Supreme Court turns deaf ear to Gosnell
For three decades in West Philadelphia's Mantua neighborhood, nearly everyone knew the name Kermit Barron Gosnell. Long before he became infamous as an illegal abortionist sentenced to three life-in-prison terms, Gosnell's clinic at 3801 Lancaster Ave. was the "urgent care" center of its day for the poor and uninsured.
For three decades in West Philadelphia's Mantua neighborhood, nearly everyone knew the name Kermit Barron Gosnell.
Long before he became infamous as an illegal abortionist sentenced to three life-in-prison terms, Gosnell's clinic at 3801 Lancaster Ave. was the "urgent care" center of its day for the poor and uninsured.
To the U.S. Supreme Court, however, Gosnell was just case 14-6672, one of more than 200 petitions seeking consideration.
Last month, the court told Gosnell, "No."
In January, the 73-year-old prisoner filed an appeal of his guilty plea and sentence on federal charges that he sold prescriptions for dangerous narcotics, in what authorities call a "pill mill."
Appealing his convictions in Common Pleas Court for murdering infants born alive during illegal late-term abortions was not an option. After that state-court verdict, Gosnell agreed to waive his appeal rights and serve the rest of his life in prison - if prosecutors did not press for a death sentence.
Instead, Gosnell decided to appeal his federal case, though he also waived his federal appeal rights when he pleaded guilty before a judge in exchange for having his 30-year prison term run concurrently with his three consecutive life terms.
Gosnell argued that he could not have knowingly agreed to waive his federal appeal rights because the judge had warned him that if Gosnell lied, he 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 Gosnell was already serving three life terms?
As novel as prosecutors found Gosnell's strategy, his hopes proved short-lived.
In July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit granted federal prosecutors' request to enforce Gosnell's decision to waive his appellate rights.
Undeterred, Gosnell filed a petition on Oct. 6 asking the Supreme Court to consider his appeal, which was rejected Nov. 10.
Gosnell is serving his sentence at the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon.