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The Final Exit Network filed a lawsuit in federal court 05/18/2021 against the sheriff and the chief prosecutor of Anoka County, Minnesota for threatening to file criminal charges against the organization.

The action named Sheriff James Stuart and County Attorney Tony Palumbo as defendants in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. It was assigned to Judge Nancy E. Brasel, whose courtroom is in the federal courthouse in St. Paul.

Final Exit Network and two of its Exit Guides seek an order determining that the Minnesota law against “assisting in a suicide,” a felony, is unconstitutional in the manner in which it is applied in Minnesota. As the words “assisting in suicide” have been interpreted by the Minnesota Supreme Court, “speech alone” may be prosecuted.

Other states require “conduct,” not merely speech, before one can be charged and convicted of “assisting in a suicide,” so that person could be charged only if they committed some form of physical assistance. Minnesota defines “assisting” to also criminalize “speech that enables a suicide.”

The lawsuit argues that the Minnesota law violates Final Exit Network’s First Amendment-protected right to freedom of speech as well as the rights of all its Exit Guides and other volunteers.

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