Prosecutors’ Role in Assisted Suicide

SSRN has posted a new article, Justins v. the Queen: Assisted Suicide, Juries and the Discretion to Prosecute examining an Australian case and arguing that prosecutors should very rarely charge defendants in cases of assisted suicide. The author notes that the British Crown Prosecution Service has developed guidelines for prosecutors regarding such charges. The guidelines can be found here.

Under the guidelines, there are sixteen factors that may support prosecution, including failing to discourage the suicide; assisting a person capable of committing suicide without assistance; or assistance rendered by a healthcare professional. The suspect reporting the victim’s suicide to the police and fully assisting them in their enquiries is one of the six factors supporting non-prosecution.

Faunce, Thomas Alured, Justins v. the Queen: Assisted Suicide, Juries and the Discretion to Prosecute (July 10, 2011). Journal of Law and Medicine, Vol. 18, pp. 706-715, 2011. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1883206

Teresa Collett

Teresa Stanton Collett is a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches bioethics, property law, and constitutional law. A nationally prominent speaker and scholar, she is active in attempts to rebuild the Culture of Life and protect the institutions of marriage and family. She often represents groups of state legislators, the Catholic Medical Association, and the Christian Medical and Dental Association in appellate case related to medical-legal matters. She represented the governors of Minnesota and North Dakota before the U.S. Supreme Court as amici curiae regarding the effectiveness of those states’ parental involvement laws. She has served as special attorney general for Oklahoma and Kansas related to legislation designed to protect the well-being of minors and unborn children. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and has testified before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittees on the Constitution, as well as numerous legislative committees in the states.