Welcome!

iPhone Authors: Nikita Ivanov, Aria Blog, David H Deans, Liz McMillan, Avi Rosenthal

News Feed Item

Final Exit Network Presents Powerful Testimony in Criminal Case Against Its Volunteers

Organization Looks to Dismiss Case, Argues Minnesota Law Violates First Amendment Rights

TALLAHASSEE, FL--(Marketwire - December 27, 2012) -  Final Exit Network made a powerful presentation to a Minnesota court on Tuesday, December 18 in favor of dismissing a criminal case against its volunteers, arguing that the Minnesota law violates their First Amendment rights.

The Final Exit Network corporation, two former presidents, a former medical director and a former case coordinator were named in a 17-count indictment filed last May in Dakota County District Court, charging them with "advising, encouraging or assisting" in a "suicide," aiding and abetting, and tampering with evidence at the scene of a death. The charges arise from the May 30, 2007 self deliverance of Doreen Gunderson Dunn, 57, a resident of Apple Valley.

District Judge Karen Asphaug held a hearing in Hastings, a small town on the Mississippi River a half-hour south of St. Paul, on several motions filed by the defense team. Final Exit Network board members traveled from California, Florida and Ohio and slogged through the snow to show support for the indicted volunteers, along with about 10 FEN members from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and a law professor and his student, who dropped in -- wearing FEN lapel pins -- to see a "right to die" case in real life.

The main argument was over the constitutionality of the Minnesota law. Though Final Exit Network acknowledges that it is constitutionally permissible to criminalize actual, tangible "assisting" in a "suicide," the organization maintains that Minnesota's law violates the First Amendment-protected right to freedom of speech by also prohibiting "advising" about "suicide" or "encouraging" a "suicide." Though Final Exit Network's protocols prohibit "advising" anyone in favor of suicide, or encouraging a suicide, the statute's language could be construed to prohibit giving information, education, and moral support, which FEN does.

"The prosecutor seemed to be saying Final Exit Network's speech was not protected by the First Amendment because it was 'integral to a crime,'" FEN's president Wendell Stephenson, of Fresno, California, said after the hearing. "This made no sense, because our speech itself was the crime. It was not a means to some other crime. I mean, suicide is not a crime. So what crime is our speech 'integral' to?"

Puzzling over the meaning of the statute, Judge Asphaug pointedly asked the prosecutors whether Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner broke the law in writing The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures, which debuted in Minneapolis and was later produced off-Broadway. In the play, when the elderly, disillusioned protagonist announces his intent to die, the widow of an old friend gives him a graphic explanation -- "with props," the judge exclaimed -- of how to terminate his life.

Judge Asphaug said she had seen the Kushner play's debut at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in 2009. She was left with an indelible memory of the graphic scene.

The prosecutor said Kushner and the producers of the play did not break the law because they did not "intentionally" target the information at a person who was "actively contemplating" his or her own "suicide."

No rulings were announced at the hearing. The judge said she would enter written rulings as soon as possible.

FEN's former case coordinator Roberta Massey, 67, of Bear, Delaware, is represented by Ronald I. Meshbesher, the "dean" of Minnesota criminal defense lawyers. Former president Ted Goodwin, 66, of Punta Gorda, Florida, is represented by John Lundquist, a white collar criminal defense specialist. FEN's former medical director, Dr. Larry Egbert, 85, of Baltimore, is represented by Donald F. Samuel and Kristen Wright Novay, of Garland, Samuel & Loeb, in Atlanta, who previously -- with 100 percent success -- defended Dr. Egbert from criminal prosecutions brought in Georgia and Arizona.

Finally, former FEN president Jerry Dincin, 82, of Highland Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, is represented by FEN's general counsel, Robert Rivas, of the Tallahassee office of Sachs Sax Caplan, P.L., a law firm based in Palm Beach County, Florida, who assembled the defense team. The defense team also has local support from Bill Sherry, who has practiced criminal defense law in Dakota County for 20 years.

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...