Scott Roeder, who shot and killed third-trimester abortionist George Tiller in 2009 in Wichita, won’t be allowed to present his primary defense in his new jury trial November 28, according to Judge Wilbur’s rulings on trial motions. In his first trial nearly seven years ago, the same judge didn’t let him present his defenses to the jury.
His new trial won’t change his earlier guilty verdict, but will decide whether his maximum sentence, set by law at 25 years, should be doubled to 50 years. Roeder is 58.
The basis would be a jury finding that the shooting was “especially heinous”. Judge Wilbur previously ruled that it was, because it took place in a church lobby during a church service. But the Supreme Court later said such a finding must be made by a jury.
The defense against the finding is that there were “mitigating circumstances” (though not “mitigating” enough to change his conviction).
Examples of “mitigating circumstances” might be that Roeder was motivated by none of the usual criminal reasons murderers have: no jealousy, malice or hatred for Tiller, nothing personally to gain but everything to lose, no disregard for human life but the opposite: for the 1,500 human lives taken by Tiller every year that could only be saved by stopping him. And, wombs, where Tiller killed, are even more sacred places than church lobbies.
Of course, all those facts are consistent with the explanation that Roeder is a fanatic.
The “mitigating circumstance” that Scott most wants to present is that all categories of court-recognized finders of facts – juries, expert witnesses, state legislatures, Congress, and occasional individual judges – have legally recognized as fact that all unborn babies are human beings. (Roe v. Wade equated “recognizably human” with “persons”.) No American legal, medical, or scientific authority has declared that human “life begins” any than fertilization.
Wilbur may allow Roeder to tell the jury what he thinks, but will not allow evidence that what he thinks is true. That of course can only reinforce the popular impression that he is a crazy fanatic.
Some facts lead to conclusions so unacceptable that it becomes irrelevant whether they are true.
Nevertheless, these facts are common knowledge among long-time prolifers.
(1) In some of the first trials of prolifers blocking abortionists’ doors (so mothers couldn’t go inside to kill their babies), juries learned about the “Necessity Defense” and were invited to weigh its “comparison of harms” between the “crime” of trespass and the “necessity” of saving human beings. When presented with expert witnesses and facts, they said babies of humans are humans, and door blockers are innocent. In response, judges stopped allowing juries to hear the defense. (This and the following fact is confirmed in a law review article, 48 U.Cin.L.Rev. 501 (1979), footnote p. 502.
(2) In thousands of door-blocking trials during the Operation Rescue era, doctors testified as expert witnesses that unborn babies are “humans” from fertilization. They were never contradicted.
(3) Dozens of state legislatures, in their “unborn victims of violence” laws, including Alexa’s Law in Kansas where Roeder is being tried, legally recognized the fact that all unborn babies are human beings.
(4) In 2004, Congress affirmed the same fact with “Laci’s Law”, 18 USC 1841(d).
(6) No legal, medical or scientific authority in America has asserted that human life begins any other way than fertilization. No fact can be any more legally established. And the Supreme Court has never rescinded its ruling in Roe v. Wade that once this fact is “established”, abortion’s legality must “collapse”, because then abortion will be legally recognizable as murder. This “collapse” clause dominates Personhood Movement literature and moves to enact a Constitutional Amendment affirming that same fact. Governor Brownback of Kansas, where Roeder is being tried, talked about it when he was a presidential candidate in Iowa.
(7) Should God’s opinion be found relevant, about whether unborn babies are humans and/or “persons”, Psalm 139:13-16 describes our personhood before our tiny bodies have limbs; Jeremiah 1:5 describes God’s relationship with an unborn baby at the earliest stage; Luke 1:44 describes an unborn baby excited by a righteous voice, proving the babe’s capacity to prefer good over evil; and Proverbs 24:10-12 makes us responsible to stop murder, even when it is so entrenched that it operates openly and the law doesn’t stop it.
Roeder doesn’t want the right to present his defense for his own sake, or to encourage any more violence outside the womb. But if any court finally acknowledges the fact never disputed, that could snowball into the right of millions to draw their first free breath of air.
Dave Leach, a prolife activist in Des Moines, helped Scott Roeder with pro se briefs submitted before trial, on appeal before the Kansas Supreme Court, and before the U.S. Supreme Court. All briefs in his case are posted at www.Saltshaker.US/Roeder. Roeder had subscribed to Leach’s Prayer and Action News.Tags: Abortion George Tiller Judge Wilbur Scott Roeder Wichita