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Archive for Saturday, February 2, 2008

Fetal homicide charge still possible in shooting

February 2, 2008

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— The shooting death of a pregnant woman last week in Lansing would be an ideal case on which to bring charges under the state's new fetal homicide law, said a state legislator who pushed to get "Alexa's Law" on the books in Kansas.

"That's exactly what this law is for," said Rep. Steven Brunk, R-Bel Aire.

Leavenworth County prosecutors have charged Sedale Fox, 23, Lansing, with first-degree murder in the Jan. 22 shooting death of Olivia Jackson. Authorities have said Fox was Jackson's boyfriend and the father of Jackson's unborn daughter.

But Leavenworth County Attorney Frank Kohl has not yet filed any charges in the death of Jackson's fetus.

"We haven't ruled anything in or anything out," Kohl said earlier this week.

Brunk speculated Kohl may be awaiting Jackson's autopsy to gather more evidence in the case before filing charges under Alexa's Law. Otherwise, Brunk said, "I just can't imagine why you wouldn't prosecute under this law."

Kathy Ostrowski, legislative and research director with Kansans for Life, said the newness of Alexa's Law may be holding up charges in the death of Jackson's unborn daughter.

"I think there's some confusion about the law," Ostrowski said.

The law allows prosecutors to bring murder, manslaughter or battery charges in cases where a fetus is intentionally harmed. Alexa's Law, named after the fetus of a 14-year-old murder victim, has been on the books only since July 1, 2007.

Under Alexa's Law, Ostrowski said, prosecutors don't have to consider age in weighing whether to file charges in the death of the fetus. The law spells out that it applies to fetuses "at any stage of gestation from fertilization to birth."

Both Ostrowski and Brunk said they believe this is the first case since Alexa's Law has been in effect in which it could be applied. The law, however, does not mandate that a prosecutor file charges in such cases.

"It's an option, not a mandate," Ostrowski said.

But to Brunk, it's an option Kohl should consider.

"It would give him two opportunities to get justice, not just one," Brunk said. "It doubles his chances by making these charges."

And, he noted, sentences become more severe upon conviction in a double-murder.

"If there are two murders, it just ratchets up the penalty," he said.

The 2007 Legislature approved Alexa's Law and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed the bill into law. Alexa's Law specifies its provisions do not apply to the mother of the unborn child or for any medical procedure, including abortion, performed by a physician or other licensed medical professional at the request of the pregnant woman or her legal guardian.

Comments

Ray Parker 6 years, 2 months ago

Reality_check: That was 35 years ago when scientists, philosophers, and judges, much more ignorant than today, could not agree on the beginning of human life. Today, science, medicine, and scripture, and even abortionists and radical feminists, all agree that unborn babies are living human beings. Federal judges that say babies are not "persons" and can be killed by mothers or anyone else on a whim are vicious and brutal.


"If I had been given any idea that the baby would be born alive after an abortion I would never have gone through with it. They coerced me. I have seen how society treats children with disabilities and it frightened me to bring another special needs child into the world, but somehow we would have coped with it." . . . a British mother, 44, who contracted the 21-week abortion death of her Down Syndrome daughter, who lived for 3 hours after the abortion . . . Britain's National Health Service botched 66 taxpayer-funded abortions in one year. Half of the babies lived for an hour, some longer, one lived 10 hours. In these live-birth abortions, the newborns are given no medical treatment, because the mothers and quacks have decided that they should die, sometimes because of correctable conditions such as cleft palate and club feet. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommends lethal injections for newborns who commit the distressing crime of surviving abortion and breathing. (Babies obtain oxygen through the umbilical cord before birth, you know.) Meanwhile, back in the USofA, Hog Futures Hillary will not rule out wage garnishing to force every wage-earner into her universal socialized health care plan, which might include abortions funded by garnished wages, and threatens to appoint federal judges to strike down federal and state bans on live-birth abortions and partial-birth abortions. Some say we must vote for maverick McCain because he would be better than Hog Futures Hillary. That is true, but so would Ronald McDonald be a better President.

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DirtyLinen 6 years, 2 months ago

Reality_Check (Anonymous) says:

"Let's face it, laws treating a fetus as a full living person:so that murderer of the mother can be charged with two counts:are nothing more than an attempt at doing an end-run to eventually outlaw abortion."

Well, maybe if this wasn't part of the bill:

From the text of HB 2062: "(c) This section shall not apply to: (1) Any act committed by the mother of the unborn child; (2) any medical procedure, including abortion, performed by a physician or other licensed medical professional at the request of the pregnant woman or her legal guardian; or (3) the lawful dispensation or administration of lawfully prescribed medication."

"Logically, if someone ELSE who takes a fetus's life is charged with murder, then the mother of any voluntarily terminated fetus and the doctor must also be charged."

First, see the statement above. Second, death in all it's myriad forms is sometimes allowed and sometimes disallowed according to specific statute; e.g., a man who rapes and murders a five year old girl can be convicted of a crime, but the executioner who administers his lethal injection can not. In addition, I believe it is not mandatory, but optional for the prosecutor to file charges in fetal murders.

"What the writers of this law act like is that everyone agrees that any fetus is a living person. But we DON'T all agree that way."

Apparently the mother-to-be in this case did. And isn't she the only one who's supposed to be able to make that choice, according to the pro-choice contingent? Funny how the pro-choice people always object to being labeled "pro-abortion" (let alone "pro-death"). You argue a woman should have the choice to terminate a pregnancy ... what about the choice not to? In this case the choice had been made ... and she chose not to. That choice was taken away from her.

All of which is academic. Ms. Jackson was almost 8 months pregnant, making the unborn baby well beyond the threshold of viability.

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ilikestuff 6 years, 2 months ago

Here are some examples of viable children: fetuses said to be only parts of their mothers who lived and grew into individual happy healthy people without their mothers:

Marcus Richardson - 19 weeks, 6 days - 780 gm - Jan. '72 - (University Hosp., Cincinnati) Melissa Cameron - 20 weeks - 450 gm - Dec. '83 - (Sault Ste. Marie Hosp., Cincinnati Enquirer) Kenya King - 21 weeks - 510 gm - June '85 - (Med. World News, Nov. 11, 1985, p. 119) Suzanne South - 21 weeks, 2 days - 644 gm - July '71 -(Bethesda Hosp., Cincinnati) Kelly Thorman - 21 weeks - 596 gm - March '71 - (St. Vincent Hosp., Toledo) Melissa Murray - 22 weeks - 510 gm - June '83 - (Victoria, Texas - Houston Post) Tracy LaBranch - 22 weeks, 1 day - 538 gm - March '72 - (Battle Creek Enquirer) Ernestine Hudgins - 22 weeks - 484 gm - Feb. '83 - (San Diego, Washington Post) Mimi Faulkner - 23 weeks - 484 gm - Nov. '78 - (San Diego, Boston Herald) Tascha Hudson - 23 weeks - 580 gm - March '74 - (Brooke Army Hosp.) Simmonne Jayette - 23 weeks - 595 gm - April '78 - (Montreal Jewish General Hospital) Alicia Ponce - 24 weeks - 644 gm - April '74 - (Associated Press)

             - http://www.abortioninfo.net/facts/development4.shtml
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MaryKatesPillStash 6 years, 2 months ago

Reality_Check, I agree with your recommendation, but not your logic. If someone were to shoot a person who was on life support, it would still be murder, even if the person had no chance at surviving once the plugs were pulled from the outlets.

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Marion Lynn 6 years, 2 months ago

Reality_Check (Anonymous) wrote:

"I say a fetus which isn't viable outside the womb is no more a person than a spleen or gall bladder:it's just a part of the mother, like an organ."

Marion writes:

What if it had been you or rather, your "inviable"(sic) fetus which had been terminated?

What would you think of THAT?

You would have merely been a "potential person"; not counting for much, by your own writing.(!)

However....................................since you are fond of stressing the viability of a fetus, tell us your thoughts on the murder of a VIABLE fetus; otherwise known as a baby!

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oldvet 6 years, 2 months ago

"I say a fetus which isn't viable outside the womb is no more a person than a spleen or gall bladder:"

which must make Tiller's late-term actions murder...

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Reality_Check 6 years, 2 months ago

"The law spells out that it applies to fetuses "at any stage of gestation from fertilization to birth."

Let's face it, laws treating a fetus as a full living person...so that murderer of the mother can be charged with two counts...are nothing more than an attempt at doing an end-run to eventually outlaw abortion. Logically, if someone ELSE who takes a fetus's life is charged with murder, then the mother of any voluntarily terminated fetus and the doctor must also be charged. And we all know that's what the Religious Rong wants. Anyone with half a brain can see through that scam.

What the writers of this law act like is that everyone agrees that any fetus is a living person. But we DON'T all agree that way. Scientists, philosophers, and the US Supreme Court could not agree that a fetus is a human, so it's wrong to act like there is consensus on the issue. When life begins is a philosophical and/or religious belief, not a scientific one. Therefore, the anti-abortion minority (or the govt.) doesn't have the right to tell the rest of us when life begins any more than they/it has the right to tell us whether to believe in heaven or hell.

I say a fetus which isn't viable outside the womb is no more a person than a spleen or gall bladder...it's just a part of the mother, like an organ. So, under the logic of this law, every murderer of a single individual should be charged with a separate count for each of the victim's organs.

"Oh, but a fetus is a POTENTIAL person, and an organ is not" say the illogical.

To which I answer, "Then the charge should be "involuntary termination of a fetus" or "terminating a POTENTIAL person" because murder laws cover the killing of PEOPLE, not POTENTIAL people. You can't kill something if it's not alive, and an inviable fetus won't survive if taken out of the mother, so it is no more alive than a gall bladder...a gall bladder won't survive if removed from its host, either.

Logically, if you DO believe the idea that terminating a potential person is the same as killing a living person, then you need to also believe that terminating a single sperm or ovum is the equivalent, because each sperm and ovum is a potential person. Right? Of course.

Of course, we all know that the above contains way, way too much logic for religious people to handle. Logic and religion don't work well together.

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Barclay 6 years, 2 months ago

Indeed a mother and a little girl were murdered. Book 'em for two Dano! A tragedy like this is exactly what this law was intended to cover.

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