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Judge Denies Scott Roeder’s ‘Necessity Defense’

By Larry Keller on December 23, 2009 - 11:53 am, Posted in Anti-Abortion

A Wichita, Kan., judge has denied Scott Roeder’s bid to use a “necessity defense” when he is tried for the murder of late-term abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller. Sedgwick County Judge Warren Wilbert pointed out Tuesday that the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in a previous case regarding blocking an entrance to an abortion clinic that the necessity defense cannot be used.

Roeder told the Associated Press last month that he shot and killed Tiller at the doctor’s church on May 31 because “pre-born children’s lives were in imminent danger” and there was “the necessity to defend them.”

Roeder’s own attorney had already said that a necessity defense — sometimes called the “choice of evils” defense–was not a viable option when Roeder personally filed a lengthy motion seeking to rely upon it at his trial, scheduled for Jan. 11, on charges of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault.

Prosecutors also asked the judge on Tuesday to bar Roeder’s attorneys from claiming his alleged actions were justified because they were in the defense of another, in this case the unborn. Wilbert said he will consider arguments later on that argument. He also delayed ruling on a defense request to move the trial outside Wichita because of pretrial publicity. Wilbert said he was optimistic that an impartial panel could be picked, but said he would revisit the issue if that proved to be difficult.

  • C. Sense

    To all of the Pro-lifers who run around with thier signs, and commit murderous crimes against doctors who perform such procedures, legally, I might add.
    I wonder how all pro-lifers would feel about legalized abortion, when people started leaving un-wanted but BIRTHED babies on thier door-steps to take care of, cloth, feed, etc..
    I’m willing to bet they’d be PRO-CHOICE then!

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Hopefully in jail Roeder will have enough time to read the Bible cover to cover, and find out that there is nothing in the Bible forbidding abortion, nor is a human fetus considered a human being. His face will be red then!

  • R Lavigueur

    It is no surprise that the defence was denied, Carter has done an excellent job of pointing out why above. To allow people to pre-emptively kill, not just stop, but actually kill, others to prevent potential future violence cannot be acceptable. Self defense within limits is legal, pre-emptive murder is not, and you cannot kill in the defense of a potential other.

    But this goes beyond the simple question of defending a life by taking a life, this case goes to the heart of the pro-life, pro-choice debate. For the pro-life camp, abortion is murder because the foetus (forgive my Canadian spelling) is a human being. The pro-choice camp, however, believes that it is wrong to equate a cluster of cells that is not yet capable of independant life with a human being, and increasingly so the earlier after conception the zygote/embryo/foetus is to be considered human. Because the developing cells are not a full human, the rights of the woman carrying the child should be prioritized and she should not be forced to carry an unwanted child for nine months followed by however many years it takes to raise that child.

    Since I am pro-choice, let me make this position more clear. I do not deny that the foetus is alive, what I deny is that it is the same as a human. Similarly, I do not consider an acorn to be the same as an oak tree. The sperm cell and egg cell, and the cells making up the body parts these cells inhabit, are all ‘Alive’ in the technical sense; but it is very difficult to choose a precise moment when the living cells become something separate and equal to the human being they are part of. Is it when they meet and share DNA, or when they attach to the wall of the uterus, or when the brain has developed to a specific point? How about when the developing child can with medical support survive outside of the womb, or at birth, or in the case of some cultures not until after birth? These are rather difficult questions to answer beyond personal belief, but there are other issues at stake here beyond the potential birth of a human.

    I cannot speak with certainty for the United States, but in Canada at least, 58% of abortions are sought by women who were using birth control at the time conception occured; while some of the others result from rape, abuse, or extremely poor planning. Women are not mere vessels, nor should concern for the child stop after it is born. Yes, some women seek abortion for reasons others would find immature or unneccesary, but it is difficult to argue that anyone is better qualified to determine if they can handle motherhood than the mother herself. If she is unable to weigh the consequences, should be really be trusted with motherhood at all?

    Nor, sadly, is adoption an option since there are about 100,000 abortions performed in Canada annually vs 1200-3000 adoptions. Abortion is never a good thing, but denying women control over their future, their welbeing, their lives and their own bodies is by far the greater evil.

  • Carter

    1.) The case law ruling generally speak of “reasonable force” necessary to block an imminent attack. with appropriate force needed to stop such an attack and no more. This must be provable to the satisfaction of a judge or jury.
    What this would mean is that if someone were to provide obvious threat to an individual or others, proof must be established to show that the force used was mandatory to stop such an attack.

    2.) If someone attempts to punch you, you may use APPROPRIATE force to stop the attack. That punch must be provable to judge or jury. (witnesses or bruises, etc). But to go beyond that is illegal (you may not shoot a person trying to slap you, etc.) You may use lethal force if such were to be used upon you ( a knife in an attacker’s hand, etc.) But that ability MUST be provable.

    3.) An abortion provider has not demonstrated directly that he or she is in the process of attempting to administer lethal force at the time of the attack,…. Thus the denial.
    No one is a mind reader. That doctor MAY have made a decision to never abort ever again. That doctor had not shown proof that at the time of the lethal force was used he was IN THE PROCESS of attempting to harm another person. – Thus the denial.

    4.) IF someone said to another person “I am going to kill you” but did nothing nor displayed the means to carry forth an attack, no force may be used against him.
    IF someone approached you with a lethal weapon and said the same thing, appropriate force may be used to stop the attack. but that LEVEL OF FORCE VARIES FROM STATE TO STATE; Federally, it may vary depending upon the level of display of lethality determined by the Judge or Jury. A weapon must be displayed or the overwhelming level of attack possibility of outcome (several people attacking one person).

    5.) This case did not provide evidence that the doctor had imminent ability to kill, nor did he make such intentions known, nor did he provide justification that such an attack would be carried out if no intervention were provided.

    “Roeder’s own attorney had already said that a necessity defense — sometimes called the “choice of evils” defense–was not a viable option when Roeder personally filed a lengthy motion seeking to rely upon it at his trial…..” The “Choice of two evils” defense was ruined by the attorney himself. but such a defense was weak when the action of murder was carried out – NOT at the time of the supposed actions of the doctor.

    Murder is not justified toward a Klansman because he had said he WOULD attempt to murder all people of color he found in the course of his daily life. Nor would it (murder) be justified if he had stated that it was his paid position within such an organization.

  • daemonesslisa

    No one was going to kill his wife and children. No one was going to kill ANY children! Killing an abortion doctor just because you don’t like what he does is not necessity!

  • diathyky

    Interesting case. Interesting that the prosecutors would like to block the accused defense that his alleged actions were justified because they were in defense of another. One would have thought that that was a reasonable defense. I would, if I could, shoot an intruder before he shot and killed my wife and children. I think most people would. So seems like a good argument. No wonder the prosecution does not want it to be admitted.