As reported this evening by MSNBC, the trial judge presiding over the murder trial of Scott Roeder – charged with the shooting death Dr. George Tiller (pictured here) – has reached a startling conclusion. The judge has decided that Roeder can argue that he should be convicted of voluntary manslaughter, instead of murder, because Roeder believed that, by slaying Dr. Tiller, he was saving unborn children.
Talk about judicial activism. This ruling is an outrageous miscarriage of justice. No one – not even Roeder himself – disputes that he shot Dr. Tiller, a doctor at a local family planning clinic. Moreover, the facts of the case are a law school textbook example of pre-meditated murder. Roeder armed himself with a gun, went to the Lutheran church he attended with Dr. Tiller, got up from his seat during the services, walked up to Dr. Tiller, and shot him.
By allowing Roeder – a domestic terrorist with ties to right-wing separatist group The Freemen – to argue that he should be guilty of anything less than pre-meditated murder on those undisputed facts, this judge is, in fact, carving out “special rights” for killers like Roeder. If you are a religious zealot like Roeder, apparently a special definition of what it means to murder someone applies to you that doesn’t apply to anyone else.
A verdict finding Roder guilty of manslaughter – as opposed to murder – will likely spare Roeder the death penalty. Ironic that Roeder should be so timid now to take full responsibility for his mis-deeds when, if he is to be believed, he was doing right by God in the first place.
You can link to the MSNBC article here.