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Dr_Dredd's avatar

What is your opinion of the Scott Roeder murder trial?

Asked by Dr_Dredd (10491 points ) January 26th, 2010

Scott Roeder is the man who shot Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, while he was attending church. (He has admitted this.) Roeder has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, and the judge in the case is allowing his defense attorneys to argue that Roeder believed he was saving the lives of unborn fetuses. What do you think? Is it first-degree murder, or should Roeder be allowed to use a so-called “necessity” defense?

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30 Answers

janbb's avatar

I guess I can’t even argue this dispassionately so I shouldn’t post anything but – he fucking murdered him!

jrpowell's avatar

He admitted to doing it. I doubt this defense has a chance of of this working. Allowing it would set a horrible precedent.

edit :: And the asshole belongs in Gitmo. What he did was terrorism.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’ve long said that to be “perfectly” anti-abortion you have to be willing to stop someone “in the act” (the same way one might act to prevent a murder on the sidewalk in front of one’s house), even by using deadly force if necessary.

But that doesn’t mean that you get to hunt someone down and take any violent action against them when there is no deadly act being performed.

This was a first-degree murder and should be prosecuted as such. The perpetrator’s arguments in his defense are invalid as they do not apply to anything occurring at the time of the commission of the crime.

Snarp's avatar

I don’t know if he should be allowed to use the defense, but I’m quite confident that the defense won’t work.

spiritual's avatar

That is ridiculous, as if anyone could make an argument for stopping killing fetuses by killing someone.
I think it is extremely hypocritical.
I hope that his defence is torn apart, because he sounds like a maniac. I’m all for peaceful protest, but if you are anti-murder, you don’t show people, or stop it, by killing someone else. It detracts from any moral high ground he thought he had.

Snarp's avatar

@Dr_Dredd What’s your source on this? Every article I’m seeing says that the judge has denied the necessity defense.

Ruallreb8ters's avatar

Defending him sounds thike a courtroom joke. It would be like the “twinkie defence” used by Dan Whites lawyers (which actually worked)....if he has admited to it defence should not be allowed.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Snarp Yes and no. The judge has said that he is denying the necessity defense, but he is also allowing Roeder to argue that he should be convincted of voluntary manslaughter instead of murder. It seems to me that this is a back door to a necessity defense.

Here is one article I found in a local newspaper.

njnyjobs's avatar

Just playing devils advocate . . . how would the respondents above feel when a regular John Doe or Jane Doe chances upon Osama Bin Laden, takes action that results in the demise of Bin Laden?

Snarp's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Thanks. But to some of the conclusions that are being jumped to here, he’s still being prosecuted for 1st Degree murder, no matter what defense he uses, and he still has to convince a jury that there’s a reasonable doubt that he premeditatedly killed a man in cold blood. That’s a pretty tall order.

galileogirl's avatar

The necessity defense which is what Roeder is using is a very long shot. It rarely leads to a not guilty verdict for a couple of reasons. First there is the element of imminent danger. Dr Tiller was murdered in church. Even if the jury bought Roeder’s claims about abortion as murder there was no way that he was just about to commit an abortion ‘immenetly’. Second if the action that Roeder claimed to be preventing had already been voted as legal by the legislature, necessity cannot be considered. Unless the prosecution has been completely inept, Roeder is going to have a long time in jail.

Trillian's avatar

Well the other thing is, and I could be mistaken; I was under the impression that pre-meditation was the difference between first degree murder and manslaughter. One would think that the fact that he went to the guys church and shot him would, by definition, be pre-meditation and therefor, first degree murder.

galileogirl's avatar

The necessity defense hinges on your belief that the wrong you do is the lesser of 2 evils, ie 1 man’s death vs many potential humans. If it flies there is a not guilty verdict and the killer goes free. Like I said, it is kind of a lost cause defense because most juries are smarter than that. The trick is to a jury that can be neutral on the issue of abortion and decide based on law not picture of fetuses

tinyfaery's avatar

Seems like another version of “gay hysteria”. Won’t work.

MagsRags's avatar

-@Trillian I think premeditation is the difference between first degree and second degree murder. Both include malice. Manslaughter is killing without a plan, usually due to carelessness or an impulsive action.

I can see how he might argue he was without malice using the protection of fetuses argument but not premeditated? I don’t see how that could fly.

Trillian's avatar

Ok wait. I thought if you hit someone with your car accidentally but killed them, that was manslaughter. What is 2nd degree murder?

MagsRags's avatar

A possible example of second degree murder would be getting into a bar fight, pulling a knife and stabbing the other person who bleeds to death. Your example sounds like involuntary manslaughter.

Ruallreb8ters's avatar

Manslaughter is vague, just means that you killed someone. I think @MagsRags is right, premeditation is the differance between 1st and 2nd degree.

Ruallreb8ters's avatar

never mind: ” Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being, in a manner considered by law as less culpable than murder.”

borderline_blonde's avatar

Murder is murder. You don’t get kudos for preventing what may happen in the future and may be considered murder by some but not the law.The guy killed someone in cold blood. Lock his ass up and put him away for life.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I agree that he is definitely a murderer. Hopefully the jury will not choose to engage in jury nullification, which is where they deliberately ignore the law and the judge’s instructions. This often happened in the old South; white juries would refuse to convict white men in cases involving black victims.

SeventhSense's avatar

It was premeditated. As soon as that’s established the manslaughter defense is out. I don’t even think a pro life judge(not that he is or isn’t) would want to create a ruling which would set a precedent for vigilantism

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Apparently the judge is pro-life, but most people in the Kansas legal community think he is fair.

Janka's avatar

The guy killed another person outside of a self-defense situation.

It is not, IMO, relevant here what you think about abortion. In a civilized country, even if you believe that someone else is committing crimes, you do not go out and shoot them while they are in church, you report it to the police, and have it tried in a court. “Pressing circumstances” types of defenses should only apply when the situation is pressing (as in, the murderer is taking a gun to a victim, and it really is about shoot now, or the victim dies), not to when there is time to take the legal route.

Snarp's avatar

I’m going to reiterate, the judge has denied the necessity defense, but he has not issued a ruling on whether the defendant can claim in some other way that he is not guilty of murder but of manslaughter instead. I can’t remember the name of the legal claim that has not been ruled out, but it is not the necessity defense (and sadly, @Dr_Dredd‘s link has stopped working, so I cant reference it). But the key thing to keep in mind is that nothing has been decided, the judge has not done anything unusual, and a first degree murder trial is still underway. Whatever defense his legal team concocts will have to stand up to the judge’s decision on whether they meet the legal requirements for that defense, and then the Jury’s decision as to whether or not they have established reasonable doubt. The odds are strongly in favor of a conviction for first degree murder, and there’s no need for indignant speculation that he will get off on a technicality. Save your indignity for after a verdict has been rendered.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Sorry about the broken link. Try this one.

MikeinLondon's avatar

A ridiculous spectacle. It could have been much more simple:
1. Did you murder Dr. Tiller?
2. Did you plan the murder?
3. Is there a law in Kansas against murder?
4. Do you have a state dispensation that says you may murder to defend your beliefs?
5. You are declaring the defence of other lives. Name them, please.

Seems to me the jury has enough to convict

Snarp's avatar

The latest news: (CNN)—“A Kansas jury deliberated just minutes before convicting a man who said he killed to stop abortions guilty of first-degree murder.”

So much for Roeder’s defense.

janbb's avatar

@Snarp Good news!

Dr_Dredd's avatar


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