Gosnell spared death penalty after waiving appeal

posted at 5:21 pm on May 14, 2013 by Allahpundit

Was this a quid pro quo? I’m surprised that the court would allow a prosecutor to hold a death sentence over a defendant’s head to pressure him into giving up his right to appeal.

Maybe it wasn’t:

Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted Monday of first-degree murder in the deaths of the babies who were delivered alive and killed with scissors. The 72-year-old Gosnell gave up his appeal rights Tuesday, and prosecutors agreed to two life sentences without parole.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty because Gosnell killed more than one person, and his victims were especially vulnerable given their age. But Gosnell’s advanced age had made it unlikely he would ever be executed before his appeals ran out.

Gosnell is to be sentenced Wednesday in the death of the third baby, an involuntary manslaughter conviction in the death of a patient and hundreds of lesser counts.

Why would he give up his right to appeal, though? By all accounts that I read yesterday, he was stunned and angry at the verdict. There must be no shortage of abortion-warrior lawyers willing to defend him pro bono at this point if it’s a simple matter of expense (which it probably isn’t, given the fortune Gosnell made from spine-cutting). His worst-case scenario is that all of his appeals fail but he keeps his name in the news and remains a cause celebre for the hardest of hardcore pro-abortion nuts. His best-case scenario is that the appellate court decides there was insufficient evidence to convict after all and throws out the murder charges. He’s got nothing to lose either way. So why give up?

I’m skeptical that he would have gotten death even if the prosecution had pushed for it. He deserves it, but my hunch is that the jury might have considered the fact that his victims just missed being killed in a fully legal way and therefore maybe Gosnell shouldn’t be slapped with the most severe possible sentence. (If you find that logic perverse, welcome to America in the age of late-term abortion.) They might also have spared him simply for the symbolism of it, granting life to a guilty man who never showed such mercy towards the innocents he effectively decapitated. Most of his jurors claimed to be pro-choice on the subject of abortion too; if that’s a hint that they’re generally liberal politically, then capital punishment might have been an especially tough haul for the D.A.

Two clips for you here. One, via the Standard, is of Harry Reid, who once pretended to be pro-life and who now seems to think that the solution to the Gosnell problem is cleaner clinics so that babies can be poisoned in the womb safely rather than attacked with a knife on some grimy delivery table. Two, via Life Site News, is of … well, just watch. Obviously I can’t vouch for its credibility; the doctor isn’t even named, but if the allegations made here are true, he will be eventually. And he’ll be just as infamous, if not more so, as Gosnell. Exit quotation: “Most of the time the fetus [sic] would come all the way out before he either cut the spinal cord or introduced one of the instruments into the soft-spot of the fetus in order to kill the fetus. Either that or twisting the head off the neck with his own bare hands.”



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