James Kopp, the anti-abortion extremist who in March was convicted of the intentional murder of Barnett Slepian, MD, will face federal charges for the murder as well. Koppís attorney had argued that since Kopp had already received 25 years to life he wouldnít even be eligible for parole until he was 73, so an additional trial would just be a waste of resources, according to the Buffalo News. Kopp also claimed that a second trial would be double jeopardy, but prosecutors argued that the state and federal charges are different, the Associated Press reports.
In federal court, Kopp is charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), which protects womenís access to abortion services. The Buffalo News reports that the decision to proceed with federal charges against Kopp came from US Attorney General John Ashcroft or one of his top aides.
In related news, a witness has stepped forward claiming to have seen alleged Kopp accomplice Dennis Malvasi in Slepianís Amherst, NY, neighborhood a week after Kopp shot Dr. Slepian. Malvasi and his wife, Loretta Marra, accepted a federal plea deal in April that has a maximum sentence of five years, but both had claimed that they did not know Kopp had killed Dr. Slepian and had only sent Kopp money while he was on the run from authorities. Police are investigating the possibility that if Malvasi was in Slepianís neighborhood so soon after the shooting, he could have been trying to retrieve the murder weapon and other evidence Kopp buried in the woods behind Slepianís house, according to the Buffalo News. Marra and Malvasi will be sentenced tomorrow in New York City.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .