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Assisted suicide doctor Kevorkian released on parole after 8 years in prison

[JURIST] Jack Kevorkian [BBC profile], a former doctor convicted of second degree murder for assisting the suicide of a patient with Lou Gehrig's disease, was released from prison in Michigan Friday after serving 8 years. Kevorkian, who will remain on parole for two more years, has pledged that he will not assist people in committing suicide and would seek to legalize assisted suicide [JURIST news archive] through legal means. Kevorkian was sentenced to between 10 and 25 years in prison in 1999. Russ Marlan, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) [official website], said that Kevorkian will be prohibited from providing care for anyone who is disabled or older than 62, and is also prohibited from demonstrating how to construct machines that patients could use to commit suicide.

Oregon is currently the only US state that officially permits physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs for terminally ill patients. Under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act [PDF text], which was upheld [JURIST report] by the US Supreme Court against a federal challenge, patients must file a written voluntary and capable request witnessed by at least two individuals, be examined by a consulting physician, submit to a mandatory 15-day waiting period, and other procedural safeguards before being able to obtain the assisted suicide medication. AP has more.

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