Supreme Court Rejects Another Kevorkian Appeal
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 1, 2004
DETROIT, MICHIGAN--Without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider an appeal by Jack Kevorkian who wants to be released from prison before his first scheduled parole hearing in 2007.
The assisted-suicide campaigner claimed that he had an ineffective attorney during the trial in which he was found guilty of second-degree murder.
Kevorkian, 76, was convicted in March 1999 for inducing the death of Thomas Youk, a man who had amyotropic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Kevorkian's conviction came after replaying Youk's video-taped death on the "60 Minutes" television news magazine.
Last November, Kevorkian asked a federal judge to grant him a new trial, but the judge refused. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his appeal, too, saying it lacked merit. So Kevorkian took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was also rejected.
Two years ago, the Supreme Court refused to hear Kevorkian's claims that his prosecution was unconstitutional.
By his own admission, Kevorkian assisted at least 130 people to kill themselves as part of his campaign to make doctor-assisted suicide legal in the United States.
Many disability rights advocates have long opposed Kevorkian and his crusade to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia. They have argued that doing so would essentially make it "open season" for people with disabilities and anyone else who is considered undesirable or a "burden" on society -- particularly at a time when the cost of health care is high. They have pointed out that most of those Kevorkian helped end their lives were in emotional, psychological or social crises, not in the final stages of terminal illnesses as was originally believed.
Kevorkian is currently serving time at the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, Michigan. His supporters have petitioned Governor Jennifer Granholm to grant a pardon for Kevorkian, who reportedly has heart trouble, hepatitis C, high blood pressure and double hernias.
Granholm decided earlier this year not to pardon Kevorkian at the recommendation of the state parole board.
Dubbed "Dr. Death" by the media and his opponents, Kevorkian has promised not to assist in any more suicides if released.