MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Minnesota Supreme Court will consider the case of a national right-to-die group accused of playing a role in the 2007 suicide of an Apple Valley woman.
The high court agreed to hear Dakota County prosecutors’ appeal of a Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling in September that a state law prohibiting advising or encouraging suicide was unconstitutional on free speech grounds, the Star Tribune reported Friday (
http://strib.mn/JhC7zY). The Appeals Court, however, sent charges of aiding and abetting suicide against the Florida-based group Final Exit Network and two members back to a district court for trial.
The Supreme Court also agreed in an order dated Dec. 17 to hear the cross-appeal of Final Exit Network, which says all of the charges are unconstitutional. The high court did not set a date for oral arguments.
The high court also stayed all proceedings in the Final Exit case pending its ruling in the separate case of William Melchert-Dinkel, of Faribault, an ex-nurse who was convicted in 2011 of “advising and encouraging” the suicides of a man in England and a teenager in Canada. The Court of Appeals upheld his conviction last year. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in May.
Robert Rivas, an attorney for Final Exit, said the group believes the Appeals Court decision was correct.
“But I’m glad the Supreme Court is going to make the final decision,” Rivas said Thursday. “I think that the Court of Appeals decision is going to be affirmed. It’ll be good to have it affirmed by an even higher court.”
Final Exit insists it acts within the law because it provides information but does not physically participate in suicides or provide equipment.
Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom said he is glad the high court agreed to review the case.
“We continue to believe that the acts of aiding, advising and encouraging someone to take their own life should be prohibited and subject to prosecution under Minnesota law,” he said in a statement.
Rivas said he wouldn’t be surprised if the case eventually goes to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“From my point of view, there are six other states that have unconstitutional rules like the state of Minnesota,” Rivas said. “To have the U.S. Supreme Court rule (for Final Exit) would invalidate all of them. I would be very happy about that.”
Information from: Star Tribune,
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- 7 common ways to get sued by your employees
- Why it might be time to upgrade your toilet
- Arizona teachers are building a better future by using technology in the classroom
- How to make summer reading fun for the whole family
- How to find relief for chronic joint pain
- Can the NBA Lottery save the Suns?
- Skip Urgent Care: 5 ailments you can treat with telemedicine
- Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments