Wichita, KS – Judge Clark Owens denied a motion filed by attorneys for abortionist George R. Tiller that challenged the constitutionality of the state statute mandating a jury of six for misdemeanor cases.
Tiller had asked for a jury of twelve to hear his 19 misdemeanor charges of illegal late-term abortions.
“We appreciate Judge Owen’s ruling that Tiller will have to have a jury of six, like every other person who faces misdemeanor charges in the State of Kansas. Maybe some day Tiller will understand that he is not above the law nor is he entitled to special privileges,” said Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger, who was present at the hearing.
The jury pool will be sent a special juror questionnaire at least four weeks ahead of trial. Judge Owens agreed to the request, usually reserved for capital murder cases, because of the complex issues involved in Tiller’s case and because of the high emotions and strongly held opinions that surround the abortion issue.
A trial date was set for March 16, 2009.
“If I had not been in court and heard the scheduling conflicts for myself, I would have thought that the March 16 trial date was absolutely outrageous. As it is, I am disappointed that justice will have to wait for March while Tiller’s abortion business continues to place the lives of viable babies at risk,” said Sullenger.
Judge Owens set a deadline for defense motions to be filed by September 15, ordering the State to respond to those motions by October 17.
Tiller’s attorneys indicated that they will file motions that will challenge the way former attorney General Phill Kline obtained the medical records on which the charges against their client was based. That and other motions, they said, would require testimony and about a week to present. A hearing date has been set for November 17 for the hearing of that and possibly other motions.
“Tiller has lost his last two motions, and I suspect, since the Kansas Supreme Court set guidelines that permitted the Attorney General’s office to obtain the abortion records in the first place, any motion challenging those records will also fail,” said Sullenger.
Yesterday, Judge Owens released a 35-page opinion upholding the constitutionality of the Kansas ban on post-viability abortions and denying Tiller’s motion to dismiss the case.