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 ...