Tuesday, January 12, 2010

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.

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