Gosnell Agrees To Waive Appeal To Avoid Death Penalty

130422-kermit-gosnell-mug-1030a.photoblog600Convicted Philadelphia abortion doctor has reached an agreement with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty: he has waived his right to appeal in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. I have no problem with the conviction of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, who performed late abortions in violation of state law under the most gruesome and horrific conditions. However, the use of the threat of the death penalty to waive appeal is a serious concern for civil libertarians.

Gosnell was convicted Monday of first-degree murder after a jury found that he routinely performed illegal abortions past Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit. The testimony in the trial was deeply disturbing with witnesses recounting how Gosnell would “snip” the spines of babies who were seen moving, whimpering or breathing. In one case, Gosnell joked that the baby was so big he could walk to the bus on his own legs.

The case has filled many with disgust and rage. However, the agreement is a serious concern if prosecutors can negate the appellate process and review by threatening to seek the death penalty. Such a waiver can also occur in exchange for a reduction in recommended years of incarceration. There is already tremendous pressure on defendants to plead guilty in our system. Prosecutors now routinely stack counts to allow obscenely long sentences to force such plea bargains. Now, this technique could also be used to cut off any appeal.

Do you feel such waivers should be allowed by the courts?

Source: SF Gate

27 thoughts on “Gosnell Agrees To Waive Appeal To Avoid Death Penalty”

  1. P. Smith –

    Of course not all doctors are like Gosnell, and I don’t see anyone of clear mind implying that the errant physician population is larger than a small minority.

    What is true is that U.S. healthcare has a nasty 2% lunatic fringe that it continues to pretend isn’t significant enough to matter. Otherwise ethical practitioners could help weed them out, but don’t.

    You may recall the case of the pediatrician Earl Bradley two years ago – convicted of dozens of sexual assaults on children for years. One of the most horrifying aspects of that case is the stunning number of other kid docs in New England who were well aware something was seriously wrong with the guy, but did – and said – nothing.

    Pertinent to this thread is that Bradley didn’t kill kids, he just raped them and filmed it. So in Delaware, he never faced the death penalty.

  2. “However, the agreement is a serious concern if prosecutors can negate the appellate process and review by threatening to seek the death penalty.”

    This shouldn’t even be a discussion. Civilized countries do not have the “death penalty”. Corollary: Countries which have the “death penalty” are not civilized.

    “The case has filled many with disgust and rage.”

    What disgusts me is how the rightwingnuts, teabaggers, anti-abortion terrorists, pro-rape republicans, MRAs, women haters and other assorted and sordid idiots are using this case to falsely infer that all doctors are like this, that all abortion providers and clinics are houses of horror. I’ve seen slime infer that George Tiller’s clinic was the same, that his murder was somehow “justified”.

  3. I do not understand why there is even a question: OF COURSE it is per se unconstitutional to require the forfeiture of one constitutional right to protect another. Think about this vector a few years out: Everyone facing an unfair trial before a corrupt court could be threatened with the death penalty in order to prevent appeals! OMG how can this even be a question in the mind of any scholar who’s lived in the real world for more than a minute? 🙄

  4. We are not talking a general appeal of the conviction…. But giving up other rights….that are basically coercive in nature…..

  5. these are always the challenge for people with principles who want to be ruled by logic and fair laws. How do you react when a really bad person wants to take advantage of that decency to avoid a worse fate.

    The guy deserves the death penalty (I am strongly opposed to the death penalty and will be until it can be proven beyond any doubt that no innocent person is executed) but the way he avoids it offends because the same coercion could force an innocent person to take a bad deal.

    There are no easy answers.

  6. Woof Woof, BrkinDog person. The SYSTEM kills people who kill people, to show people that killing people is wrong.

    Right on, and Right not.

  7. Of the comments above no one has mentioned the violation of the Sixth Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Kill. The defendant has killed and now some in government want to kill him for killing others. Maybe no one here on the blog believes in God or the Ten Commandments.

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