Federal investigators have announced that they are looking into filing federal charges against Scott Roeder, the man who was recently convicted in Kansas for the murder of Dr. George Tiller.
Roeder, who was found guilty of first degree murder after less than one hour of jury deliberation, may also possibly be charged via the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, a law created to stop abortion clinic violence. Additional charges could bring about an even longer sentence for Roeder, who will learn how much prison time he will serve this March.
There may be multiple reasons to invoke the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, the Wichita Eagle reports:
Why push for federal charges when prosecutors already are assured of a long sentence?
"Additional penalties that can be assessed," said Richard Levy, a University of Kansas law professor who followed Roeder’s trial. "That way, they could avoid any chance of him ever being paroled.
"Another reason for a federal prosecution is that if there might be others involved, a federal case might provide a vehicle for getting that information, whereas the state may not have an interest or the wherewithal to investigate a conspiracy that involves people in several states."
Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, said federal charges also "really do help prevent other violent activity. It serves as a deterrent for those who might want to follow in their footsteps."
Prosecutors in the Kansas murder are pushing for a life sentence, with no possible parole for 50 years. Federal charges could change that to life in prison with no chance for parole.