This is a head scratcher. If ever someone deserved the death penalty, it’s Gosnell. But for whatever reason, the DA decided to take it off the table in return for Gosnell giving up his right to appeal. This is tough to make sense of since Gosnell’s chances on appeal were, at best, remote. Is there something we don’t know? Philadelphia is an exceptionally liberal town. Was the DA worried the jury wouldn’t go for the death penalty? Still, why not let the jury have their say? In any event, what’s done is done:
PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia abortion doctor convicted of killing three babies who were born alive in his grimy clinic agreed Tuesday to give up his right to an appeal and faces life in prison but will be spared a death sentence.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, was convicted Monday of first-degree murder in the deaths of the babies who were delivered alive and killed with scissors.
In a case that became a flashpoint in the nation’s abortion debate, former clinic employees testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal abortions past Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit, that he delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing, and that he and his assistants dispatched the newborns by “snipping” their spines, as he referred to it.
Prosecutors agreed to two life sentences without parole, and Gosnell was to be sentenced Wednesday in the death of the third baby, an involuntary manslaughter conviction in the death of a patient and hundreds of lesser counts.
A press conference is scheduled for tomorrow at 11:30 AM. Hopefully a logical explanation is forthcoming.
Update: (h/t Greg W.) Allahpundit offers a couple rationales for why the DA made the deal:
I’m skeptical that he would have gotten death even if the prosecution had pushed for it. He deserves it, but my hunch is that the jury might have considered the fact that his victims just missed being killed in a fully legal way and therefore maybe Gosnell shouldn’t be slapped with the most severe possible sentence. (If you find that logic perverse, welcome to America in the age of late-term abortion.) They might also have spared him simply for the symbolism of it, granting life to a guilty man who never showed such mercy towards the innocents he effectively decapitated. Most of his jurors claimed to be pro-choice on the subject of abortion too; if that’s a hint that they’re generally liberal politically, then capital punishment might have been an especially tough haul for the D.A.