Preliminary hearings for Scott Roeder, the alleged murderer of Kansas abortion provider George Tiller, MD, are set to begin Tuesday. Roeder has been charged with first degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault. If convicted, he faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years, reports the Associated Press.
Roeder has given multiple interviews on the shooting and the possible defenses he may attempt. In interviews with the Kansas City Star, Roeder claimed that Kansas laws state that a homicide is justifiable if committed "in the defense of self and others." He said his lawyers have advised against such a defense, because the victim in a justifiable homicide must be engaged in illegal activity.
Retired Shawnee County, Kansas, District Judge Terry Bullock told the AP, "Justifiable homicide typically means self-defense - you are defending yourself, your home, your wife or somebody like that," Bullock said. "It is not that you have a good motive." Roeder's brother David has said that Roeder has suffered from mental illness, and Roeder himself has acknowledged that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager, raising the possibility of a diminished mental capacity defense.
The Department of Justice opened the investigation to look into possible federal crimes associated with the murder of Dr. Tiller in June. The federal government also convened a meeting of the National Task Force on Violence Against Reproductive Health Care Providers in the days following the murder and Attorney General Eric Holder deployed US Marshals to protect highly threatened clinics and staff.
Media Resources: Associated Press 7/27/09; Kansas City Star 7/25/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/8/09
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .