The United States Supreme Court has shut down an attempt by Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell to appeal his conviction and get out of the plea deal that allowed him to avoid the death penalty.
Gosnell, 73, was found guilty and convicted of three counts of first degree murder for babies who were born alive during late-term abortion procedures and were then killed by Gosnell, who used scissors to pierce the infants’ necks and sever their spinal cords, as Breitbart News reported. He was also convicted of involuntary manslaughter for a patient who died after a botched abortion he performed, as well as more than 200 counts of violating Pennsylvania’s informed consent law, which requires women to be informed of the risks of abortion procedures and to be offered alternatives and to be given 24 hours to consider their choice.
The gruesome details of the case captured national attention, leading many to dub Gosnell’s abortion clinic the “House of Horrors” after evidence from his trial revealed the unsanitary conditions there. Biomedical waste was not properly disposed of, spilled blood and bodily fluids left on the floor and equipment, stray cats permitted to roam about the property, and perhaps most disturbingly, “trophies” were kept by Gosnell from his abortions, including jars of feet from aborted babies.
Gosnell’s conviction was through a state court in Pennsylvania, and he agreed to a plea deal. In exchange for prosecutors not pursuing the death penalty, Gosnell agreed to waive further appeal rights and was sentenced to three consecutive life terms. Gosnell was also facing federal charges for operating a “pill mill” — selling prescriptions for dangerous narcotics — and entered into a plea deal for those charges as well, as reported by Life News. The federal charges added an additional thirty year sentence to the three life terms that the state court had handed down.
In his appeal, Gosnell claimed that his waiver of his appellate rights for the federal case was not valid. According to a report by The Morning Call:
Gosnell argued that he could not have knowingly agreed to waive his federal appeal rights because the judge had warned him that if he lied, the judge could reject the plea agreement, and Gosnell would “lose the benefits that you now have in your plea agreement.”
But, Gosnell’s court pleadings maintained, there were really no benefits in his federal deal — what did a 30-year term mean when he was already serving three life terms?
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected Gosnell’s appeal, and he filed a petition on October 6, 2014, asking the United States Supreme Court to consider his case.
The Supreme Court rejected Gosnell’s petition on its face, refusing to hear any oral argument, allowing Gosnell’s conviction and sentences to stand. At 73 years old and serving three consecutive life sentences plus the thirty year federal sentence, Gosnell will never again be a free man.
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