Roeder's trial is not supposed to be a referendum on abortion, but Judge Warren Wilbert has, in effect, treated it as one. If Tiller had been, say, a gerontologist instead of an abortion provider, if Roeder murdered him because he harbored an honest belief that Tiller was euthanizing his patients, I bet the judge would not have been quite so sympathetic to an
This new subsection covers intentional killings that result from an unreasonable but honest belief that deadly force was justified in self-defense. In essence, the defendant meets the subjective, but not the objective, test for self-defense. This so-called "imperfect right to self-defense" is recognized in various forms. Kansas apparently recognizes it for unintentional killings under involuntary manslaughter. ... The Model Penal Code also follows this approach. Some states, e.g. Illinois, recognize this partial defense for intentional killings....
Tiller who was shot and killed in church presented no imminent threat to anyone, as the prosecution has argued. Roeder claims he regarded Tiller as imminently dangerous to unspecified fetuses, because he operated an abortion clinic. If his defense succeeds, the right to life movement will have effectively won the right to kill.
UPDATE: At a hearing this afternoon, Judge Wilbert declined to bar Roeder from raising a voluntary manslaughter defense.
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