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Encouraging Suicide Isnít a Crime, Minnesota Court Says
Wall Street Journal ^ | Mar 19, 2014 | JOE PALAZZOLO

Posted on 03/22/2014 1:58:25 PM PDT by nickcarraway

William Melchert-Dinkel, center, leaves the Rice County Courthouse with his attorney Terry Watkins, right, and wife, Joyce Melchert-Dinkel, in 2011. Associated Press Encouraging someone to commit suicide is not a crime, Minnesota’s high court ruled Wednesday, reversing the conviction of a nurse who urged people to hang themselves and let him watch via webcam.

William F. Melchert-Dinkel had been found guilty under a law that made it illegal to “advise, encourage, or assist” in a suicide.

The Minnesota Supreme Court concluded that advising or encouraging suicide was speech protected by the First Amendment and carved the words from the statute.

“We conclude that the State may prosecute Melchert-Dinkel for assisting another in committing suicide, but not for encouraging or advising another to commit suicide,” wrote Justice G. Barry Anderson for the majority.

The Rice County Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case, and a lawyer for Mr. Melchert-Dinkel didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; US: Minnesota
KEYWORDS: aca; suicide

1 posted on 03/22/2014 1:58:25 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway; All

Perhaps one of these days the citizens of Minnesota will make sure that their children are taught the differences between legislative, executive and judicial powers to make it more difficult for activist judges to usurp legislative powers.


2 posted on 03/22/2014 2:01:21 PM PDT by Amendment10
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To: nickcarraway

Does telling someone to ‘take a running jump’ or ‘drop dead’ encourage suicide? I’d say there’s a fine line between trash talk and this creepy “kill yourself while I masturbate” filth on the internet.


3 posted on 03/22/2014 2:03:10 PM PDT by Viennacon
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To: nickcarraway
OK,....

Then I Encourage all of you Liberals, Democrats, Progressives, and any of your supporters to “BITE The Bullet!”

4 posted on 03/22/2014 2:05:31 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty - Honor - Country! What else needs said?)
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To: nickcarraway

These judges should cut their own throats.


5 posted on 03/22/2014 2:07:19 PM PDT by Psalm 144 (FIGHT! FIGHT! SEVERE CONSERVATIVE AND THE WILD RIGHT!)
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To: little jeremiah

Does the Moral Absolutes ping list still exist?


6 posted on 03/22/2014 2:07:58 PM PDT by Clintonfatigued (The War on Drugs is Big Government statism)
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To: nickcarraway

Well in that case..liberals..Commie..progressive loons..do us all a favor and well ya know..jump off a cliff


7 posted on 03/22/2014 2:08:27 PM PDT by Sarah Barracuda
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To: Viennacon

Does telling someone to sign up for ACA encourage suicide?


8 posted on 03/22/2014 2:16:12 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Ask Will Pitt


9 posted on 03/22/2014 2:16:40 PM PDT by Viennacon
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To: nickcarraway

Good luck to anyone who wants to sit down and write laws covering every despicable, morally repugnant things people do. Then good luck enforcing them all.


10 posted on 03/22/2014 2:27:02 PM PDT by DManA
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To: nickcarraway

That’s above my pay grade.


11 posted on 03/22/2014 2:55:19 PM PDT by freedomfiter2 (Brutal acts of commission and yawning acts of omission both strengthen the hand of the devil.)
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To: Clintonfatigued

Yes it does, but I have been awol for quite a while. Got overwhelmed with one thing after another. It’s not that I don’t want to ever do it, I just do not have time now...

Someone else did offer to do it but he is barely pinging anything. If anyone else would like to help out and ping MA articles, I’d be glad to share the ping list.

I apologize - I started the MA ping list and I think it’s worthy to do, just can’t do it right now.

:-(


12 posted on 03/22/2014 2:58:05 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: nickcarraway

IMO, this is actually a good ruling. The problem with such a statute is that it is ripe for abuse by overzealous prosecutors. Aside from the obvious First Amendment concerns, there may moral hazards that result from such a statute, such as the diminution of people willing to counsel such persons.

“William F. Melchert-Dinkel had been found guilty under a law that made it illegal to “advise, encourage, or assist” in a suicide.”

The problem is the wording of the statute: “advise, encourage, or assist”. Who gets to characterize the nature of someone’s conversation with a another person who may be contemplating suicide? It seems to me that such a statute could potentially imperil counselors trying to work through the issues with such a person contemplating suicide. Say, for example, a counselor were to discuss various options a person may feel they have, one of which might be suicide. Under such a statute, I fear that law enforcement might be able to accuse a counselor doing so of “advising” or “encouraging” the person, just because suicide came up in their discussions. As I said, ripe for abuse.


13 posted on 03/22/2014 3:12:22 PM PDT by mtrott
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To: nickcarraway

So now there is also no such thing as hate speech, there is just end of life counseling?


14 posted on 03/22/2014 3:39:06 PM PDT by DaveyB ("When injustice becomes the law; rebellion becomes duty." - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: nickcarraway

I think this is something of a finesse point, which often happens in first amendment cases.

For example, if someone is pestering you, and you tell them to jump off a building, it could technically be construed as unlawful encouragement.

However, if you taunt someone you know to be psychologically fragile and suicidal, it is a different kettle of fish.

Likewise, if you encourage someone to kill themselves as part of a scheme to defraud, say to commit suicide but make it appear to be a homicide, for insurance money.

This case was particularly tricky, in that the motive could have been sexual gratification, sadism, or who knows what all else.

The bottom line is that the law should be rewritten by the legislature to take account of the complexity of the first amendment. This is not easy, as even the Supreme Court has fouled this up a few times and had to reverse itself.


15 posted on 03/22/2014 3:45:55 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy (WoT News: Rantburg.com)
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To: nickcarraway
"Encouraging someone to commit suicide is not a crime, Minnesota’s high court ruled Wednesday"

What should be encouraged is that the low-life members of Minnesota high court be indicted, tried, convicted, and executed for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

16 posted on 03/22/2014 4:05:58 PM PDT by Carl Vehse
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To: DaveyB
So now there is also no such thing as hate speech, there is just end of life counseling?

That's how I interpret it too.

It may be the correct ruling, but it's sure going to interfere with all of those anti-bullying statutes put in place to keep kids from going after other kids on the internet.

17 posted on 03/22/2014 4:44:20 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (Over production, one of the top 5 worries for the American Farmer every year.)
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To: Balding_Eagle

“but it’s sure going to interfere with all of those anti-bullying statutes put in place to keep kids from going after other kids on the internet. “

That is a very interesting point.

.


18 posted on 03/22/2014 4:54:17 PM PDT by Mears
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To: Balding_Eagle

“It may be the correct ruling, but it’s sure going to interfere with all of those anti-bullying statutes put in place to keep kids from going after other kids on the internet.”

IMO, that’s a good thing. This “bullying” with words thing has gotten way out of hand. Whatever happened to “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never harm me”? That was gospel back in the 1960s when I was coming up, and seemed to work pretty well. By agreeing to the premise that mere mean or ugly words about somebody are so injurious, we empower people to do just that.

Now if someone slanders or libels somebody, that is another matter, and should be handled legally, if necessary.


19 posted on 03/22/2014 5:07:57 PM PDT by mtrott
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To: mtrott

Sticks and stones hurt and we heal, but the words of someone can effect us greatly, especially our parents. When I think back, no other person’s words had as much impact on my self-image as my parents. Kids? none. Probably because I had a large family.


20 posted on 03/22/2014 10:34:57 PM PDT by huldah1776
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To: nickcarraway

soooo,
Then according to this court,
it is ok then for me to write obammy and the mooch encouring them both to off themselves?


21 posted on 03/23/2014 3:44:45 AM PDT by Joe Boucher ((FUBO) obammy lied and lied and lied)
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