News Item: 1/12/2010 A Kansas judge's decision to allow a confessed killer (Scott Roeder) to argue that 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 first-degree murder case.
Prosecutors have challenged the ruling that allows Scott Roeder to tell a jury that the fatal shooting of Wichita doctor George Tiller was voluntary manslaughter. A Tuesday hearing is scheduled to allow Roeder's defense attorneys to respond.
Some abortion opponents were pleasantly stunned and eager to watch Roeder plead his case. Tiller's colleagues and abortion rights advocates were outraged and feared 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." Go to http://www.optimum.net/News/AP/Article?fmId=1702694 .
Think about the implications of this ruling: murder can be a life sentence while voluntary manslaughter can be 5 years in prison. And it all depends on "belief".
According to reports, "Kansas law defines voluntary manslaughter as "an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force." A conviction could bring a prison sentence closer to five years, instead of a life term for first-degree murder."
If this ruling by the judge is sustained, then every politically or religiously motivated murder in Kansas can then be argued as "voluntary manslaughter." If a terrorist kills an infidel, didn't he have an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force?
What if a citizen unreasonably but sincerely believed that the judge in this case should be killed? Would the judge say that was only voluntary manslaughter?
Make no mistake: the judge did not make a ruling based on precedence; he made a ruling based on his respect for religious belief. I'd bet that this defense has never been allowed when self-defense was not remotely involved (the murdered doctor was in his church at the time of the killing). What else could motivate the judge to declare open season on anyone as long as someone else has an unreasonable yet "sincere" belief that their murder is justified!
Here's my advice; don't make anyone mad in Kansas; it's only 5 years in prison if they shoot you.
UPDATE: Scott Roeder was convicted by the jury of first degree murder and in only 37 minutes no less. The judge, after hearing Mr Roeder on the witness stand decided to disallow the possibility of a voluntary manslaughter defense since abortion is legal and Dr. Tiller was not an imminent threat to anyone.
Huh? Wasn't this always and obviously known to be true all along?
Then why did the judge decide to allow the possibility of this defense at first?
The suspicion is the judge was just correcting an earlier error. Thankfully, murder remains illegal in Kansas.