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Judge Denies Scott Roeder's 'Necessity Defense'

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.

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