Jury Selection Finalized For Trial of Late-Term Abortion Practitioner George Tiller
by Steven Ertelt
March 18, 2009
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — The selection of the eight members of the jury who will hear the case of late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller has been finalized.
The panel will hear state attorneys present the 19 criminal charges Tiller faces for allegedly 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, the late-term abortion practitioner reportedly used an affiliated associate, abortion practitioner Ann Kristin Neuhaus, with whom he has a financial working relationship.
The second physician is required 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.
The eight people selected for the jury will hear all of the evidence presented in the case and then six members will be chosen as the jury with two remaining as alternates.
The jury is comprised of four men and four women whose ages vary from young adult to the elderly and retired.
During the selection process, according to the pro-life group Operation Rescue, which is monitoring the case, attorneys for Tiller dismissed potential jurors who had pro-life views on abortion, while no pro-abortion jurors were reportedly excused.
"Today, two more jurors were dismissed because of their strong pro-life beliefs. Yesterday, one woman was also dismissed for that same reason," the group said.
Tiller has requested the special privilege of a twelve person jury, but that motion was denied.
The abortions in question were done on women and girls as old as 24 and as young as 10 years of age. The babies who were the victims of the abortions were between 25 and 30 weeks of age at the time of the abortion.
If convicted of all 19 charges and should he receive the maximum sentence for each charge, Tiller faces up to one year in prison and $2,500 for each of the counts.
Operation Rescue president Tory Newman told LifeNews.com today that he is putting his faith in God that Tiller will be held accountable and that this trial will ultimately put him out of business.
"This trial is expected to have huge implications for the pro-life movement nationwide. If convicted, the Kansas Board of Healing Arts could suspend or revoke Tiller’s medical license, and force his late-term abortion mill to close," he said.
"We encourage everyone who can to come to Wichita and join us in praying for justice during the trial next week," he added.
""This is the moment we have been praying for and working toward. We need press in and fervently pray for justice, because if that prayer is answered, the lives of countless innocent babies will be spared. This case is literally one that will decide life of death for thousands of children," Newman concluded.
Sedgwick County District Court Judge Clark Owens set up this week’s jury selection and eventual 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. https://www.lifenews.com/state3896.html
Owens’ ruling exonerated Kline and allowed the trial to move ahead.
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. https://www.lifenews.com/state3416.html
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