Judge drops 3 of the 8 murder charges against Gosnell

From NBC Philadelphia:

It took the prosecution five weeks to present their case against West Philly abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell and it took defense attorney Jack McMahon a couple of hours to knock a big hole through a critical part of their argument.

Three first-degree murder charges were dropped against Gosnell after McMahon argued that “there is not one piece…of objective, scientific evidence that anyone was born alive” at Gosnell’s clinic.

Prosecutors have argued that the babies were viable and that Gosnell and his staff cut them in the back of the neck to kill them.

Gosnell was orginally charged with eight counts of murder. Seven first-degree murder charges are for accusations that he killed seven newborns. The third-degree murder charge is for the 2009 death of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old Bhutanese refugee prosecutors say received lethal doses of sedatives and painkillers at the clinic while awaiting an abortion.

He also is charged with violating Pennsylvania abortion law by performing abortions after 24 weeks, operating a corrupt organization and other crimes.was originally charged with seven counts of first degree murder

Gosnell, 72, still faces five remaining murder charges and the possibility of the death penalty if convicted of any of the first-degree cases.

NBC News reports on why the charges were dropped:

At the urging of the defense, a Philadelphia judge dropped nine charges, including some of the most serious, against an abortion doctor on trial for murder.

The charges — including three counts of first-degree murder, five counts of abuse of a corpse and one count of infanticide — were dropped Tuesday as Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s defense attorney Jack McMahon began to make his case.

Judge Jeffery Rinehart ruled the judgment of acquittal on those counts — meaning that he felt there wasn’t enough evidence to bring those to a jury.

Read the rest here. World magazine is also reporting here.

8 Responses to Judge drops 3 of the 8 murder charges against Gosnell

  1. Jason McGrath April 23, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    Hard evidence is hard to find when those providing oversight don’t seem interested in pursuing it in the first place.

  2. Debbie Mosley April 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    How can these people be so ignorant of the truth. The witnesses said they were alive. Why say there’s no evidence?

  3. Ian Shaw April 23, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Amen to that Jason. “Three first-degree murder charges were dropped against Gosnell after McMahon argued that “there is not one piece…of objective, scientific evidence that anyone was born alive” at Gosnell’s clinic.”

    Weren’t there witnesses to this? That’s how the Grand Jury report was put together in the first place, right?

    I may not have a doctorate in jurisprudence, and maybe only took a few government classes in high school and business law during my undergrad, but if a grand jury believes there is enough evidence to proceed to trial, how can the judge dismiss their report of evidence of wrongdoing? Did the judge even read the GJ report? I did. I barely made it thru without losing my lunch. This is repugnant. On the other hand, can I really be mad for pagans being pagans?

    This judge should recuse himself immediately. In the words of Reggie Dunlop from ‘Slapshot’, “this guy’s a disgrace”.

  4. Bridget Platt April 24, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    “Gosnell, 72, still faces five remaining murder charges and the possibility of the death penalty if convicted of any of the first-degree cases.”

    Partially correct. Gosnell, 72, still faces murder charges, at some future time, by the Creator and Judge of the universe, who witnessed each and every single act of heartless murder Gosnell committed, against helpless, innocent, defenseless babies. I pray he sees the absolute horror of what he has done and repents and trusts in the only One who can delver him.

  5. buddyglass April 24, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    I’m not a lawyer, but I gather there are evidence rules that delineate when judges can dismiss charges (albeit granting a wide degree of latitude). If this particular judge violated those rules (and the prosecution is competent) then I would expect them to angle for a mistrial. What I would not do is immediately assume that the judge’s actions are ideologically motivated and that he has violated standard legal procedure.

  6. Ian Shaw April 24, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    That would be a 50/50 split assumption for me buddyglass. It’s not like judges have ever used their own ideological tendencies to derail prosecutions/cases.

    • buddyglass April 25, 2013 at 11:31 am #

      True. But most pro-life folks watching the case (who are not, by and large, attorneys) seem to think its “obvious” those three charges should not have been thrown out and the judge is obviously ideologically motivated and violating standard legal procedure.

      While that may be the case, I don’t think it’s a given.

  7. Ian Shaw April 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    I agree with you. I just find it strange that from what I reasoned from the GJ report, there were witnesses to most if not all of the murders that Gosnell committed. Without witnesses, court cases would either never seek justice or be nothing but witchhunts. IMHO, the GJ report was concise enough to hold all charges against this person.

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