Kansas Abortion Practitioner George Tiller’s Lawyers Try to Dismiss Charges
by Steven Ertelt
September 15, 2008
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — Lawyers for late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller have filed legal papers again asking that charges filed against him for alleged illegal late-term abortions be dismissed. This time, they are trying a new tactic by claiming former Attorney General Phill Kline engaged in supposed misconduct.
Their goal is to challenge the way Kline obtained the medical records that led to the charges.
In July, 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.
Owens set a trial date of March 16, 2009 and gave both Tiller’s lawyers until September 15 to respond and state attorneys until October 17.
Today, the Tiller lawyers filed a motion asking Judge Owens to drop the charges and claimed in a 153-page filing that Kline supposedly "lied" to a judge to open the inquiry into Tiller’s abortion business that initially produced the charges.
The Wichita Eagle indicates Tiller’s lawyers say Kline allegedly abused the power of his office for an illegal and secret probe of Tiller and they point to internal documents from Kline’s office showing his desire to target abortion centers under the guise of investigating a lack of reporting about child abuse.
Ultimately, the Eagle reports, the legal papers claim Kline produced illegally-obtained evidence that his successor to file the charges against Tiller. As a result, Tiller’s attorneys say, the charges should be dropped.
Previously, Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue told LifeNews.com that Kline’s office did nothing wrong and that he followed the directions of Shawnee County Chief Judge Richard Anderson and the state’s high court in obtaining the medical records.
"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.
A hearing date was set for November 17 on defense motions to delay the trial.
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. He got abortion practitioner Ann Kristin Neuhaus, with whom he is a financial partner, to sign off on the disputed late-term abortions.
The second physician is supposed to validate whether the mother will face "substantial and irreversible" harm to "a major bodily function" without the abortion — the lone times when a late-term abortion can be done legally.
Tiller could face as much as 19 years in prison with one year for each guilty conviction.
Kansans for Life director Mary Kay Culp previously told LifeNews.com about what’s at stake in the trial.
"The law says the second doctor required to approve the abortion of a viable baby cannot be legally or financially affiliated with the abortionist," Culp explained. "Not only did Tiller repeatedly use Kristen Neuhaus, a doctor twice called a public danger by our board of healing arts, but records indicate that for four years her sole income came from her association with him."
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