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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Domestic terrorists can get a slap on the wrist -- if they are right-wing domestic terrorists
Posted by Jill | 9:30 PM
In Kansas, a terroristic murder may be punishable by only five years in prison -- if the murder is a wingnut misogynist zealot:

Jury selection begins Monday in the trial of Scott Roeder, who is accused of killing a Kansas doctor known for performing late-term abortions.

Police and prosecutors say Mr. Roeder walked into the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita last May 31 and shot Dr. George Tiller once in the head.

Mr. Roeder has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. But in phone calls from jail, he has told news organizations that he killed Dr. Tiller -- an act he said was justified to protect unborn children.

In a pretrial hearing Friday, Kansas Judge Warren Wilbert said he might allow the defense to present evidence that Mr. Roeder acted in defense of others -- in this case, fetuses -- whom he believed to be under imminent threat. The judge said he would make that call as the trial proceeded, on a witness-by-witness basis.

"He said it's probably a very tough burden for us to meet, but he didn't rule it out," said defense lawyer Mark Rudy, adding that he was satisfied with the ruling.

Judge Wilbert also said he was open to the defense presenting evidence that Mr. Roeder might be guilty not of first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison, but of the far lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, which carries a sentence of about five years.

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Blogger PurpleGirl said...
That is truly disgusting.

Blogger Terrible said...
What the hell kind of judge believes that there's a category of wrongful death called PRE-MEDITATED manslaughter??? I'm pretty sure common law is clear that where there's pre-mediation then it's a murder and NOT manslaughter. I certainly hope if this judge tries to allow that he losses the right to ever be involved in American criminal law again.

Blogger Nangleator said...
Well, then. If he got put away for five years, I could potentially shoot him in the head as he walks out of prison, and only go to jail myself for five years, right? Because I'm preventing his further murdering of doctors who might be performing future abortions...

This would be an interesting precedent. Perhaps *all* murders could only be punished with a five year sentence, because all victims could potentially murder someone themselves in the future, particularly knowing that it's now only a five year sentence!

It would probably, in fact, be negligent of anybody to *not* murder everyone they were capable of murdering, in order to prevent all future, theoretical murders. How could we not?

Blogger Ysbaddaden said...
The judge only left the question open, presumably to lessen a point of appeal based on inability to provide a defense, but the judge also left in place an ad hoc basis for ratiocination determinative upon relevancy.

Blogger Ysbaddaden said...
I should also state if he's trying to build toward an insanity defense, by claiming an "insane" mens rea for his actus reus, I doubt it's going to work. I'm no lawyer but I believe that has to be the initial plea, not guilty due to insanity.

Insanity pleas rarely work, in part because of the M'Naghten Rule, which dates back to Queen Victoria, and has the rather simplistic definition of knowing right from wrong.

Afterall, the Ft Hood alleged killer could always claim as a defense that he was trying to defend the lives of those who would end up as collateral damage as a defense.

The jury will indubitably consider the location of the murder, a church, which will weigh heavily against any moral claim, hits home to any church-goers on the panel, and brings up the slippery-slope argument to any such defense.

If the judge decided otherwise on whether to allow a defense of others defense, even if the alleged killer was convicted, he could be released due to an appeals hearing finding in his favor and against the judge.

Blogger Ysbaddaden said...

That should read, "After all, the Ft Hood alleged killer could always claim as a defense that he was trying to defend the lives of those who would end up as collateral damage."

I have a bad habit of typing while sleepy, and editing while still writing.

I can't even write a freakin' grocery list in one draft.

Anonymous small town liberal said...
I would urge anyone writing about Dr. George Tiller performing late-term abortions to make reference to the fact that those abortions were legal under current law.
It is important that anyone having the discussion of Dr. Tiller's death know that he was an honorable man performing a (sadly) necessary and LEGAL operation.
Also, by the logic of his defense Scott Roeder could kill all the judges, jurists, lawyers, legislatures, etc that wrote or upheld said law. It saddens me to think of how many people actually believe his BS.