Thursday, June 1, 2017

An Open Letter to Mitchell Hamline School of Law: "Losing Your Freedom Is Like Losing Your Hair"

Mitchell-Hamline Panel 04 27 17
In April, I was honored to be one of four speakers at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law. The event was a panel discussion regarding legislation seeking to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in Minnesota.  

I arrived at the event with a legal analysis and other materials addressing problems with the legislation. For example and contrary to backers’ claims, patient voluntariness is not assured. 

I started to hand out my materials. Proponents of the legislation, however, objected and a law student organizer backed them up to prevent distribution. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

MN Euthanasia Bills: "Patient Choice and Control Is a Big Fat Fib"

Golden Quadriga, Minnisota State Capitol
By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

To view as a pdf, click here: indexmemo and appendix. For a handout, click here.

I.  INTRODUCTION

I am an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal,[1] Our law is based on a similar law in Oregon. Both laws are similar to HF 1885 and SF 1572, which seek to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia as those terms are traditionally defined.[2]

The bills are sold as a promotion of patient choice and control, which is not true: The bills are stacked against the patient and a recipe for elder abuse.

The bills also apply to persons with years or decades to live. Passage will encourage such persons to throw away their lives. I urge you to reject HF 1885 and SF 1572.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Senator Withdraws Bill

On March 16, 2016, Senator Chris Eaton withdrew SF 1880, which had sought to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in Minnesota.

Senator Eaton did not have the votes to pass the bill out of committee.


Margaret Dore

Dore Memo Opposing Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia

MINNESOTA BILL SF 1880:

The proposed bill seeks to legalize physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia as those terms are traditionally defined. The bill calls these practices, “aid in dying.” The bill does not, however, require that a patient be dying. Indeed, “eligible” patients may have years or even decades to live.

The bill also legalizes undue influence as that term is traditionally defined. The bill is otherwise stacked against the patient and a recipe for elder abuse. I urge you to vote “No” on SF 1880. Don’t be fooled.

To view the full memo, click here.  To view the attachments, click here.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Press Release: Final Exit Network, Inc. Sentenced in Assisting with Suicide.


8/24/15 

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Final Exit Network, Inc. (FEN) was sentenced today by Judge Christian Wilton to a stay of execution of 21 months in prison (while a corporate entity cannot be sent to prison, under Minnesota law this sanction establishes that the offense is a felony) and 15 years of probation, and ordered to pay a fine of $30,000 and approximately $3,000 in restitution in connection with assisting Doreen Dunn in committing suicide on May 30, 2007, at her home in Apple Valley.  FEN will remain on probation until the fine and restitution is paid.  On May 14, 2015, a Dakota County Jury found Final Exit Network, Inc. guilty of Assisting Another to Commit Suicide and Interference with a Dead Body or Death Scene.

Additional facts pertaining to this case can be found online at: Criminal Complaint Search.  To view prior news releases, go to: Attorney News Releases.

Backstrom commented:  “What Final Exit Network does in aiding vulnerable and depressed persons, like Doreen Dunn, in taking their own lives and then covering up the truth about what has occurred from the victim’s family and investigating agencies is both legally wrong and morally reprehensible.  We are pleased to have held this organization accountable in this case.”  Backstrom extended his sympathy to the family and friends of Doreen Dunn for their great loss.  

Two individual defendants charged in connection with Doreen Dunn’s death still have charges pending:  


1) Dr. Lawrence Egbert, age 87 of Baltimore, Maryland, is charged with Assisting Another to Commit Suicide (a felony) and Interference with a Dead Body or Death Scene (a gross misdemeanor).  His next court appearance is on December 7, 2015, in Hastings; and  


2) Roberta Massey, age 70 of Bear, Delaware, is charged with Assisting Another to Commit Suicide (a felony).  Ms. Massey’s case is on hold due to her own serious medical conditions.

Backstrom praised Assistant County Attorney Elizabeth Swank and Chief Deputy Phil Prokopowicz who prosecuted the case.  Backstrom thanked the Apple Valley Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation who aided in the investigation of this case.  

If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440

Final Exit Network Receives Maximum Sentence for Assisting Suicide

http://www.startribune.com/final-exit-network-fined-30-000-for-assisting-apple-valley-woman-s-suicide/322700141/

A Dakota County judge on Monday ordered Final Exit Network, a national right-to-die group, to pay a $30,000 fine and nearly $3,000 in funeral costs for assisting an Apple Valley woman’s 2007 suicide.
The sentence was the maximum Judge Christian S. Wilton could impose on the corporation for assisting a suicide.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Melchert-Dinkel Convicted!

http://www.startribune.com/local/274484921.html

Minnesota judge convicts ex-nurse of assisting suicide of English man he encouraged online

  • Article by: STEVE KARNOWSKI , Associated Press
  • Updated: September 9, 2014 - 4:25 PM 

MINNEAPOLIS - An ex-nurse who admitted going online and encouraging people to kill themselves was convicted Tuesday of assisting the suicide of an English man and attempting to assist in the suicide of a Canadian woman, following a legal battle[] that has spanned more than four years and led to the reversal of part of a Minnesota law that outlaws the practice.

Rice County District Judge Thomas Neuville ruled that the state proved that William Melchert-Dinkel, 52, of Faribault, assisted in the suicide of Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England. He said the state failed to prove Melchert-Dinkel 's assistance was a direct cause of the suicide of Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario, but found him guilty on a lesser charge of attempting to help her take her life.

Melechert-Dinkel's attorney, Terry Watkins, did not immediately return messages seeking reaction to the verdict. But the prosecutor, Rice County Attorney Paul Beaumaster, said the judge meticulously followed a Minnesota Supreme Court decision from last March that narrowed the state's assisted suicide law.

"This has been a rather long and drawn out process, which has been difficult for the families," Beaumaster said. "... I really hope this helps the families find some closure."

The mothers of Drybrough and Kajouji did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Neuville scheduled a sentencing hearing for Oct. 15. The same judge had also convicted Melchert-Dinkel in 2011 of encouraging the two suicides but put his 360-day jail sentence on hold pending appeals.

"The Defendant did not physically assist either Drybrough or Kajouji in taking their own life," the judge wrote in a ruling dated Monday but not released until Tuesday. "However, there is significant evidence that the Defendant assisted Drybrough, and attempted to assist Kajouji, commit suicide by providing them with specific instructions and methodology for completing the suicide."

Kajouji jumped into a frozen river in 2008, and Drybrough hanged himself in 2005.

In his ruling, Neuville said Melchert-Dinkel provided both Drybrough and Kajouji with detailed information about how to hang themselves, and that Drybrough followed his instructions. However, he noted that while the defendant gave Kajouji detailed and specific instructions about hanging, she did not follow them and chose another method. So the judge said Melchert-Dinkel was guilty only of attempting to assist her suicide.

The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed Melchert-Dinkel 's original conviction in March, saying part of the state law that made it illegal to "advise" or "encourage" suicides was an unconstitutionally broad restriction on free[] speech. However, the justices upheld a part of the law that makes it a crime to "assist" in someone's suicide. The ruling said speech alone can be used to assist or enable a suicide if it is narrowly targeted to one person and provides that person with what is needed to carry out the act.

The Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower court for further proceedings because the judge did not rule at the time on whether Melchert-Dinkel actually assisted in the two suicides.

Evidence in the case showed Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and sought out depressed people online. He posed as a suicidal female nurse, feigning compassion and offering step-by-step instructions on how they could kill themselves. He acknowledged participating in online chats about suicide with up to 20 people and entering into fake suicide pacts with about 10, five of whom he believed killed themselves.