William James once said, “In any project the important factor is your belief. Without belief there can be no successful outcome.” Dr. Jack Kevorkian believes… and believes… and believes in every terminal patient’s right to physician-assisted suicide. He famously said that “dying is not a crime.” Passion and purpose go hand in hand. When you discover your purpose, you will normally find it’s something you’re tremendously passionate about. And that is the simple reason why Geoffrey Fieger became the lawyer for “Dr. Death,” Dr Jack Kevorkian. Both Jack and Geoff forced us to pay attention to one of the biggest elephants in society’s living room: the fact that today vast numbers of people are alive who would rather be dead, people who have lives not worth living.
On the November 22, 1998, broadcast of 60 Minutes, Jack aired a videotape he had made on September 17, 1998, which showed the voluntary euthanasia of Thomas Youk, 52, an adult male of sound mind, who was in the final stages of ALS. After Youk provided his fully-informed consent on September 17, 1998, Jack himself administered a lethal injection to Youk. During the videotape, Jack dared the authorities to try to convict him or stop him from carrying out assisted suicides. This incited the prosecuting attorney to bring murder charges against Jack, claiming he had single-handedly caused the death of Youk. On March 26, 1999, Jack was charged with first-degree homicide and the delivery of a controlled substance. Jack was found guilty of second-degree homicide and the judge sentenced him to a 10-25 year prison sentence. Kevorkian was denied parole repeatedly. Terminally ill with Hepatitis C, which he contracted while doing research on blood transfusions in Vietnam, Jack was expected to die within a year in May 2006. He was paroled on June 1, 2007. He spent 8 years and 2 1/2 months behind bars rather than the predicted 10–25 years. Jack said he would abstain from assisting any more terminal patients with death, and his role in the matter would strictly be to persuade states to change their laws on assisted suicide. He is also forbidden by the rules of his parole from commenting about assisted suicide. Today, The Insider Exclusive will go “Behind the Headlines” as we visit with Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s lawyes, including his former trial lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, and his current lawyer, Mayer Morganroth, as well as journalist Jack Lessonberry, who has written extensively about Jack.
Mayer Morganroth is a high distinguished attorney who represented, among others, former Detroit Michigan mayor Coleman Young, and John DeLorean. In one of the most important “David-versus-Goliath” legal battles of recent years, it was Mayer Morganroth whose consummate legal skills won a $19 million dollar judgment for Murray Hill Publications against media giant 20th Century Fox in 2001. The best proof of the talent and skill of an attorney is that he is selected by another high-profile lawyer who is looking for legal help. Such was the case when Geoffrey Feiger, himself a nationally renowned attorney (with whom Mayer has worked in defense of Jack Kevorkian), asked Mayer to represent him in a recent case. But even in the sometimes electric atmosphere of a courtroom, Mayer is ingenious in displaying another of his many skills: the ability to assess a situation and handle it with just the right amount of seriousness– or, if need be, just the right amount of levity.
Geoffrey Fieger devotes himself to getting justice for his clients. He is a tireless and fearless champion for those whose rights have been violated. He was the Democratic Party nominee for Governor of the State of Michigan in 1998, and the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University recently named its school for the education of trial lawyers The Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute. In June 2008 after almost three years, Geoffrey, represented by the legendary Gerry Spence in his final trial, won his own court battle against the Gonzales/Rove/Bush Justice Department when he was acquitted on all counts of alleged illegal campaign donations. Geoffrey has two degrees from the University of Michigan (B.A., 1974; M.A.,1976) and received his law degree from the Detroit College of Law-Michigan State University (J.D., 1979). He is a member of the Michigan and Florida Bar Associations.
Fieger, Fieger, Kenney, Johnson & Giroux was founded over 50 years ago by Geoffrey’s father, Bernard Fieger, in a small house which still stands as the cornerstone of Fieger Law. Today, FFKJG is a 40,000-square-foot elegant edifice with 60 employees occupying a quarter mile of land in Southfield, Michigan—a near suburb of Detroit. Today, the Fieger Law Firm is the top personal injury firm in the country. People turn to Geoffrey Fieger and the other attorneys at the firm for help when they have been the victims of injustice, medical malpractice or personal injury.
You can contact Geoffrey Fieger at 248-355-5555, or www.fiegerlaw.com