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Kevorkian Loses Fourth Early Parole Bid

COLDWATER, MICHIGAN--For the fourth time in as many years, the Michigan Parole Board last Thursday refused to grant Jack Kevorkian an early release from prison.

The decision means that the assisted suicide campaigner will probably have to stay behind bars at least until his first regularly scheduled parole hearing in June of 2007.

Even though Governor Jennifer Granholm has the power to pardon the 78-year-old "Dr. Death" or commute his sentence, she has refused to go against the board's past recommendations.

Kevorkian's attorney, Mayer Morganroth, petitioned the governor and the board last month, asking that Kevorkian be released early because his health has deteriorated to the point that he cannot receive the medical care he needs while in prison.

Morganroth explained that Kevorkian's personal doctor said he did not believe his client could survive another year behind bars.

According to the Associated Press, Corrections Department spokesman Russ Marlan said that the board's guidelines for granting a medical commutation require that the prisoner be expected to live less than one year. While Marlan said that the panel reviewed Kevorkian's health before making its decision, he would not say what was in the review.

Morganroth said that Kevorkian weighs just 113 pounds and has recently developed diabetes. He earlier said that his client has a long list of medical conditions, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, temporal arthritis, and active Hepatitis C.

Kevorkian, who admitted to helping at least 130 people to kill themselves, was convicted in March 1999 of second-degree murder after inducing the death of Thomas Youk, a man who had amyotropic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Kevorkian's conviction came after replaying Youk's videotaped death on the "60 Minutes" CBS television news magazine. He was sentenced to a 10 to 25 years in prison.

Many disability rights advocates have long opposed Kevorkian and his crusade to legalize assisted suicide. They have argued that doing so would essentially make it "open season" for people with disabilities who are often considered a "burden" on society -- particularly at a time when the cost of health care climbs. They have pointed out that many people Kevorkian helped end their lives were not in the final stages of terminal illnesses, but instead were in emotional, psychological or social crises, or had disabilities.

"Jack Kevorkian: Dr. Death" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

"Doesn't Jack believe in his own medicine?" (Inclusion Daily Express Weblog)

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