State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Judge asks for briefs in assisted suicide case

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 10, 2013 10:50 PM

A Schuylkill County judge is asking for more information before she decides whether a woman will go on trial for allegedly helping her elderly father commit suicide.

State prosecutors say Barbara Mancini, a 57-year-old woman from Philadelphia, aided in the suicide of her 93-year-old father by handing him a bottle of morphine. He died days later in the hospital, after being resuscitated and receiving more morphine, defense lawyers say. They are asking the judge to dismiss the case.

Compassion and Choices, an end-of-life planning advocacy group, has for months waged a campaign protesting the charge brought against Mancini as asking the state attorney general's office to stop pursuing the case.

Gwen Fitzgerald, the group's director of communications, said the organization will keep supporting Mancini if the judge allows the case to go to trial.

"We will also continue to pressure Attorney General Kane to the last minute to drop these charges and we will continue to provide legal advice from Compassion and Choices to Barbara's legal defense team and stand with her 100 percent," Fitzgerald said.

The state attorney general's office is bringing the charge against Mancini after being referred the case by the Schuylkill County district attorney, who cited a conflict of interest.

Mancini's supporters say Pennsylvania's law against assisted suicide is being misapplied in the case, because she was trying to ease her father's suffering according to his own wishes.

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