The Criminality of Assisted Suicide and Other End of Life Modalities in Florida
American society and the laws and regulations that define it are not created in a vacuum. Though it is advocated that church and state be separate principles under the law, there are many religious concepts that find themselves manifested in the legal system. Sometimes it is in simple ways, such as taking the moral law of not killing others and that stealing is wrong. The issue of assisted suicide is another one of these moral laws that is having serious backlashes and heated debates about its place in our legal system.
The Current Assisted Suicide Laws in the United States
As of today, there are only a few states – Vermont, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and New Mexico – that have passed some form of legalized assisted suicide laws, but with the scope and right to practice it limited by certain requirements, such as requiring that the person be critically ill, and that the person self-administer the prescription. In Florida, however, the practice is prohibited and anyone that deliberately assists another to commit suicide is guilty of manslaughter, which is a second degree offense.
Individuals Involved in Assisted Suicide Organizations are Being Criminally Charged
The states, including Florida, that have not yet passed any sort of assisted suicide laws, are currently dealing with an epidemic of organizations and individuals who are providing services to end life. The most well-known example of an assisted-suicide conviction involved Dr. Kevorkian (also known as Dr. Death) who was charged with second degree murder and was given 10-25 years in prison, ultimately serving only eight years before his own death in 2011. As a result of this famous case, societies, organizations, and individuals have gotten involved in administering life-ending methods, with the court system unsure of what defines “assistance”.
How is “Assistance” Defined?
Criminal statutes are only applicable in assisted-suicide where the individual physically aids the person in his/her death, such as providing medication to be taken that can end a person’s life. But some courts, in an attempt to provide a hard-lined message, are attempting to define “assistance” in broader terms, especially where the individual has provided all the tools necessary to self-murder.
Changes in Other States in Assisted Suicide Laws
California is the next state to outline and define legalized assisted suicide requirements, which may have an impact on the way other states may draft their own legislation in the future. The “End of Life Option Act” will allow adults with six months or fewer to live and who are mentally competent the right to request prescription medication that will end a person’s life.
Florida’s Movement Towards Terminal Patient Options
Though Florida has not moved in the direction to legalize assisted-suicide, it has taken smaller steps in the direction of providing patients options. One of the most recent movements has been in the Florida Senate Health Policy, with the introduction of Senate Bill 1052, “Florida Right to Try Act”, which allows patients who have been diagnosed as a terminally ill to explore other treatments and products that are not yet FDA approved.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale
If you or a loved one has been arrested for aiding in the assisted-suicide, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney like Kevin J. Kulik who can help you navigate the criminal justice system. Contact Kevin J. Kulik today for a free and confidential consultation in the Fort Lauderdale area.