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Feb 17 2014

Pediatrician Convicted of Waterboarding

A pediatrician who apparently fancies himself an expert on near-death experiences was convicted by a jury in Delaware of waterboarding his girlfriend’s daughter, though he claims he was only washing her hair. He allegedly did this to further his NDE research.

The jury deliberated for about six hours before returning its verdict against Melvin Morse, 60.

Morse was charged with three felonies — two for alleged waterboarding and one for alleged suffocation by hand. He was convicted of one felony — waterboarding in the bathtub — and five misdemeanors. Jurors reduced the second waterboarding charge to a misdemeanor and acquitted Morse of the suffocation charge.

Morse showed no reaction as the verdict was read. He was ordered to surrender his passport and will remain out on bail until his sentencing, set for April 11.

Morse faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, but a lesser punishment is likely under state sentencing guidelines. Each misdemeanor carries a maximum of one year in prison but typically results in probation. The felony reckless endangerment conviction for waterboarding carries a maximum of five years in prison but a presumptive sentence of 15 months.

Wait, you mean waterboarding is illegal in this country? Then why aren’t Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and a bunch of other people in prison? Oh, right. Because Obama thinks we have to “look forward, not back.” Except when it involves whistleblowers, of course.

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  1. 1
    Phillip IV

    he claims he was only washing her hair. He allegedly did this to further his NDE research.

    Those two claims appear slightly out of sync, to me – I’ve known some clumsy people over the years, but even for them washing their hair was usually a safe step or two away from a NDE.

  2. 2
    dan4

    “Then why aren’t Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield and a bunch of other people in prison?” Uh, because the waterboardings they authorized weren’t done “in this country,” perhaps?

  3. 3
    zenlike

    2dan4

    “Then why aren’t Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield and a bunch of other people in prison?” Uh, because the waterboardings they authorized weren’t done “in this country,” perhaps?

    So if this guy did his water-boarding when on vacation outside of the US he wouldn’t have been convicted? Bull. Shit.

  4. 4
    theschwa

    The important message NOT being reported by the lamestream media is that his girlfriend’s daughter provided several real and not-at-all-made-up, useful tips on al-Queda targets!

  5. 5
    dan4

    @3: “So if this guy did his water-boarding when on vacation outside of the US he wouldn’t have been convicted? Convicted of violating AMERICAN law? Of course he wouldn’t have been convicted.

  6. 6
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Holy shit, the rest of that article is just horrible. That poor little girl.

  7. 7
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    @3: “So if this guy did his water-boarding when on vacation outside of the US he wouldn’t have been convicted? Convicted of violating AMERICAN law? Of course he wouldn’t have been convicted.

    Bullshit. There’s a substantial precedent for citizens still being subject to the laws of their country when overseas. Exhibit A: it’s illegal for a US citizen to travel to another country for the purpose of having sex with a minor.

  8. 8
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @dan4:

    If one conspires in the US to commit a crime, but the crime is actually committed overseas, one may very well be subject to conviction in US courts.

    You really think you can hire a hit man in the US, give your spouse a plane ticket and be free of responsibility for the overseas whack?

    If you don’t know shit about the law, stop making legal pronouncements. Ed knows 500x the law you know, and he’s not even a lawyer.

  9. 9
    ArtK

    I noticed this WTF gem from the article:

    Hurley said another basis for appeal is what he described as inappropriate statements made by Withers in her closing arguments, including telling the jurors that they could ask for evidence to be sent back to the jury room if they wanted to review it.

    There must be something missing there because in every case I’ve been a juror on (7, to be precise), the jury has been able to ask for evidence to be available during deliberations. The only time we’ve had to go back to the court room if there was a need to have testimony re-read. This was in California so perhaps the rules are different in Delaware.

  10. 10
    percysowner

    Wait, you mean waterboarding is illegal in this country? Then why aren’t Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and a bunch of other people in prison? Oh, right. Because Obama thinks we have to “look forward, not back.” Except when it involves whistleblowers, of course.

    Or maybe because the first black President, a man who the right wing still claims isn’t a U.S. citizen realized that setting a precedent that former Presidents can be charged with crimes when they do their official duties would be used against him the second he got out of office. Yes, Bush, Cheney and company did engage in criminal behavior, but most Presidents make calls that can be questionable at times. In all honesty if Bush et al. had been prosecuted, President Obama would be facing charges based on Bengahzi for the rest of his life.

  11. 11
    Reginald Selkirk

    Crip Dyke #8: You really think you can hire a hit man in the US, give your spouse a plane ticket and be free of responsibility for the overseas whack?

    Of course it’s not that simple. You have to hire a second hit man to kill the first hit man.

  12. 12
    Sastra

    Morse, whose medical license was suspended after his arrest, has written several books and articles on paranormal science and near-death experiences involving children. He has appeared on shows such as “Larry King Live” and the “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to discuss his research, which also has been featured on an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries” and in an article in “Rolling Stone” magazine.

    Whoa, I’ve heard of this guy. His “research” has been thrown at skeptics to refute their materialist world view.

    Given how often religion has claimed the moral high ground it’s understandable that the nonreligious will point out their failures with some grim remark concerning the incongruity. So I apologize, but I’ve got to say it:

    Ooooh, this guy is soooooo spiritual!

  13. 13
    Reginald Selkirk

    Having read the entire linked article, I am not thoroughly convinced that this had anything to do with his NDE “research.” It’s possible that he’s just an abusive asshole.

  14. 14
    Reginald Selkirk

    Whoa, I’ve heard of this guy. His “research” has been thrown at skeptics to refute their materialist world view.

    His Wikipedia entry says surprisingly little about that “research.”

  15. 15
    Sastra

    Reginald Selkirk #13 wrote:

    It’s possible that he’s just an abusive asshole.

    I’d say it’s probable: the incongruity though lies in his close association with a high-minded spirituality which is supposed to overthrow mainstream science’s attempt to impose its limited view of reality. Frankly, a lot of Spiritual literature seems to me like it feeds into a passive-aggressive desire for control.

  16. 16
    Trebuchet

    Having read the entire linked article, I am not thoroughly convinced that this had anything to do with his NDE “research.” It’s possible that he’s just an abusive asshole.

    They aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s both.

  17. 17
    Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    Then why aren’t Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and a bunch of other people in prison? Oh, right. Because Obama thinks we have to “look forward, not back.” Except when it involves whistleblowers, of course.

    Dan4 writes:

    Uh, because the waterboardings they authorized weren’t done “in this country,” perhaps?

    You compete with a mere handful for the most ignorant comment poster in this venue.

    Why not go do some fucking research instead of making arguments from ignorance framed around a a weasel word. You’ll find your question is not relevant.

    There is no credible legal defense for the Bush administration’s use of torture, nor has any even been attempted. That what they did is a violation of treaties we signed, U.S. statutory law where U.S. jurisdiction holds, and military law. In fact some of the lower-level torturers have been indicted, found guilty, and sentenced. As Ed correctly noted, it’s politics that prevents the Bush Administration’s leaders from facing prosecution, and that’s in spite of the findings by the Inspector General and Congress who make it clear crimes were committed. That wasn’t all that difficult because people like VP Cheney admitted ordering torture to be used.

  18. 18
    thebookofdave

    These activist courts are going way overboard on enforcing anti-hazing regs! Pretty soon, our brave troops deployed overseas won’t even be able to blow off a little harmless steam by pranking the locals.

  19. 19
    Nemo

    “Jurors reduced the second waterboarding charge to a misdemeanor”. This is incomprehensible to me.

  20. 20
    dingojack

    So you’ve got pharmacists who won’t dispense and pediatricians who waterboard people to death. What’s next? Pastry cooks who pies out to human corpses?
    @@
    Dingo

  21. 21
    dingojack

    *makes pies out of human corpses* – damn!
    Dingo

  22. 22
    freehand

    percysowner: President Obama would be facing charges based on Bengahzi for the rest of his life.

    Wait, what charges? Or is this Poe?

    It’s true that by now charging Bush would require charging Obama too, but Obama had the option at the start of his term to not commit war crimes (even if he was unable or unwilling to prosecute Bush, Cheney, et al).

  1. 23
    Question for Britons: What do you think of these 25 reasons why it is better to live in the US then the UK? | Israel Foreign Affairs

    […] Stop pressing your views on other people. I'd say the acts of those terrorists are well beyond water boarding. Water boarding is light for what they deal with. We should be maiming them until we get our […]

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