Dr. Eric Kress, who claims to have assisted three suicides, is either uniformed or disingenuous about the legality of assisted suicide as described in his guest column (April 7). The present law, as taken from the Baxter case, is that under certain circumstances a physician who assisted someone to kill himself has a defense to a charge of homicide. If the doctor is charged with homicide and convinces a jury of certain facts, he will not be convicted.
Kress claims instead that his conduct will be judged under House Bill 505, which if enacted, will clarify the law of assisted suicide in the future. HB505 is not retroactive and will not apply to Kress and his three cases. If he is convicted it will be under Baxter, not HB505.
I started out thinking that I was for legalizing physician-assisted suicide and moved to the other side after listening to the evidence. Legalizing physician-assisted suicide will lead to elder abuse. I support HB505, which clearly prohibits physician-assisted suicide.
Jim Shockley, Victor