During a hearing today in Small Claims Court, Judge Stephen K. Woodring heard concerns raised by plaintiff Mark Gietzen that security video footage taken of a hit-and-run incident outside the Women’s Health Care Services abortion center had been tampered with.
Gietzen is suing abortionist George Tiller for injuring him when Tiller rammed his armored Jeep Grand Cherokee into Gietzen during an incident in 2006. In an effort to settle the case, Geitzen had asked to preview the security tape recorded by WHCS security cameras, which the judge ordered to be played at the time of trial, if a settlement could not be reached.
Geitzen and Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger viewed the evidence that was produced by Tiller security guard John Rayburn.
Instead of a video, which Rayburn earlier indicated did exist, Geitzen and Sullenger were shown a series of bitmap photographs.
Attorney Scott Sanders, who was hired by Tiller’s insurance carrier to negotiate a settlement, told Gietzen and Sullenger that the security camera did not record video, but instead snapped photos in 3 second intervals. However, the photographs shown were not in 3-second intervals, but in varying intervals from 1 second to 13 seconds between pictures.
Three different photographs were marked with identical time stamps down to the second. According to what Sanders told Geitzen and Sullenger, it would be impossible for the camera to take 3 images all within the one-second time frame.
Attorneys offered no explanation for the discrepancy.
“I have no doubt in my mind that the time stamps on those images had been altered and that images in the sequence were missing,” said Sullenger. “This raises serious questions about the integrity of any evidence produced by Tiller.”
During the hearing, Tiller did not appear, but was represented instead by Sanders, Dan Monnet, and Laura Shanneyfelt. However, in small claims court, each party is required to appear on their own behalf and not have the representation of an attorney.
The judge indicated that Sanders, Monnet, and Shanneyfelt were not “representing” Tiller but were there only for “informational purposes.”
“You can twist the language all day long, but the fact is that three attorneys represented Tiller’s interests against a single private citizen during that hearing,” said Sullenger.
“It seemed grossly unfair. Tiller is continuously afforded special privileges that others do not receive, even down to special security measures that were instituted for this hearing.”
The small claims trial has been continued until March 20.
[5Feb08, Wichita, KS; Life Dynamics]