20

Abortion, Censorship and Donald Trump

 

 

As faithful readers of this blog know, I long opposed the election of Donald Trump last year.  I viewed him as unfit to be President, I doubted his conversion to the pro-life cause and I knew that he wasn’t a conservative in the mode of Reagan.  I came around, reluctantly, after he signed a pledge letter to the pro-life cause.  Since his election I occasionally wonder if I made the right decision, and then something like what is documented below happens, and I am very happy with my decision:

 

YouTube removed a video showing top Planned Parenthood officials making gruesome comments about abortion on the order of a federal judge in California.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick, who granted the preliminary injunction in favor of the National Abortion Federation to halt the release of the videos, ordered any links to the video to be removed after it was published by the Center for Medical Progress on Thursday.

Judge Orrick also ordered CMP lead investigator David Daleiden and his attorneys to appear in court June 14, The Associated Press reported, for a hearing where he will consider holding them in contempt for releasing the footage.

Mr. Daleiden has been charged with 15 felonies in California stemming from his undercover investigation into the abortion giant. His attorneys have called it a “witch hunt” that flies in the face of the First Amendment.

YouTube has not responded to a request for comment.

The three-minute video showed top Planned Parenthood executives joking about severed fetus heads, admitting to altering abortion procedures to preserve fetal organs and conceding that clinics have a financial incentive to sell the human remains from abortions.

Lisa Harris, medical director at Planned Parenthood of Michigan, laments that abortionists cannot easily confide in others about their workplace difficulties, such as removing the severed heads of fetuses from women undergoing abortions.

“Our stories don’t really have a place in a lot of pro-choice discourse and rhetoric, right? The heads that get stuck that we can’t get out,” Ms. Harris says in the video, drawing laughs from an audience.

She also says pro-choice advocates should concede that the practice is murder.

“Let’s just give them all the violence,” she says. “It’s a person. It’s killing. Let’s just give them all that.”

The video features footage recorded at an annual National Abortion Federation meeting by the undercover pro-life journalists. The Center for Medical Progress says it’s just a preview of never-before-seen content that has been caught up in a legal fight for nearly two years.

In the video, Ann Schutt-Aine, director of abortion services at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, admits to using forceps to hold a fetus in place and circumvent a partial-birth abortion.

“If I’m doing a procedure, and I’m seeing that I’m in fear that it’s about to come to the umbilicus, I might ask for a second set of forceps to hold the body at the cervix, and pull off a leg or two, so it’s not [partial-birth abortion],” she says.

President Trump was ridiculed during the campaign for suggesting abortions happen in the U.S. up to the moment of birth.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said the video proves him right. Continue Reading

13

Life in Blue State America

I recall a movie that I watched back in the Seventies in which the late, great Art Carney was confronting a cop seeking to gain admission to his house without a search warrant.  When the cop told him that Carney had to let him in, Carney responded, “Not unless I made a mistake last night and woke up in Russia instead of America!”

That scene came to mind when I read this:

Harris has been investigating Daleiden for months, after his video exposé of Planned Parenthood’s alleged baby-parts scheme. His videos allegedly showed Planned Parenthood personnel actively negotiating the sale of the livers, lungs, hearts and other organs of aborted unborn children.

Daleiden released the following statement this afternoon:

Today, the California Attorney General’s office of Kamala Harris, who was elected with tens of thousands of dollars from taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood, seized all video footage showing Planned Parenthood’s criminal trade in aborted baby parts, in addition to my personal information. Ironically, while seizing my First Amendment work product, they ignored documents showing the illicit scheme between StemExpress and Planned Parenthood. This is no surprise–Planned Parenthood’s bought-and-paid-for AG has steadfastly refused to enforce the law against the baby body parts traffickers in our state, or even investigate them–while at the same time doing their bidding to harass and intimidate citizen journalists. We will pursue all remedies to vindicate our First Amendment rights.

Matt Heffron, a former federal prosecutor from Arizona and currently a legal adviser to Daleiden, said, “To storm into a private citizen’s home with a search warrant is outrageously out of proportion for the type of crime alleged.  It’s a discredit to law enforcement, an oppressive abuse of government power.” Continue Reading

5

Bear Growls: Junk Charges

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear brings us this news on the latest twist in the Harris County indictments of the two pro-life undercover investigators:

 

 

As predicted by the Bear, prosecutors in Texas have offered undercover videographer Sandra Merritt pre-trial diversion that could make the charge go away entirely if she behaves herself.

Two things surprise the Bear, though. First, one might say the mountain labored and brought forth a mouse. No time behind bars? Not even a conviction? Remember, this a supposedly a 20 years in prison case. They must really not want to get this anywhere near trial. Second, it is extremely unusual to present a felony defendant with a plea bargain the first time the defendant is in court! The defense has not had time to review discovery, subpoena materials (maybe), and assess the evidence.

On second thought, maybe not so strange after all.

It sounds like an offer she can’t refuse. Once you go to trial, anything can happen. The Bear was always very conservative. It appears the State of Texas has accomplished whatever it wanted to accomplish and is ready to wash its hands of the sorry mess.

David Daleiden is set to turn himself in Thursday. We’ll see if he gets the same offer. It would be unusual to treat two co-defendants who are similarly situated differently. Continue Reading

15

Ludicrous Charges

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The indictments of the Harris County Grand Jury in Texas against David R. Daleiden and Sandra S. Merritt are the worst misuse of the power of prosecution that I have witnessed in 33 years of practicing law:

Prosecutors in Harris County said one of the leaders of the Center for Medical Progress — an anti-abortion group that made secretly recorded videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to illegally profit from the sale of fetal tissue — had been indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record, a felony, and on a misdemeanor charge related to purchasing human organs.

That leader, David R. Daleiden, 27, the director of the center, had posed as a biotechnology representative to infiltrate Planned Parenthood affiliates and surreptitiously record his efforts to procure tissue for research. Another center employee, Sandra S. Merritt, 62, was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record.

The record-tampering charges accused Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt of making and presenting fake California driver’s licenses, with the intent to defraud, for their April meeting at Planned Parenthood in Houston.

Go here to read the rest.

Let us count the ways a first year law student should be able to get this trash dismissed:

1. Lack of scienter-Daleiden and Merritt were attempting to expose Planned Parenthood’s sale of fetal tissue.  They had no intent to actually purchase such tissue.

2. No sale-The grand Jury simultaneously found that Planned Parenthood was not attempting to sell fetal tissue.  They then found that Daleiden and Merritt were purchasing tissue from a vendor who was not selling tissue.  That makes no logical sense, let alone a coherent legal charge.

3.  Freedom of the press-All of the activities of Daleiden and Merritt were undertaken under the cover of the First Amendment freedom of the press.  Such sting operations are part and parcel of the normal functioning of the media in this country and an attempt to criminalize such activity raises grave constitutional questions.

4.  No intent to defraud-The California driver’s license charge indicates how the prosecutor involved was reaching to get a felony indictment, purchasing or selling fetal tissue sadly being only a misdemeanor.  This is the type of charge that only a prosecutor desperate to find anything to nail a target of an investigation on would bring.  The charge is complete rubbish since there was no intent to defraud Planned Parenthood of anything, but rather an intent to expose wrongdoing. Continue Reading

5

Grand Jury Mystery

 

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For my sins, no doubt, I have been an attorney now for more than a third of a century.  One of the many lessons that I have learned over this great span of time, is that grand juries are the tools of prosecutors, and that other than declining to indict an occasional prospective defendant, grand juries normally proceed along the paths that the directing prosecutors wish.  What then to make of this?

A Harris County grand jury has indicted the Center for Medical Progress — specifically, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt – while declining to indict Planned Parenthood. This comes after the Center for Medical Progress released an investigation last year into the sales of aborted baby organs at Planned Parenthood:

Secret videographers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were both indicted on charges of tampering with a governmental record, a second-degree felony that carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison. Daleiden received an additional misdemeanor indictment under the law prohibiting the purchase and sale of human organs.

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson announced the surprising indictments Monday after a two-month investigation.

“We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,” said Anderson, a Republican. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”

A grand jury is formed of ordinary citizens that are presented  evidence and testimony from the prosecutor alone to form their theory of a case without any input from the defense.

From that information, the jury determines if there is enough probable cause to move the case forward in the judicial process.  The grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence. The indictment itself is a public document but it has not been made available online at the time of publication.

Absolutely no information has been released regarding what government records Daleiden and Merritt allegedly tampered with. The Center for Medical Progress responded, pointing out their free speech rights, as well as reminding all of us that Planned Parenthood was breaking the law by selling the body parts of aborted babies:

A Harris County grand jury has indicted the Center for Medical Progress — specifically, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt – while declining to indict Planned Parenthood. This comes after the Center for Medical Progress released an investigation last year into the sales of aborted baby organs at Planned Parenthood:

Secret videographers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were both indicted on charges of tampering with a governmental record, a second-degree felony that carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison. Daleiden received an additional misdemeanor indictment under the law prohibiting the purchase and sale of human organs.

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson announced the surprising indictments Monday after a two-month investigation.

“We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,” said Anderson, a Republican. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”

A grand jury is formed of ordinary citizens that are presented  evidence and testimony from the prosecutor alone to form their theory of a case without any input from the defense.

From that information, the jury determines if there is enough probable cause to move the case forward in the judicial process.  The grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence. The indictment itself is a public document but it has not been made available online at the time of publication.

Absolutely no information has been released regarding what government records Daleiden and Merritt allegedly tampered with. The Center for Medical Progress responded, pointing out their free speech rights, as well as reminding all of us that Planned Parenthood was breaking the law by selling the body parts of aborted babies: Continue Reading