by Steven Ertelt
January 8, 2008
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — The grand jury that is looking into late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller and whether he has done illegal late-term abortions convenes today. However, while the makeup of the jury will be selected today, a leading pro-life group is upset that a special prosecutor will not be selected to assist with the case.
Pro-life groups collected the signatures of thousands of state residents to use a state law allowing for grand jury probes in cases where local officials won’t investigate.
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.
During the selection, 15 people will be chosen from a group of 70 possible jurors and 12 members are needed to indict Tiller on the charges. The grand jury has three months to investigate the case and return a decision.
However, an Associated Press report indicates Chief Judge Michael Corrigan of the Sedgwick County Court doesn’t think a special prosecutor is necessary.
"I don’t think there is any intention of appointing a special prosecutor — that is a decision for a grand jury," he said. "They have a right to have special counsel if they want."
That concerns Mary Kay Culp of Kansans for Life, who told LifeNews.com that the grand jury should be directed by a prosecutor independent of Sedgwick District Attorney Nola Foulston or Attorney General Morrison.
Both are pro-abortion and both have benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars Tiller has donated to candidates through his political action committee.
"Is there any guarantee that citizen jurors will even be informed by a Foulston prosecutor that they have such a right — the right to a special prosecutor? Or will they be left in the dark by Foulston’s prosecutors as the last grand jury related to Tiller reportedly was?" Culp asked.
"Kansans for Life is distressed that Judge Corrigan seems to be willfully dismissing the decisive wording off the petition itself," she said.
The petition that Sedgwick citizens signed is specifically worded to require the grand jury utilize an independent prosecutor.
"Mentioning that the statutes allow the jury to have legal counsel does not justify ignoring that this jury was to be led by an independent prosecutor–not someone from Foulston’s office," she concluded.
Tiller had asked the Kansas Supreme Court to order two district judges to refrain from impaneling the grand jury, but the court sided against him.
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