DETROIT (AP) — An attorney for assisted suicide advocate
Jack Kevorkian said his client will keep fighting for his release
from prison despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision
yesterday not to hear his appeal.
The court, without comment, turned back an appeal in which
Kevorkian claimed he had an ineffective attorney when he was
convicted in Michigan of second-degree murder in the 1998 poisoning
of Thomas Youk. Youk had Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Kevorkian
called it a mercy killing. The death was videotaped and shown on
Attorney Mayer Morganroth said the 76-year-old Kevorkian will
ask Gov. Jennifer Granholm to commute his sentence and release him
on parole. Kevorkian asked Granholm to release him late last year,
but she refused because the state parole board recommended against
it, Morganroth said.
Morganroth said he was surprised by the Supreme Court’s
decision. He said the court had signaled it wanted to address the
issue of assisted suicide for terminally ill patients who have
“I think it’s sad. That’s all I can
say,” Morganroth said.
Morganroth spoke to Kevorkian yesterday and said he also was
“Certainly, he was hoping that the Supreme Court would
address this issue,” he said.
Morganroth said Kevorkian is in poor health, suffering from
heart trouble, hepatitis C, high blood pressure and double hernias.
Morganroth asked an Oakland County judge to release Kevorkian in
2003 because of his health problems, but the judge refused.
Kevorkian appealed to the Supreme Court after the 6th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals refused to hear his appeal in June, saying
it lacked merit. The appeals court sided with a federal judge who
refused to grant Kevorkian a new trial last November.
It was the second time the Supreme Court has turned back an
appeal from Kevorkian. Two years ago, the court refused to consider
his claim that his prosecution was unconstitutional.
Kevorkian has said he assisted in at least 130 deaths, but has
promised in affidavits that he will not assist in a suicide if he
is released from prison. Michigan banned assisted suicide in