Is this even really being considered?

Flipping through the paper this afternoon while the nice lady made my sandwich, I came upon a startling item. From the AP:
A judge is weighing a critical legal question in the case of a man who confessed to killing one of the nation's few late-term abortion providers: Can the man claim at his trial that the slaying was justified to save the lives of unborn children?


District Judge Warren Wilbert has yet to rule on a bevy of court filings that will set the course for the Jan. 11 trial, and will consider some of them in court Tuesday. But the documents offer a glimpse at the unfolding legal strategies in a case played out amid the rancorous debate over abortion.

Since the killing, Roeder has confessed to reporters that he shot Tiller, while his anti-abortion allies have urged Roeder to present the so-called "necessity defense" in hopes that an acquittal could turn the larger debate over abortion in their favor.

Surely the judge cannot seriously be considering allowing this defense.

Anyone with a background in the law should feel free to correct an error in my thinking, but we don't allow people to determine who consistutes sufficient threat to others to justify our killing them, correct? People who believe war is murder aren't allowed to gun down recruiters. I'm not allowed to sit outside bars and pick off intoxicated people as they walk to their cars.

I'm probably over-reacting to a pro forma legal proceeding, and presumably the judge won't allow this line of defense. (I'm still trying to catch up on what I missed during my long weekend, so maybe my game is off. Assuming that it could ever be described as "on.") But it's a terrifying thought that this defense has even the faintest chance of making it to trial.


  1. Well, it would seem that if a civilian killed a crazy person who was mowing people down with a machine gun, and in so doing saved many more lives, he (the civilian) would not be charged with murder. Also self-defense cases involve judgment of imminent harm as a mitigating factor.

    I assume you know I'm not saying that this guy should get off, just that we do indeed sometimes allow people to determine who constitutes sufficient threat to justify killing them.

  2. Actively mowing people down with a machine gun clearly constitutes a significant threat of real, material harm. Potential threat, on the other hand, is not considered sufficient cause to off someone. And that's without considering the abortion is/is not murder question.

  3. From my CCW file: You are not allowed to use deadly force unless someone is in immediate peril of severe bodily harm or death. The one exception to this rule is arson, in my State. You can use deadly force against an arsonist even if no life is in immediate danger. Some States, such as Texas, permit deadly force to protect property. Local laws vary, IANAL, YMMV, DSITYS.

    Threatening a crowd with a machine gun would constitute an immediate threat of severe bodily harm or death, and if I were armed, I'd start with the Mozambique drill without question.