Judge paints big fat bullseye on abortion providers’ backs?

Today the judge in the Scott Roeder trial ruled that Roeder can plead voluntary manslaughter:

Before the first juror is selected or witness called, a decision allowing a confessed killer to argue he believes the slaying of one of the nation’s few late-term abortion providers was a justified act aimed at saving unborn children has upended what most expected to be an open-and-shut case.

Some abortion opponents are pleasantly stunned and eager to watch Scott Roeder tell a jury his slaying of Wichita doctor George Tiller was voluntary manslaughter. Tiller’s colleagues and abortion rights advocates are outraged and fear the court’s actions give a more than tacit approval to further acts of violence.

“This judge has basically announced a death sentence for all of us who help women,” said Dr. Warren Hern of Boulder, Colo., a longtime friend of Tiller who also performs late-term abortions. “That is the effect of the ruling.”

My first reaction was that Dr. Hern is right:  if Roeder is convicted of a lesser charge than Murder and ends up with a sentence of as little as 4 years, it’s not much disincentive to all those other would-be Roeders, is it now?  Four or five years is a small price to pay for the martyrdom and notoriety these people so long for.

However, when you want to know what’s really going on with the Roeder trial, it’s always best to check out what those “on the ground” have to say.  According to “Roeder Watch”, this is standard legal operating procedure and no cause for alarm:

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.

So, while it might sound a little weird, the judge is just covering all the legal bases by making sure that Roeder’s constitutional rights aren’t violated in a way that might allow him to walk.  The chances of Roeder actually being convicted of manslaughter are slim to nil.

2 Responses to “Judge paints big fat bullseye on abortion providers’ backs?”

  1. 1 deBeauxOs Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 7:50 am

    The judge is smart. When and if Roeder is convicted for the cold-blooded murder of Dr Tiller, the judgement won’t be overturned on a technical error.

    The judge who presided over the “honour killings” executed by Chris Little in Toronto was also a stickler for judicial procedure. She wouldn’t allow a video of Little purportedly drugging and sexually assaulting his wife (the one whose throat he slashed) found by police to be introduced at his trial.

    But it all worked out and the jury found Little guilty on the strength of evidence that was presented.

  2. 2 Cornelius T.Zen Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Good morrow, all!
    Nothing says that the judge must *accept* a plea that makes no legal sense to him, such as *voluntary manslaughter*.
    The judge can still insist on keeping the charge of first degree in place, since the evidence presented so far has kept Roeder in the cage.
    Watch and learn – CTZen

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