X-Message-Number: 7664
Date: Fri, 07 Feb 1997 11:56:40 -0700
From: David Brandt-Erichsen <>
Subject: More on Florida case

(Fri Feb 7/97)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - The matter of assisted suicide has reached the
Florida Supreme Court.  On Thursday, Charles Hall again won the right to
commit suicide with his doctor's help. Palm Beach Circuit Judge Lucy C.
Brown lifted the stay that prevented the 35-year-old from taking advantage
of an earlier ruling allowing him that option. Also Thursday, the 4th
District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach decided not to hear the Hall
case and passed it on to the state's high court.

Hall sued the state last year, claiming that he has a constitutional right
to determine how and when he dies. The suit asked the state not to prosecute
a physician who would prescribe a fatal dose of drugs at Hall's request. He
won his case in Palm Beach Circuit Court but the state appealed, which
placed an automatic stay on the ruling.

In her Thursday order, Brown said that if Hall were to die while his case is
on appeal, "he will have been forced to suffer a miserable and degrading
death, deprived of that more dignified and comfortable end to which he is
now legally entitled."  Within an hour of her ruling, the state filed an
emergency motion to reinstate the stay. The 4th District Court of Appeal
denied it. But Assistant Attorney General Michael Gross said he planned to
try again at the state's high court to get the stay reinstated. If the
Supreme Court upholds Brown's ruling, Hall, who contracted AIDS from a blood
transfusion, will be able to choose a physician-assisted death any time
during the appeal process.

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