Jury Selection Begins in Trial of Late-Term Abortion Practitioner George Tiller
by Steven Ertelt
March 16, 2009
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — Jury selection begins today in the trial of George Tiller, the late-term abortion practitioner accused of violating the state’s abortion laws. Specifically, Tiller faces 19 criminal charges for using a fellow abortion practitioner with whom he has a financial relationship to claim the abortions were medically necessary.
In the abortions, Tiller should have followed state law requiring a concurring signature from a second physician who is not legally or financially affiliated with him. Instead, Tiller used an affiliated associate, abortion practitioner Ann Kristin Neuhaus, with whom he has a financial working relationship.
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.
Sedgwick County District Court Judge Clark Owens set up this week’s trial when he dismissed a request from Tiller attorneys to suppress evidence in the case because of claims that it was improperly obtained.
Judge Owens addressed all the concerns Tiller’s attorneys brought up over six days of testimony, including claims that former Attorney General Phill Kline acted in a way that should allow the case to be dismissed. Instead, Owens dismissed their concerns.
Owens’ ruling exonerated Kline and allowed the trial to move ahead.
Now, attorneys on both sides begin the jury selection process, which is expected to take up to three days this week. State law mandates that there be six members of the jury in misdemeanor cases. Opening arguments will begin in the trial next week.
Tiller could face one year in prison for each count on which he is convicted.
Mary Kay Culp, the director of Kansans for Life, previously talked with LifeNews.com about the case.
"Here we have a man trying to avoid a trial by falsely claiming he was singled out for prosecution, insisting that he be singularly allowed to put two attorneys general and a District Court Judge on trial first," she said.
"We can only hope that Tiller’s high-dollar defense show is about the judge wanting it out of the way prior to the Tiller trial next March, because any other explanation, or if it is allowed to result in cancellation of that trial, means this state’s capitulation to Tiller’s political power is complete," she added.
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.
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