by Steven Ertelt
November 20, 2007
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — The attorney for a Kansas judge has told the Kansas Supreme Court that a grand jury probe of a Wichita-based late-term abortion practitioner should proceed. David Cooper, the attorney for Sedgwick County Judge Michael Corrigan, says the court should not prevent the investigation of George Tiller from moving forward.
Tiller has asked the Kansas Supreme Court to order two district judges, including Corrigan, to refrain from impaneling the grand jury. His lawyers named Corrigan as a defendant in the case.
Cooper filed legal papers with the high court and said it should not side with someone who wants to contravene the state law allowing citizens to call a grand jury probe.
Tiller’s attorneys say one reason the grand jury shouldn’t begin its task of investigating whether or not he did numerous illegal late-term abortions over the years is because pro-life groups like Kansans for Life are behind the probe.
His lawyers called their use of a signature campaign to call the grand jury "harassment" — a charge Judge Michael Corrigan called “absurd," according to Cooper’s papers.
Cooper says Corrigan doesn’t think Tiller should be able to stop a grand jury before it begins its work, according to a Lawrence Journal World news report.
“Just as a demand that there be no district attorney or no attorney general is absurd, it is absurd for any citizen to demand that no grand jury be summoned,” the legal papers said.
“One cannot challenge an indictment which has not yet, and may never be, issued by a grand jury,” the judge added.
Kansans for Life director Mary Kay Culp told LifeNews.com Tuesday that the legal paper Cooper filed makes excellent points.
"Kansans for Life makes the same argument as Judge Corrigan," Culp said.
"The facts say we should win, but when the issue is abortion and the subject is George Tiller, we’ll wait to exhale until after the Kansas Supreme Court announces their decision," Culp added.
Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Kay McFarland ordered an indefinite stay of the grand jury, even though the law requires the convening of a grand jury within 60 days of submission of the petition. That deadline came on November 6.
The high court wants to hear more arguments in the case before deciding.
The grand jury probe is separate from charges Attorney General Paul Morrison has filed against Tiller.
Morrison says Tiller, one of a handful in the country to do abortions so late in pregnancy, has violated state law requiring a second physician to sign off on their validity.
Sedgwick County District Judge Clark V. Owens indicated he would rule within a few weeks on whether or not to grant a request from Tiller’s lawyers to dismiss the 19 charges.
Morrison said Tiller has violated the component of the state’s late-term abortion law requiring the abortion practitioner not to have a relationship with the second physician. Tiller uses a second doctor with whom he has a financial relationship.
Tiller’s lawyers are challenging the late-term abortion law saying the requirement for an independent second physician is unconstitutional and that it allegedly infringes on women’s so-called abortion rights.
Related web sites:
Kansans for Life – https://www.kfl.org