Following is the statement today by Judge Jessica Cooper of Circuit Court in Oakland County, Mich., to Dr. Jack Kevorkian before sentencing him to 10 to 25 years in prison:
This is a court of law and you said you invited yourself here to take a final stand. But this trial was not an opportunity for a referendum. The law prohibiting euthanasia was specifically reviewed and clarified by the Michigan Supreme Court several years ago in a decision involving your very own cases, sir.
So the charge here should come as no surprise to you. You invited yourself to the wrong forum.
Well, we are a nation of laws, and we are a nation that tolerates differences of opinion because we have a civilized and a nonviolent way of resolving our conflicts that weighs the law and adheres to the law.
We have the means and the methods to protest the laws with which we disagree. You can criticize the law, you can write or lecture about the law, you can speak to the media or petition the voters.Chúng ta có mọi phương tiện và mọi cách để phản đối luật pháp nếu chúng ta không đồng tình. Các bạn có thể chỉ trích, các bạn có thể viết hoặc giảng giải về luật pháp, các bạn có thể nói cho công chúng hoặc thỉnh cầu cử tri.
But you must always stay within the limits provided by the law. You may not break the law. You may not take the law into your own hands.
Nhưng các bạn phải luôn luôn tuân thủ những giới hạn yêu cầu bởi luật pháp. Các bạn không được vi phạm pháp luật. Các bạn không thể lấy luật pháp làm của riêng mình.
In point of fact, the issue of assisted suicide was addressed in this state by referendum just last November. And while the proponents of that were out campaigning, you were with Thomas Youk. And the voters of the State of Michigan said ''no.'' And they said no two-and-a-half to one.
But we are not talking about assisted suicide here. When you purposely inject another human being with what you know to be a lethal dosage of poison, that, sir, is murder. And the jury so found.
Now, you've vilified the jury and the justice system in this case. But every member of that jury had compassion and empathy for Thomas Youk. They had a higher duty that went beyond personal sympathy and emotion. They took an oath to follow the law, not to nullify it.
And I am bound by a very similar oath, sir.
No one is unmindful of the controversy and emotion that exists over end-of-life issues and pain control. And I assume that the debate will continue in a calm and reasoned forum long after this trial and your activities have faded from public memory.
But this trial is not about that controversy. The trial was about you, sir. It was about you and the legal system. And you have ignored and challenged the Legislature and the Supreme Court. And moreover, you've defied your own profession, the medical profession.