Late-Term Abortion Practitioner George Tiller Heads to Trial After Court Loss
by Steven Ertelt
July 29, 2008
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — Kansas late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller is now finally headed for a trial after a local judge dismissed two requests for the case to be dismissed. Tiller has been charged with doing illegal late-term abortions and will potentially be held accountable next year.
Yesterday, Judge Clark Owens rejected a request from Tiller attorneys to overturn the charges based on a claim the law limiting late-term abortions is unconstitutional.
Judge Owens also dismissed a motion that challenged the constitutionality of the state statute mandating a jury of six for misdemeanor cases.
Tiller had asked for a jury of twelve people to hear the case that involves 19 misdemeanor charges of illegal late-term abortions.
Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger, who was present at the hearing, told LifeNews.com that the pro-life group appreciates the ruling that allows the case to move forward.
"Tiller will have to have a jury of six, like every other person who faces misdemeanor charges in the state of Kansas," she said. "Maybe some day Tiller will understand that he is not above the law nor is he entitled to special privileges."
Judge Owens set a trial date of March 16, 2009 — one that appears to be far in the future but Sullenger said she understood the reasons for the delay. That gives time for defense motions to be filed by September 15 and the state to respond by October 17.
"As it is, I am disappointed that justice will have to wait for March while Tiller’s abortion business continues to place the lives of viable babies at risk," she said.
The jury pool will receive a special juror questionnaire at least four weeks ahead of trial. Judge Owens agreed to the request, usually reserved for capital murder cases, because of the complex issues involved in Tiller’s case and because of the high emotions and strongly held opinions that surround the abortion issue.
The trial date was also pushed back into next year because Tiller’s attorneys indicated that they will file motions that will challenge the way former Attorney General Phill Kline obtained the medical records that led to the charges.
A hearing date was set for November 17 on that and other potential defense motions to delay the trial.
"Tiller has lost his last two motions, and I suspect, since the Kansas Supreme Court set guidelines that permitted the Attorney General’s office to obtain the abortion records in the first place, any motion challenging those records will also fail," said Sullenger.
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