Judge: 6 Jurors OK in Abortion Provider's Trial

By: AP
By: AP

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A judge says six-juror panels are constitutional for misdemeanor trials such as the criminal case against Wichita abortion provider George Tiller.

In a ruling from the bench Tuesday, Sedgwick County District Judge Clark Owens denied a motion by Tiller's defense team for a 12-person jury. The judge cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling as the determining factor in making his decision.

Owens also set March 16 as the trial date on the 19 misdemeanor charges filed by the Kansas Attorney General's office against the
Wichita doctor.

Tiller is one of the few doctors in the U.S. who performs late-term abortions. He is accused of violating a 1998 state law requiring that a second, independent Kansas physician sign off on most late-term abortions.

A weeklong hearing is planned for November for an anticipated defense motion to exclude some evidence.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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