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Ex-Kevorkian Lawyer Questions Plan

November 26, 1998

DETROIT (AP) _ Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s former attorney and legal sholars say the retired pathologist’s plan to represent himself in court to face a first-degree murder charge is a mistake.

``I can tell you what the results will be if he represents himself. He will go to jail and starve,″ Geoffrey Fieger said Thursday in a telephone interview from the Caribbean, where he is vacationing.

Kevorkian, who was charged Wednesday in the Sept. 17 death of Thomas Youk, said if he is convicted he will starve himself to death. He has gone on hunger strikes each of the two previous times he was jailed.

Kevorkian wants to act as his own attorney because ``either consciously or unconsciously, he wants to hurt himself,″ said Fieger, who stepped aside as Kevorkian’s attorney earlier this year. ``He has a self-destructive impulse that comes out regularly.″

Kevorkian stands accused of murder, criminal assistance to a suicide and delivery of a controlled substance in the death of 52-year-old Youk. Kevorkian said on ``60 Minutes″ Sunday that he injected Youk with a fatal dose of potassium chloride. Youk’s euthanization was broadcast nationally by the program.

In court Wednesday, lawyer David Gorosh told District Court Magistrate Robert A. Crawford that Kevorkian intends to represent himself while using a team of legal advisers.

Kevorkian did not comment to reporters on Wednesday, and there was no answer at his home on Thursday.

University of Michigan legal expert Yale Kamisar said he believes that Kevorkian’s temper is likely to be a problem in the courtroom.

``I’ve seen him explode...I’m afraid he’s going to get in a sharp dispute with the judge and prosecutor,″ Kamisar said.

Kamisar also said that while Kevorkian has the right to represent himself, ``the odds are fairly good the judge is going to say ’this just won’t work, we’ve got to get him a lawyer.‴

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