Kevorkian Again Denied Early Prison Release, Appeals to Governor

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 3, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Kevorkian Again Denied Early Prison Release, Appeals to Governor

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 3, 2003

Lansing, MI ( — Another request by attorneys for Jack Kevorkian to be released from prison early because of health problems has been denied. Now his attorneys have filed a plea with the governor for a pardon or a commutation of his sentence.

Kevorkian was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison as a result of the November 1998 euthanasia of Thomas Youk. Kevorkian administered the drugs that killed him in a death that was shown on CBS’ "Sixty Minutes" newsmagazine program.

Oakland Circuit Judge Rae Lee Chabot turned down the request to release Kevorkian and have him serve the rest of his sentence on parole.

Following the denial, Kevorkian attorney Mayer Morganroth filed a request with Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) and the state Department of Corrections. He is asking Granholm to pardon Kevorkian or commute his sentence.

Morganroth says nothing is gained by keeping Kevorkian in prison because of his health issues. Kevorkian, 75, suffers from high blood pressure, hepatitis C, dental problems and a hernia.

Chabot disagreed and wrote in his opinion, "While this court is sympathetic to defendant’s physical condition, this does not act to void the existing law of the state of Michigan."

Assistant Prosecutor Anica Letica agreed with Chabot’s ruling and told the Associated Press that a judge does not have the authority to change a valid sentence.

"Eighty percent of the public is in his corner," Morganroth claimed. "The sentence is far beyond the one recommended and we have provided an affidavit in which he promises he won’t do it again. Besides, the actions he did perform are becoming legal all over the world."

Pro-life groups disagree and a representative of Right to Life of Michigan told, the group "rejects killing a person as a solution to physical or mental pain.

"Killing patients is never a valid prescription for solving pain and suffering," Pam Sherstad said.

"The denial of Jack Kevorkian’s early release notes the seriousness of his offense. Jack Kevorkian chose to take not only the law into his own hands, but also the lives of others," Sherstad added.

Granholm’s office has not yet commented on the pardon request.

Kevorkian has claimed to have helped kill more than 130 people. He is officially up for parole in 2007. The Michigan legislature made assisted suicide illegal in 1998 in part to convict Kevorkian.