Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kevorkian Prosecutor Calls Trial `Circus-Like Sideshow'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Kevorkian Prosecutor Calls Trial `Circus-Like Sideshow'

Article excerpt

Jack Kevorkian went on trial Wednesday on a criminal charge of helping a 54-year-old woman kill herself in her home in Ionia last August.

But before the first witness was called, the prosecutor complained that the proceeding had degenerated into "a wild, circus-like sideshow."

At the end of a lengthy and emotional opening statement by Geoffrey Fieger, Kevorkian's lawyer, Ionia County Prosecutor Raymond P. Voet asked Circuit Court Judge Charles Miel to adjourn for the day to give Voet time to consider how to respond to what he charged were "illegal" and "untrue" assertions by Fieger. Miel adjourned the trial until today. Outside the 19th-century courthouse, Voet said he was considering asking for a mistrial or a set of instructions from Miel telling jurors what parts of Fieger's statement they should ignore. Voet said, "The rest of us are encumbered by the rules. This man plays by no rules. We won't get a fair trial if this continues." Specifically, Voet complained that Fieger made "personal attacks" on him and another prosecutor, Michael J. Modelski, and that he talked about a possible prison sentence for Kevorkian that should not be included in an opening statement to a jury. Fieger, well-known for his flamboyant tactics and inflammatory lan guage, made no apology. He accused Voet of being part of a "corrupt," religiously motivated effort to stop Kevorkian's practices at any cost. The increasingly bitter exchanges inside and outside the courthouse underscored the emotional nature of the debate over assisted suicide - an issue now before the Supreme Court. A ruling on whether terminally ill, mentally competent adults have a constitutional right to help in ending their lives could come this month. 45 Assisted Suicides Kevorkian, 69, a retired pathologist, has acknowledged taking part in 45 assisted suicideso. …

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