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Appeals court rejects ABC request to interview Kevorkian

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  1. Newsgathering

    NMU         MICHIGAN         Newsgathering         Jun 8, 2001    

Appeals court rejects ABC request to interview Kevorkian

  • The ruling enforces the authority of prison officials to decide when an inmate may speak to the media.

ABC has lost its attempt to force the Michigan Department of Corrections to allow an on-camera interview with assisted suicide physician Jack Kevorkian, after a state appeals court on June 1 overturned a trial judge’s decision.

Last July a trial court sided with the network when it ordered prison officials to permit the interview. On appeal, the Department of Corrections argued that its administrative rules afford prison officials the authority to govern when and under what circumstances prisoners can speak with the media.

A three-judge appeals panel upheld the validity of the administrative rules and the authority of prison officials to deny requests they deem unreasonable or a threat to security.

The lawsuit was the result of an interview request by the news magazine program “20/20.” Kevorkian is serving a 10 to 25-year sentence for second-degree murder in 1998. The procedure, during which a terminally ill man died, was broadcast by CBS.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the request for a mandatory order by ABC was inappropriate because the Department of Corrections, an administrative body, could lawfully exercise their discretion without interference from the judicial branch.

(ABC v. Michigan Department of Corrections) EU

© 2001 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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