MINNEAPOLIS – A former Minnesota nurse accused of visiting online chat rooms and encouraging people to kill themselves, and who was ultimately convicted of aiding two suicides, may learn Wednesday whether the state’s highest court accepts his argument of free speech.
William Melchert-Dinkel is challenging the state law used to convict him in 2011, saying he was merely offering support to the victims. His attorney has argued that the law – which states that anyone who “intentionally advises, encourages, or assists another in taking the other’s own life” is guilty of a crime – is too broad.
If the Minnesota Supreme Court tackles the law itself, rather than issuing a narrow ruling in Melchert-Dinkel’s case, the decision could have broad implications. The court put another assisted suicide case on hold, involving a national right-to-die group, pending its decision.
“My guess is the court is going to consider, head-on, the constitutionality…