In what is being hailed as a victory for the pro-life movement, on June 13, a Houston judge dismissed a misdemeanor charge of attempting to buy human organs against David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). Daleiden secretly videotaped Planned Parenthood officials in Houston.
“This a real victory for the pro-life movement,” said Jared Woodfill, one of Deleiden’s attorneys from Houston who made the announcement with attorney Terry Yates.
Harris County, Texas Criminal Court Judge Diane Bull dismissed the charge “for want of jurisdiction.” Earlier this year, a Harris County grand jury that was called to evaluate charges against Planned Parenthood, inexplicably turned on Daleiden and his associate Sandra Merritt and indicted them, instead!
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The Washington Times reported on the indictment at the time:
A Texas grand jury has cleared a Planned Parenthood affiliate of accusations it sold fetal tissue for profit, and instead indicted two pro-life activists whose secret recordings ignited a national debate over the abortion provider’s activities, a state prosecutor said Monday.
The activists, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, were indicted on charges of tampering with a government record. Both posed as executives of a fake biomedical research company to tape Planned Parenthood doctors and clinic managers talking about harvesting fetal tissue, according to court documents.
Mr. Daleiden was also indicted under a law prohibiting the solicitation or sale of human organs, which suggests grand jurors thought he went too far in trying to snare Planned Parenthood.
“The criminal prosecution of Daleiden and Merritt, even if they did break the law, could chill undercover journalists and activists everywhere,” Cornell University law professors Sherry F. Colb and Michael C. Dorf remarked on the indictment in a January 29 op-ed on CNN.