Gosnell judge restores one of the charges he threw out
More strange news from the trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, courtesy of LifeNews:
Common pleas court Judge Jeffrey Minehart admitted he “erred” when dropping the murder charge for Baby C, who was killed in an abortion-infanticide when he was a victim of an attempted abortion but was born alive and tossed in a shoe box, with Gosnell staffers confirming they saw him breathing for 20 minutes.
Gosnell faces eight total murder counts — one for killing a woman in a botched abortion and seven for killing babies in abortion-infanticides that involved live-birth abortions and snipping their necks after birth. The judge received heavy criticism yesterday for dropping three of the murder charges.
A number of commentators noted that Judge Minehart’s dismissal of three charges was unusual. How much more unusual is re-instating such a charge after dropping it?
The judge did not provide much in the way of explanation when he dismissed those three charges, but it was widely speculated that defense arguments about the “born alive” status of the babies influenced him. As LifeNews notes, testimony from witnesses in the case was not ambiguous on the status of “Baby C,” as more than one staffer testified that the child was alive outside the womb for a considerable period of time. One staffer has testified that she saw at least ten babies breathing outside the womb before Gosnell or his assistants cut their spinal cords.
The balance of charges against Gosnell would appear to remain unchanged, because the LifeNews report also says that “during this morning’s trial hearing, Judge Minehart also dismissed murder charges regarding Baby F, who was seen by Gosnell staffers making a single leg movement after birth and before Gosnell employees snipped the infant’s neck.” Based on a few other early accounts of the trial hearing, it seems as if the judge might have intended to dismiss the Baby F charge all along, and mistakenly threw out the Baby C murder charge instead.
It’s too bad so much of the media has checked back out of the Gosnell courtroom, after having briefly been shamed into paying attention earlier this month. They’re missing a very unusual trial.
Update: A follow-up from LifeNews about the “Baby F” charges that were dropped today, even as the Baby C charge was reinstated:
In the grand jury report, Gosnell abortion clinic worker Steven Massoff, an unlicensed medical school graduate, testified that he assisted Gosnell with the abortion of Baby F when he saw the baby’s leg “jerk and move.” The report estimates the age of Baby F to have been between 25 and 27 weeks.
A theory is offered about the judge’s reasons for dropping some of the charges recommended by the grand jury:
The grand jury report sheds some light on how the prosecution was not able to obtain enough evidence for a conviction, in part because Gosnell and his abortion clinic staffers destroyed it.
“We believe, given the manner in which Gosnell operated, that he killed the vast majority of babies that he aborted after 24 weeks,” the report says. “We cannot, however, recommend murder charges for all of these cases. In order to constitute murder, the act must involve a baby who was born alive. Because files were falsified or removed from the facility and possibly destroyed, we cannot substantiate all of the individual cases in which charges might otherwise have resulted.”
Apparently congratulations are due to the defendant for doing a good job of covering his tracks. Too bad the gigantic mega-government that pours so much money into “women’s health” couldn’t spare anyone to check up on Gosnell’s chamber of horrors, and protect the integrity of these vital records.
Update: Another curious development… Gosnell did not testify at his own trial. In fact, the defense has decided to rest without calling any witnesses at all.