Judge fines assisted suicide group $30,000 for involvement in Minnesota woman’s 2007 death
A Minnesota judge on Monday fined the national right-to-die group Final Exit Network $30,000 on its criminal conviction for assisting a woman’s suicide in 2007 and interfering with the death scene.
Dakota County prosecutors had said during the group’s jury trial that Doreen Dunn, 57, died by helium asphyxiation with two Final Exit group members present in her home, who then cleaned up after the suicide.
Judge Christian Wilton also ordered Final Exit to pay nearly $3,000 in restitution, plus court fees. Final Exit is on probation and restricted from providing services in Minnesota until full payment is made.
Dunn, who lived in a Minneapolis suburb, was not terminally ill but a medical procedure had left her with chronic pain for more than a decade before her death, which had been originally attributed to coronary artery disease.
Authorities reopened the investigation in 2010 after Georgia investigators told police Dunn had become a Final Exit member months before her death and had many contacts with members.
A grand jury in May 2012 indicted the group and four of its members on various charges of assisting Dunn’s suicide. None of the individuals indicted stood trial.
Final Exit President Janis Landis said the group would appeal the convictions vigorously and pay the fine immediately because it did not want to be barred for any time from providing services in Minnesota.
Landis said in a statement the group was appealing to protect the free speech rights of Americans and to continue its “advocacy for competent adults to have the right to make their own end-of-life decisions.”
Final Exit has said its members can be present but do not encourage, provide the means for or assist in a person’s suicide.
Minnesota is not among the handful of states where assisted suicide is legal.