FEN takes Death with Dignity case to the U.S. Supreme Court
The Board of Directors of Final Exit Network has authorized an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States from the corporation’s conviction in Minnesota on a charge of “assisting” in a “suicide.”
On Tuesday, March 14, the Supreme Court of Minnesota declined to review the Network’s 2015 conviction. The Network’s petition for review by the Supreme Court of the United States is required to be filed within 90 days of the Supreme Court of Minnesota’s denial of review.
In May 2015, Final Exit Network, Inc. was convicted by a jury in Hastings, Minnesota of “assisting” in a “suicide” for having provided Exit Guide services to a woman who elected to terminate her extreme suffering. The Network was fined $30,000 and required to pay an additional $3,000 in restitution to the “victims,” the family of the deceased Network member, to cover her funeral expenses.
The Network appealed the 2015 conviction to the intermediate Court of Appeals of Minnesota, which affirmed the conviction last December. The Supreme Court of Minnesota denied review of the Court of Appeals’ decision.
Even though it was established at the trial that the Network’s Exit Guides, in accordance with the Network’s practices and protocols, did not provide any physical assistance in the death, the Network was convicted merely for giving information to Doreen Dunn, 57, of Apple Valley, Minnesota.
Under the Minnesota courts’ interpretation of that state’s law against “assisting” in a “suicide,” the Network was convicted for giving the Apple Valley member the website address where she could purchase Derek Humphry’s landmark bestseller, “Final Exit,” the Network’s namesake.
In all the Minnesota courts, the Network has asserted and will continue to assert in the Supreme Court of the United States that Final Exit Network’s giving of information to its members is a First Amendment-protected exercise of free speech, and therefore Minnesota cannot make it a crime.
“No other state in the country makes it a crime to give information about self-deliverance,” said the Network’s president, Janis Landis. “We find the Minnesota law intolerable and wrong and we will not give up the fight. This will be an expensive project and I call upon supporters of death with dignity and freedom of speech to contribute to our legal defense fund.”
—Final Exit Network
PO Box 10071
Tallahassee, FL 32302