I'll admit, my blood us boiling a bit right now, but I found out a few minutes ago that Dr. Tiller's murderer may walk on a five year sentence based on essentially his religious beliefs. This offends me on so many levels, and I see it as giving favor towards one set of religious beliefs over another. I don't understand why this man is being permitted to present such a defense considering that in any other circumstances a confessed murderer would be treated as such.

Thing is, he's not just a murderer, he's a terrorist. Shooting doctors, bombing clinics, harassing their families, and posting personal information on internet hit lists is terrorism. This man isn't exercising his right to dissent, he's attempting to bully doctors out of helping women whose lives are in danger, or had to make a painful choice about a dieing fetus. These people are organized, they encourage these activities, and it's time to call a spade a spade.

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I wonder if we could invoke the same defence:

I killed this judge because he was endangering the lives of all doctors and according to my religious beliefs, therefore deadly force was justified in order to preserve the sanctity of law in this nation, ...

That judge should also disallow the use of "unborn children" scientifically speaking, they are foetuses, incapable of life on their own. The murder laws of our nations specify one may not kill a person (not foetuses), one becomes a person at birth for an atheist and at baptismal for christians.

The murder of Dr Tiller was one of the low points of the decade for me.
I was just reading (in a book) the judicial opinions in the case of Paul Hill, abortion doctor killer of the '90s. He tried to use the "necessity" defense (the person's actions stopped something worse, and immediate, from happening, and were the only way to do so). He wasn't able to use this defense because:

1 it was not immediate
2 aborting a fetus is not a legally recognized harm
3 it was not the only avenue that he could have taken
4 if courts allowed the necessity defense for people's ideologies, it would be enabling to extremists, who could use their ideology as an excuse
5 if someone's belief is important enough to them that they are willing to commit a crime, then they should also be ready to take the punishment for it.
Voluntary manslaughter?! This was clearly premeditated, and done to get people to do what he wanted, so not only first degree murder but also terrorism.

I don't think he will get this. Manslaughter is for things like beating someone up and unintentionally killing them. It can also be an action in the heat of rage when a person thinks that they or their family are at risk of immediate harm, and the person acts before they have a chance to cool down. It's hard to say a person didn't intend to kill someone when they come after them with a gun, and no one was at immediate harm.

Courts put a lot of emphasis on precedent. There have been previous cases where abortion doctor killers have attempted to say their killing was necessary to save unborn babies, and the courts said that was not an acceptable defense (and that legally a fetus does not have the protected status to allow this defense). One judge said something along the lines of, if you believe in something enough to break the law for it, you also should be ready to go to prison for it.

It is enraging but I don't think he will be successful in this defense. Or, I really hope not, because legally this is not right.
Yeah, I don't think it will be successful either, but the fact that it's being entertained offends me on so many levels. From my point of view it seems like his crime isn't being treated as seriously as it should be because his motivation has everything to do with womens' issues. Maybe I've been more sensitive to these things lately with the Stupak amendment and what not. It just seems to me that more of the anti-choice propaganda is getting out there than real life stories about why sometimes abortion is the ethical thing to do.
UPDATE: he was convicted of first degree murder. The courts made the right decision.




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