Judge throws out charges against ex-right-to-die head in death of Minn. woman


Charges have been dismissed against a former head of a national right-to-die group accused in the death of a Minnesota woman, The Associated Press reports.

Dakota County Judge Karen Aspahug late Friday threw out charges against Thomas Goodwin, the former president of Final Exit Network, in the 2007 death of Doreen Dunn from Apple Valley.

Dunn committed suicide in her home. Goodwin, 66, of Punta Gorda, Fla., and three other members of the Final Exit Network were charged in the death.

Goodwin was charged with felony aiding and abetting assistance of a suicide; and gross misdemeanor aiding and abetting in the interference with a death scene.

Prosecutors argued that the defendants provided the woman with information and support to follow through with the suicide, but Aspahug ruled that that state's law against advising suicide is overboard and therefore unconstitutional, The AP reported.

According to The AP, Final Exit members claim they do not encourage suicide, and that giving information and emotional support may be interpreted as "encouraging" under the state's assisted suicide law.

They also reportedly challenged the constitutionality of the law, citing the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Most of the charges against the other three members stand were upheld.

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