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To The Editors of The Crimson:
It is of small moment what I believe or do not believe in the story in the January 3, 1977 issue of The Crimson concerning the reversal of Kenneth Edelin's conviction. However, I would like to correct the record as it appears in the story.
1. I did not say that I believed that the jury which originally tried Dr. Edelin was incorrectly instructed by the trial judge. I tried as clearly as I could to point out to your reporter that in the partial dissent and partial concurrence of Chief Justice Hennessey, he stated that the conviction should be reversed and Dr. Edelin should have a new trial because the jury was not instructed that the defendant, in order to be convicted, must be found beyond a reasonable doubt to have "formed his judgment of non-viability either in bad faith, or unreasonably, based upon facts he knew or reasonably should have known."
2. I specified at least four bases for our appeal besides, as the story puts it, "that the jury found Edelin guilty of charges that were not those in the original accusations." Dr. Edelin was charged with manslaughter, which, if alleged to be involuntary, requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of "wanton and reckless conduct" rather than, as the story puts it, "ruthless and reckless conduct."
3. The original charge was that the manslaughter and death occurred at a point when the fetus was still within the mother's body rather than, as the story puts it, when it "was still alive outside its mother's body." The change was to prove that Dr. Edelin acted wantonly and recklessly after a live fetus (baby) was delivered outside the mother's body.
4. Judge McGuire did not instruct "that a body is only alive if it shows a steady heartbeat and respiration outside the mother's body." The Supreme Judicial Court, speaking through Justice Kaplan, stated this in substance as a standard which should have been applied in determining whether or not the fetus (baby) was born alive.
If persons like myself, who admire The Crimson and the job it does, take the time, as I did, to try to be very clear on technical subjects, it is disappointing to find that we have not succeeded. William P. Homans, Jr. '41
The Crimson regrets any errors contained in the news story referred to in the above letter and appreciates Mr. Homans's clarification of the issues involved in the Edelin case. The Editors
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