A Colorado judge ruled Thursday that Robert Lewis Dear Jr., the man who has admitted to killing three people during a siege of a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, is still not legally competent to stand trial. Dear faces 179 criminal counts, including murder and attempted murder, for the November 27, 2015 attack.
This was the second time Judge Gilbert Martinez has made such a determination. In May, Martinez made the ruling following two days of hearings where forensic pathologists told the court that Dear’s extreme political beliefs amounted to a delusional disorder sufficient to render Dear incompetent for trial.
Dear had previously told law enforcement officers and state mental health evaluators that he believed the federal government was persecuting Christians.
During Dear’s May competency hearing, Dear argued his attorneys were seeking a ruling of legal incompetence over his objections. Dear said during that hearing that he instead wanted to put forward a defense during trial that his actions were legally justified to prevent the greater evil of Planned Parenthood “selling baby parts,” a claim based off a series of discredited videos that claimed the reproductive health-care provider was illegally profiting from fetal tissue donations.
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Dear’s proposed “justified homicide” defense is the same on that Scott Roeder, the man who murdered Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in 2009, tried to raise during his trial. Operation Rescue President Troy Newman had also advocated for the murder of abortion providers under the theory that killing abortion providers prevents the so-called greater harm of those providers performing legal abortions. He has since walked back those statements. Newman is an advisor to David Daleiden, the anti-choice activist behind the videos Dear referenced to law enforcement.
Dear’s Colorado siege was not his first alleged anti-choice action. Court records show Dear had superglued locks at an abortion clinic in South Carolina and deeply admired Paul Hill, a former minister who was executed in 2003 for the 1994 murders of Florida abortion provider Dr. John Britton and Britton’s bodyguard.
As a result of Thursday’s ruling Dear will remain in a Colorado state mental health facility until his next evaluation by the court, which will take place in November.
Robert Lewis Dear Jr. faces more than 100 criminal charges related to the November siege of a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, which left three dead. Now his attorneys are asking the court to ban Dear from contacting the media.
Welcome to Gavel Drop, our roundup of legal news, headlines, and head-shaking moments in the courts.
Attorneys for the admitted Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Lewis Dear Jr. have asked the court to order their client to stop talking to the media. Dear, who was arrested after a November rampage left three dead, is awaiting another court-ordered competency hearing to determine if and when he will stand trial for the 179 counts he faces. That hearing is currently scheduled for August 11.
The State of Texas has launched more than 40 lawsuits against the Obama administration. Here’s how they all stack up in terms of cost and success.
Nope. The birth control benefit lawsuits are never going to end.
Michael Hiltzik of the Los AngelesTimeswrites that Republican Missouri state Rep. Paul Wieland’s lawsuit challenging the birth control benefit is more about family control than strictly religious beliefs.
Wisconsin is the latest state to see provisions of its voter ID law fall.
Meanwhile, attorneys for the State of Virginia say they will appeal a ruling blocking an order restoring voting rights to thousands of people convicted of felonies.
Attorneys for the State of Kentucky really want to close down a Louisville Planned Parenthood, despite no evidence of wrongdoing at the reproductive health-care center.
In Ohio, the state appellate court ruled that regulations mandating abortion clinics to enter into transfer agreements with hospitals within 30 miles are unconstitutional.
Cornell Law School Professor Sherry F. Colb explains why “Mike Pence’s abortion law” in Indiana—which, among other restrictions, prohibits pregnancy terminations based upon the fetus’ Down syndrome status—is a violation of women’s bodily integrity.