PA to Seek Death Penalty Against Abortion Doctor

Prosecutors in Philadelphia announced today they will seek the death penalty against abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. They asked for an extension of time to decide whether they will also seek the death penalty against his co-defendants.

We are seeking the death penalty” against Gosnell because of two “aggravating factors” — he’s accused of multiple murders and his alleged victims are younger than age 12, Pescatore said.

His lawyer, Jack McMahon, says:

“He’s a 70-year-old man with no previous record. And Pennsylvania hasn’t carried out an execution in years (since 1999). The reality is there will be no death penalty for Mr. Gosnell, so why clog up the court system with a death penalty case that is death penalty in name only?” McMahon said.

The facts of the case, which I reported on at length here, are gruesome. But the death penalty is overkill. And to use it as a bargaining chip against the co-defendants is particularly odious: [More..]

“They [the co-defendants]might want to tell us more things before (the new deadline),” Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said.

Since Dr. Gosnell is 70 years old, if convicted, he would likely get a sentence that amounts to life in prison. That is, for all practical effect, a death sentence: the only way he comes out is in a pine box. If sentenced to death, his appeals would take years, and likely outlive him. Insisting that he be executed is a waste of the state's judicial and financial resources.

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    Jesus (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:01:14 PM EST
    Our society and culture has demonized abortion rights until we have an environment that someone like this can actually operate in, and other doctors refered people to him when they would not preform the abortion too.  Really, if there wasn't a need for this guy how could he have maintained that place like he did for as long as he did?

    He makes my stomach roll too but seriously, we have victimized woman to the point that there is an opening for someone like this created, and he operated within the oversight and restraints that existed.....none really.  Human beings were killed and now society is demoralized to the point it must kill him now?

    I wish I could put how I feel into better words right now, perhaps later.  It is a river of death and victimization though that is based on everyone victimizing women and their rights first!  Killing this man will not make me feel one wit better about the desperation that drove the women to his door and his very special brand of care and bedside manner.

    This guy (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 06:52:27 PM EST
    is an amoral jerk and should have been closed down long ago, and he was indeed victimizing desperate women.  But if you think this is bad- make abortions illegal (or even virtually impossible to get) again and we'll go back to the days of back-alley abortions and coat hangers.  I'm old enough to remember the pre-Roe v. Wade times, and it wasn't pretty.

    This is not about abortion rights so much (none / 0) (#3)
    by scribe on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:31:54 PM EST
    as it is about black and white and poor and rich.

    The defendant doctor was catering to a clientele that was black, poor or both.  In Philadelphia, being black or poor automatically qualifies one to being feedstock for the criminal justice system.  This defendant goes one further and gives the prosecution the opportunity to make their bones by getting a capital conviction on their resume.


    I thought he was black though (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:16:11 PM EST
    White women (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:19:32 PM EST
    who could and would complain were treated differently and labored in his private office and were never left to "precipitate".  Minority women were treated much differently, left in the recliners zoned literally out of their own bodies until they "precipitated", and after they went home and recovered somewhat I bet they were grateful.  He was all they had.  He was also all that overly pregnant white women or white teenagers without parental consent had too.

    waste of resources? (none / 0) (#6)
    by diogenes on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 06:39:54 PM EST
    "...And to use it as a bargaining chip against the co-defendants is particularly odious..."

    How is it a waste of resources if this bargaining chip inspires the good doctor to accept a plea bargain rather than take the case to trial?

    How does that go? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Kimberley on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 01:01:18 AM EST
    Tough cases make bad law?

    Seeking the death penalty seems as much about current politics as it does about the state sufficiently prosecuting crime. Maybe they're hoping this case can be parlayed into a bad but politically useful precedent?