honest in our pro-choice bias, but we are not blind in our bias. We're not, as danbeyer said, "pro death zealots". In fact, we're quite pro-life. We're anti-war (which is pro death) and anti-death penalty (likewise pro death) among other things. We're also actively anti-discrimination. And denying women a choice in reproduction is discrimination against women. The right to choose abortion is not in any way similar to slavery in America. Abortion is not our "golden calf" as Mark Archer says. We do not worship or idolize choice. We're quite well-rounded in our activism, but the past few months since Scott Roeder came to our city and killed a doctor in his church has shifted our focus for the time being. That being said for the past few years,we have worked to stop the slow destruction of access in Kansas. The right and access to reproductive options, including abortion, are among the several rights necessary for women to be able to fully participate in society. It is not the only right, but it is a fundamental right for full participation.

In May 2009, Scott Roeder walked into a church here in Wichita, Kansas, and shot Dr. George Tiller. This act was intended to scare other people from providing access to abortion and to frighten women in general. This was an assassination, and this was terrorism. You are free to disagree. But this is what Roeder has admitted to, and we will call it what it is.

Trial update: jury selection continues. Thus far, 25 out of 61 jurors have passed legal challenges with very few being dismissed. The defense has stated they fear the jury may be in danger and has requested special instructions to be given to jurors.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Todd Tiahrt Does Not Care About the Medical Needs of Women in the Military

I've got to step away from the Roeder terrorism trial for a minute to share this E-mail I just received from Rep. Todd Tiahrt. No comment from me is necessary.

Thank you for contacting me to express your thoughts regarding the provision of emergency contraception to women in the military. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

As you may know, Rep. Michael Michaud (D-ME) introduced H.R. 4386, the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act, on December 16, 2009. This bill would require emergency contraception to be made available upon request at all military health care treatment facilities. It is currently awaiting consideration in the House Armed Services Committee.

Due to the potential health risks, and controversial nature of emergency contraception, I cannot support this legislation. There are many physicians and pharmacists across the country with moral and professional reservations about the use of emergency contraception, and this bill does nothing to recognize those reservations. Although emergency contraception contains the same hormones that compose standard oral contraception, emergency contraception contains a much higher dosage than oral contraception. Specifically, one dose of EC is the equivalent of taking twenty single-dosage pills, followed by twenty more single-dosage pills 12 hours later of prescription only birth control pills. Reports have shown that the drug's side effects include nausea, infertility, ectopic pregnancy (which can be life threatening), and blood clot formation.

Again, thank you for contacting me. If you have any additional questions on this matter, please do not hesitate to call on me or Richard Henkle of my Washington, D.C. staff. It is an honor to serve the people of Kansas in the United States Congress.

Best regards,

Todd Tiahrt
Member of Congress


The Sky Is Not Falling

I was going to write about why we feel the concerns many have over Judge Wilbert's recent rulings are overblown. Trying to determine just how to approach this issue I came across this great piece by Mike Hendricks of the Kansas City Star.

The title of his editorial, Judge being commendably cautious in Roeder trial, says exactly what we're thinking.

Hendricks said it best:

And guess what? Despite the continuing hysterical fears from abortion-rights groups, Wilbert is doing exactly what you’d expect from a judge in such a sensitive case.

He’s being careful.

“Every defendant has the right to have his theory of defense presented,” says Carl Cornwell, an Olathe defense attorney who has handled his share of murder cases.

For instance, some mistakenly think Wilbert has already decided to instruct jurors to consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter when it’s time for deliberations. He hasn’t.

Nor is he promising that he’ll allow Roeder’s attorneys to present evidence in support of their client’s contention that he thought he had to kill Tiller to protect others.

All Wilbert has done is left open those options so Roeder can’t later assert in an appeal that he was denied a fair trial.

None of us want to see Scott Roeder walk free. But we especially don't want it to happen the way it did the last time he was arrested, because his constitutional rights were violated - something that can be prevented.

Give Judge Wilbert a break. He's following the law and that is what we want in a Judge. If you don't like the law as it is (and there is reason to dislike it for sure) then the appropriate response is to work in the legislature to change the law. Judge Wilbert can't write the law, all he can do is follow it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

DON'T PANIC! And today's hearing. [Updated]

*Found a couple of errors, one on voluntary manslaughter and the other on previous charges against Dr. Tiller. I have corrected them below.

Earlier today, Judge Wilbert made the same ruling he did Friday and three weeks ago: he is open to allowing evidence for "imperfect self-defense". He did, however, clarify a few things.

He started off today pointing out the media and members of the public have been all fatalistic on his decision to follow the law (and filling his email inbox). And he reminded us he's made only one decision as a matter of law: the necessity defense is not allowed under Kansas law. As for the voluntary manslaughter every other Chicken Little pro-choice activist is running around screaming about? He cannot rule on that. The state presented their motion quoting cases where the Kansas Supreme Court ruled premeditation and voluntary manslaughter cannot be decided by a jury simultaneously. The defense argued that in those cases, the jury instruction was to decide on them together. Judge Wilbert's ultimate statement was he cannot rule on matters of evidence until the evidence has been heard. The Constitution guarantees Roeder's right to a fair and impartial trial and to hear all appropriate evidence in his defense. He emphasised he wants to have only one trial as free of error as possible. He also reworded "an uphill battle" as "formidable and daunting task".

He gave us a new case to look at when talking about the voluntary manslaughter charge. In 2002, Bobby White drove from Great Bend, Kansas, to Augusta, approximately a 2-hour drive, and killed his son-in-law. He believe his grandson was being abused by his son-in-law, Aaron. So he walked into Wal-Mart and shot Aaron three times -- once after he was on the ground -- walked off and gave up to law enforcement. In his first trial, a defense witness was not allowed to testify. At the time, the jury had been given instructions to include both second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. They returned first-degree, premeditated murder. Because the defense witness was not allowed to testify, the Kansas Supreme Court overturned the conviction and a new trial ordered. The second trial did *not* give the voluntary manslaughter jury instruction. He appealed. The Kansas Supreme Court decided because he could not present imminent threat, it was proper not to instruct the jury on voluntary manslaughter.

Whenever we see this lesser included charge talked about, we only see discussion on the second part of the law, added in 1992, that includes the honest but unreasonable belief. What is not talked about, however, is part a is the rest of that line about use of deadly force*: imminent threat. This was part of why Judge Wilbert did not allow the necessity defense. We say again: Roeder drove three hours, stalked Dr. Tiller on more than one weekend, shot him, and ran off. There is also additional evidence to be presented that we have no clue about at this time. It will be incredibly difficult for Roeder and his defense team to say Dr. Tiller represented a threat, that threat could only be solved by killing Dr. Tiller, and an embryo's or fetus's life was more important than Dr. Tiller's. While the issue of abortion will not be argued, Roeder's beliefs could be brought up. But he would still have a very difficult time arguing imminent.

The other part about these motions is these arguments are not normally had at the start of a trial. They are intended in jury instructions, instructions Kansas jurors have heard before. Judge Wilbert said decisions on evidence will be heard on a witness-by-witness basis, even question-by-question. He cannot rule on what may or may not be presented. That is Roeder's constitutional right. It is our constitutional right.

Something for everyone to remember: in 2006 and 2008, two Kansas grand juries did not bring charges against Dr. Tiller for performing illegal abortions. While Phill Kline and Paul Morrison, while serving as Attorney General, did bring up these charges, Steven Six did not. . While Phill Kline, serving as Attorney General, did bring up these charges, Paul Morrison did not.* The ones he brought up were not that Dr. Tiller performed illegal abortions but that he did not meet Kansas's law on a second opinion. This last one would have been an incredibly easy way for a jury to slow him down if not shut him down. Some of the six jurors described themselves as pro-life. And in 45 minutes, they returned 19 not guilty verdicts. While not all Kansans are law abiding citizens, our jurors are good people.

Judge Wilbert did not in any way bring about an "open season" on abortion providers. His decision is not "chilling". It in no way "sends the message that religious fanaticism can be considered a defense for murder." And while wannabe terrorists see a glimmer of hope, it is because they are grasping at straws.

What Judge Wilbert did do was his best to limit the possibility of a mistrial or for Roeder to walk on appeal. That happened in 1996 when an over-zealous police officer violated his (and our) constitutional rights. He is working within the confines of the law, both statutes and case law, and to give Roeder his right to trial by jury and presumption of innocence. It is difficult to remember that especially given why Roeder assassinated Dr. Tiller and what Dr. Tiller means. Fatalists are just working themselves into an unnecessary panic. Of course, for many of them, that's their job. For us here at Roeder Watch, we want to make sure Roeder spends the rest of his natural life in jail. But we're not willing to misrepresent the law and the case at hand.

Jury selection will start tomorrow morning. Judge Wilbert has ruled the media and public is not allowed in. A few media outlets are protesting this. We disagree with Judge Wilbert on this issue and await a decision by the Kansas Supreme Court.

First day of trial delayed

Yesterday, jury selection was set to begin in The State of Kansas v. Scott P. Roeder. Over the weekend, however, the prosecution filed a motion to stop so-called "imperfect self-defense" from being used. Yesterday, the defense filed a motion to allow the defense saying Roeder thought Dr. Tiller was an imminent threat to "unborn children". They will be arguing these motions today. We will try to live-tweet the hearing.

Since Friday when Judge Wilbert said he would leave the door open on the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, pro-choice activists have been screaming. And we at Roeder Watch have been trying to figure out how best to approach this. We're quite befuddled that in December when Judge Wilbert said the exact same thing, people were praising him and last week, he has suddenly opened up the possibility of open season on abortion providers (the quotes from Spitz and Leach are a nice touch, basically confirming what the Feminist Majority Foundation and Dr. Hern said). Today's hearing might settle this, but we'd just like to say yelling at Judge Wilbert isn't the answer. It's the law that is unclear, not the ruling.

We're also befuddled that, of all the things Judge Wilbert said on Friday, they jump on that one statement. Not that he feels Roeder will have "an uphill battle," that Roeder admitted to the cold-blooded murder, or that the trial will not be about abortion but about murder. That last one is what we all want, is it not? And why is it that uphill battle? Because it was so obviously premeditated: Roeder drove three hours to Wichita on more than one occasion, stalked Dr. Tiller at his church, shot him, and ran off. That's pretty cut-and-clear on premeditation. While we don't know if Judge Wilbert will allow this defense, we trust Kansas juries to see through the bull. Others may not, but Kansas juries have had more than a few opportunities to find Dr. Tiller guilty of something, anything, and they time and time again have not, no matter their opinion on abortion.

But even though the trial will not be about abortion, the defense is continuing in their effort to make it so. In addition to subpoenaing Phill Kline, the request for Dr. Tiller's professional calendars switched from asking the prosecution for it to subpoenaing it from Mrs. Tiller. We expect these records -- which constitute confidential medical records under federal law -- to stay out of the courtroom.

One last note before I prepare to go to the courthouse. We don't care your opinion on abortion, Dr. Tiller, Scott Roeder, or most anything else for that matter. Calling up a reporter and threatening his life? Go directly to jail; do not pass "Go". While we are not to fond of "abortion doctor" and "abortion trial," Ron Sylvester has shown to be an excellent and dedicated reporter.

In short: stop being assholes.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Final Round of Pretrial Motions Heard in Scott Roeder Terrorism Trial

Today was the final series of pretrial motions and arguments by counsel for Scott Roeder's trial. We learned that Roeder filed a 100 page (maybe more) motion to reconsider the earlier denial of a "necessity defense." We've no doubt this is actually the motion prepared by Mr. Letch that has no real legal basis but is instead just a bunch of continued anti-choice preaching and screaming.

The Judge again denied the necessity defense for all the same reasons he did last month.

However, the court has left open the possibility of a statutory "defense of others" claim. Roeder will be able to put on some evidence of this defense but the court indicated that it was unlikely anything presented would rise to a level that would ultimately lead to the jury being instructed on the defense. The Court made it clear that this is not going to be a trial about abortion and if it should or should not be legal. It's about the actions of Scott Roeder.

Finally, the Court indicated that if supported by the evidence it would give the jury a lesser offense instruction of manslaughter. In short, if Roeder had an honest belief even though it was wrong that he had to act to protect others, that may rise to the level necessary for a lesser offense instruction. To get it however Roeder almost has to testify as to what he was thinking/feeling (like he would skip the chance to talk in this case).

Twitter Updates - Motion Hearing

Sorry for the lack of Twitter updates on today's motion hearing. Twitter fail whale is making repeated appearances.

Kline Voluntarily Coming to Testify on Behalf of Scott Roeder

As you've no doubt heard, anti-choice hero Phil Kline has received a defense subpoena to testify on behalf of Scott Roeder. The Associated Press reports "Kline said in a statement e-mailed Tuesday to reporters by his spokesman, Brian Burgess, that he had received a subpoena by mail and would comply with his legal obligation to appear." (AP story)

While receipt of a subpoena in the mail is in some circumstances valid if you reside in the state, it is not when you live outside the state, and thus outside the jurisdiction of Kansas Courts. One would think that Kline being a lawyer (albeit one who has had his license suspended in the past) and being the former "top cop" of the State he would be familiar with Chapter 22 of the Kansas statutes.

Since Kline now lives in Virgina, unless he wants to come back of his own free will and testify, there is much more that must be done to compel him to return.
Kline's statement that he will honor the subpoena means he's willingly coming back.

Anyone care to guess why Kline would agree to come back and testify for a domestic terrorist against Dr. Tiller?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The witness list got a little more interesting

I apologize for not posting about Roeder's last pre-trial hearing. My life suddenly got very weird. Roeder has another pre-trial hearing this Friday. The prosecutor's office is adding 10 new names to their witness list including Roeder's brother, David, to whom he spoke shortly before shooting Dr. Tiller.

KlineBut it's another witness that'll show this trial to be more of a circus. Former Attorney General Phill Kline has been subpoenaed to testify by the defense. Two options here: they are either trying to say Dr. Tiller did, indeed, break the law; or they are saying Kline's fishing expedition drove Roeder over the edge. Roeder has said that the lack of conviction of Dr. Tiller in March compelled him to take action (and the posts on Operation Rescue's website also indicate this). Kline's persecution was bound to lead to more than legal troubles for Dr. Tiller.

For those who don't know, Phill Kline was elected Attorney General largely because he promised to go after people who raped underage girls (I have a problem with "child rape" as a phrase) and a few other tried-and-true neo-con tricks to get in (that and he's Republican ... though the Democrat who ran against him came pretty close to winning, but that's another story). Shortly after taking office, he schemed to close down Women's Health Care Services in Wichita and Planned Parenthood in Kansas City, two abortion clinics in the state (at the time, there were two others). His team lied to state agencies, a judge, and a grand jury for this expedition. He said he was going after underage girls having abortions and was also going after underage girls giving birth saying both indicate a crime has been committed (even though he was the only Attorney General to rule that way). But he only ever went after girls who had abortions. He sent his people to both clinics to take pictures of patients' cars and got hotel records so he could assign names to redacted medical files (way to go, privacy!). And when he finally filed charges, only 1/4 of them were for girls -- mostly, he went after late abortions.

He lost his re-election in 2006 to Paul Morrison who left office for having an extramarital affair with one of Kline's employees. Morrison's replacement, Steven Six, filed different charges dealing with technicalities. It was these charges that Dr. Tiller was cleared of last March. In addition to that grand jury, there was another petition-driven grand jury that found no evidence of wrong-doing by Dr. Tiller. In other words, every attempt by Phill Kline to shut Dr. Tiller and Planned Parenthood failed. Except for the secondary intention of these: to make both clinics unpopular. That Kline went on The O'Reilly Factor shows this wasn't about tackling crime but bring down Dr. Tiller. And he succeeded. The State of Kansas has accused two of Kline's aides, Stephen Maxwell and Eric Rucker, of violating ethics standards.

Quite the circus ...