Kevorkian Asks For Early Release, Again
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 8, 2004
LANSING, MICHIGAN--One week after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by Jack Kevorkian, his lawyer has asked the Michigan Parole Board to recommend he be released from prison for medical reasons.
According to the Detroit Free Press, attorney Mayer Morganroth said the assisted suicide campaigner has a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, arthritis, a hernia, cataracts and hepatitis C. He asked the board to recommend Governor Jennifer Granholm pardon Kevorkian or commute his sentence.
Kevorkian was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison after being convicted in 1999 of second-degree murder. He would first become eligible for parole in 2007.
The 10-member parole board voted against early release this time last year. Granholm refused to have Kevorkian released based on the board's decision.
Russ Marlan, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections, said Monday that medical commutations are only granted for inmates who are expected to live for less than a year.
"We have plenty of prisoners that have cataracts and arthritis, but that doesn't mean they should be granted a commutation," Marlan said. "They're only granted for offenders that have little chance of surviving very much longer."
Kevorkian, 76, was convicted 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.
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. He has promised not to assist in any more suicides if released.
If the parole board chair decides Kevorkian's request has merit, a psychological evaluation and public hearings would be ordered, Marlan said.
"Jack Kevorkian: Dr. Death" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)
"The suicide machine" (Detroit Free Press)
Not Dead Yet