Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Judge Denies Scott Roeder Trial Rights
Town Hall ^ | 02/01/10 | reasonmclucus

Posted on 02/01/2010 4:09:13 PM PST by kathsua

It is unfortunate that Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert decided to deny Scott Roeder his right to a trial by a jury that was independent of government control.

Roeder had admitted to the crime of Voluntary Manslaughter [the "honest but unreasonable belief" that the use of force was necessary in defense of another] in the killing of Dr. George Tiller, but the prosecution decided it wanted him convicted instead of the much broader crime of 1st Degree Murder.

Instead of giving the jury the choice between the two different crimes, Judge Wilbert sided with the prosecution and told the jury that it could only find Roeder guilty of 1st degree murder or not guilty of any crime. Jurors went into the jury room, did what the judge told them to do and found Roeder guilty of 1st degree murder 37 minutes later.

The framers of the Constitution knew that the British court system had been used in the past to punish those who opposed the crown. They made the judiciary independent to keep the executive from coercing the courts into serving the government's needs. Juries selected from the citizenry provided a means of dealing with a situation in which judges might become to close to the executive branch.

A jury cannot perform its constitutional function if a judge denies it the opportunity to decide the major controversies in a trial. Juries under U.S. law have broad authority to make their own decisions and in precedents that predate the establishment of the Constitution may choose to ignore laws like judges sometimes do.

The first example of jury nullification occurred in the case of journalist John Peter Zenger who was acquitted by a jury for publishing defamatory comments about New York Governor William Cosby in 1735 because the statements were true. At the time the law allowed prosecution for negative comments about government officials even it the comments were true. Jury nullification provides an added check on the legislative power by allowing citizens to in effect invalidate what citizens believe are unreasonable restrictions on their freedom.

In the Roeder trial the controversy wasn't whether Roeder committed a crime when he killed Dr. Tiller, but the nature of that crime.

Judge Wilbert decided that he was some type of infallible god instead of a human being who is capable of making mistakes in spite of the fact he had been reprimanded by the state in 2006 in response to a sexual harassment complaint by a court employee.

Wilbert is educated in the law, but so are the defense attorneys who had a different opinion about the meaning of the law defining voluntary manslaughter.

It is not the judge's role in a jury trial to side either with the opinion of the prosecution or the opinion of the defense about how to interpret the law or the facts of the case. A judge usually knows more about the law than jury members, but then so do the attorneys for the prosecution and the defense.

In modern society, judges may have more power to decide legal cases, but the most knowledgeable attorneys are usually not judges.

As far as I know Roeder's defense attorneys Mark Rudy and Steve Osburn sincerely believed that Roeder was only guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Also as far as I know Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston sincerely believed that Murder One was the appropriate charge. As far as I know she did not choose the more severe charge to punish Roeder for being an opponent of abortion.

American courts are supposed to be biased in favor of the defendant rather than the government. The defendant doesn't have to prove his innocence. If a defendant says he didn't take the action for which he is accused the government must prove him guilty of the action beyond a reasonable doubt.

Scott Roeder admitted in court that he had killed Wichita abortion provider Dr. George Tiller to prevent Tiller from performing any more late term abortions and thus he was guilty of the crime of voluntary manslaughter. Judge Wilbert should have instructed the jury it should find Roeder guilty of voluntary manslaughter unless it felt that the prosecution had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime was not voluntary manslaughter, but 1st degree murder. The jury should not have considered a verdict of "not guilty".

The claim that abortion is legal is a spurious argument in considering whether or not Roeder's action could be considered voluntary manslaughter. Late term abortions are only legal in Kansas under certain circumstances and Tiller had been accused of performing abortions that didn't comply with Kansas law.

Shortly before the killing, Tiller had been on trial for illegally performing late term abortions. There was sufficient evidence against him for an Attorney General who supported abortion to charge Tiller with violating the law, but not enough to convince a jury of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Roeder might easily have been convinced himself that Tiller was getting away with murder and decided to impose the type of vigilante justice shown in old westerns and occasional cop shows. To Scott Roeder, George Tiller was a serial killer who had escaped punishment because he had a more effective attorney than the state had.

Obviously Scott Roeder violated the law when he killed Dr. George Tiller. The question is which law he should have been convicted under. An independent jury should have been allowed to choose which law to convict Roeder under. The right to a jury trial should always allow a jury to choose a lesser charge than that desired by the prosecution regardless of the wishes of judges who want to limit the right to trial by jury by controlling what the jury can do.


TOPICS: Government; Local News; Politics; Religion
KEYWORDS: abortion; georgetiller; killing; scottroeder
A judge who fools around might very well have wanted some help from Dr. Tiller to help a girl friend get rid of the evidence. I wonder if anyone checked that out.

The way liberals have been talking I thought voluntary manslaughter meant that he would go free if the jury agreed rather than going to jail.

I didn't know juries could change laws like judges.

1 posted on 02/01/2010 4:09:13 PM PST by kathsua
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: kathsua

I can’t remember the guy’s name, but there was a prosecutor (Phil Klein maybe?) that had been investigating Tiller for illegal late term abortions, and the judge also refused to allow the defense to call him to testify. IIRC, Tiller gave MILLIONS of dollars to the Sebilius campaign coffers to get her reelected as governor. Read more about it in Jack Cashill’s column, http://www.cashill.com/regional/tiller_and.htm

Mark


2 posted on 02/01/2010 4:33:50 PM PST by MarkL (Do I really look like a guy with a plan?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kathsua

He had a jury trial.


3 posted on 02/01/2010 4:34:45 PM PST by Mark was here (The earth is bipolar. ---- "OBAMA: THE GREAT MISTAKE OF 2008")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kathsua

To Scott Roeder, George Tiller was a serial killer who had escaped punishment because he had a more effective attorney than the state had.
**************************************************
I disagree , George Tiller had the entire state aparatus behind him with his blood money splashed around. Tiller corrupted the aparatus that should have stopped him decades ago, by making himself to be above any law he created the situation leading to his death. Tiller committed suicide as surely as someone that waves a gun at a cop.


4 posted on 02/01/2010 4:38:39 PM PST by Neidermeyer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kathsua
Sorry, but that's all legal BS.

The jury is the trier of fact. The judge is the trier of the law.

You shoot a man, you take your chances. 12 of his fellow citizens said he was as cold blooded murderer.

5 posted on 02/01/2010 4:40:12 PM PST by MindBender26 (Prezdet Obama is what you get when you let the O.J. jury select a president !)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cacique

bump for later


6 posted on 02/01/2010 4:49:10 PM PST by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kathsua

God Bless you Scott Roeder, you took one for the team. He’s not a murderer, he’s an executioner; killers should be put to death, and Roeder is taking the fall because the government will not do the right thing when it comes to abortion.

I suppose our pro-life (*snort*) RINOs have been suspiciously quiet over this?


7 posted on 02/01/2010 4:57:16 PM PST by IntolerantOfTreason (The AMERICAN President should be an AMERICAN, NOT an AFRICAN-American)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MindBender26
The jury is the trier of fact. The judge is the trier of the law.

You are correct.

8 posted on 02/01/2010 4:58:29 PM PST by afnamvet (Patriots Rising)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: MindBender26
The jury is the trier of fact. The judge is the trier of the law.

You are incorrect.
9 posted on 02/01/2010 5:13:53 PM PST by LearsFool ("Thou shouldst not have been old, till thou hadst been wise.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: kathsua

The man shot a person in the forehead at church. Although I abhor everything the doctor stood for and practiced it is not my place or yours or Roeder’s place to judge and convict him. ‘Judgement is mine sayeth the Lord’. Where does it stop? Is it OK to kill someone who blasphemes? Is it OK to kill someone who gives less than a tithe? Is it OK to kill someone who lies on a resume? Who are we to rank the severity of sins in God’s eyes?


10 posted on 02/01/2010 5:30:21 PM PST by PaForBush
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PaForBush

Is it OK to kill someone who blasphemes? Is it OK to kill someone who gives less than a tithe? Is it OK to kill someone who lies on a resume?
_____________________________________________________________
We are not talking about someone who blasphemes or doesn’t tithe enough. We are talking about someone who rips unborn viable babies limb from limb to extract them from the womb. This is MURDER in my book and in the Lord’s book. The Bible does not mention abortion specifically by does state in the book of Exodus:

“And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life.” (Exodus 21:22-23)

Other verses exhort us to protect those who cannot protect themselves and tell us that not to do so is a sin.

“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:3-4

“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?” Proverbs 24:11-12 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9 “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:17


11 posted on 02/01/2010 6:57:02 PM PST by Josephat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: IntolerantOfTreason

“He’s not a murderer, he’s an executioner; killers should be put to death...”

Unfortunately, Roeder was not eligible for the death penalty in Kansas so he will simply spend the rest of his life in prison with his long term companion cellmate.


12 posted on 02/01/2010 8:14:03 PM PST by trumandogz (The Democrats are driving us to Socialism at 100 MPH -The GOP is driving us to Socialism at 97.5 MPH)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: LearsFool
The jury is the trier of fact. The judge is the trier of the law.

You are incorrect.

And that idiotic statement is based on what?

13 posted on 02/02/2010 4:49:44 AM PST by MindBender26 (Prezdet Obama is what you get when you let the O.J. jury select a president !)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Josephat
Before you start quoting Bible verses as law, I suggest you read your Bible, especially the part about your namesake.

In Judges 11, Josephat makes a bargain with God that if God will guarantee Josephat’s victory over the Ammonites, then Josephat will make a burnt offering to God of “whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me when I return.”

The problems was that the first thing to come out of the doors of his home after is victory was his daughter, his only child.

So to please God, after the daughter spent two months in the mountains to “bewail her virginity,” she came come and Josephat cooked her.

So, if you don't want to be seen as encouraging men to kill their only children, you might want to be careful about quoting Bible verses, or chosing a name.

14 posted on 02/02/2010 5:09:27 AM PST by MindBender26 (Prezdet Obama is what you get when you let the O.J. jury select a president !)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: MindBender26

Before you start quoting Bible verses as law, I suggest you read your Bible, especially the part about your namesake.
In Judges 11, Josephat makes a bargain with God that if God will guarantee Josephat’s victory over the Ammonites, then Josephat will make a burnt offering to God of “whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me when I return.”

The problems was that the first thing to come out of the doors of his home after is victory was his daughter, his only child.

So to please God, after the daughter spent two months in the mountains to “bewail her virginity,” she came come and Josephat cooked her.

So, if you don’t want to be seen as encouraging men to kill their only children, you might want to be careful about quoting Bible verses, or chosing a name.
___________________________________________________________
The character in Judges 11 is Jephthah and my screen name is JOSEPHAT so, perhaps before you sling arrows you should learn to read.


15 posted on 02/02/2010 6:17:22 AM PST by Josephat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson