Kansas Judge in George Tiller Abortion Case Gets Low Marks From Bar
by Steven Ertelt
July 21, 2008
Wichita, KS(LifeNews.com) — Judge Clark V. Owens will soon determine whether or not to dismiss the charges the state attorney general has filed against late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller. However, a pro-life group points out members of the Wichita Bar Association have given him low marks.
Former attorney general Paul Morrison filed the charges against Tiller, saying he violated state law requiring a second physician to sign off on the validity of the late-term abortions.
Tiller allegedly has violated the component of the states late-term abortion law requiring the abortion practitioner not to have a relationship with the second physician.
However, pro-life groups say Judge Owens will likely not hold Tiller accountable and they say the bar’s assessment helps make the case.
Only 46 percent of the local attorneys rating Owens strongly agreed that Owens was ethical, and only 34% strongly agreed that he is fair.
While 42% strongly agreed that Owens demonstrates a good knowledge of the law, only 30% felt as strongly that he applies the law appropriately.
Owens also received low marks for being punctual and demonstrating a fair work ethic. Only 19% of those who responded strongly agreed that he demonstrated those qualities.
"This is a serious ruling that Judge Owens is about to make in the Tiller case," Operation Rescue spokesman Troy Newman told LifeNews.com in reaction.
"However, based on his low ratings by local attorneys, we don’t believe that he has exhibited the fairness or trust that is required of a judge who is ruling on such a controversial case where corruption is already suspected," he said.
"Because of the long frustration with the lack of enforcement of Kansas abortion laws, the public needs to be reassured that the judge overseeing Tiller’s criminal prosecution is one known for fairness, ethics, and the appropriate application of the rule of law," said Newman. "Owens is not that judge."
Owens is the third judge of record on the Tiller case and one of his colleagues before him didn’t receive good marks either.
Judge Gregory Waller, who received the third worst ranking from the local attorneys’ group, was the first responsible for the case.
Operation Rescue released documents showing that Tiller’s attorneys and close associates had made maximum contributions to one of Waller’s political campaigns. The following day, Waller was off the case.
As presiding judge, Waller appointed Judge Anthony Powell, who recused himself from hearing the case based on negative comments he had made about Tiller while serving in the Kansas Legislature over ten years earlier.
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