Monthly Archives: June 2016


In Myers v. Schneiderman, 2016 NY Slip Op 03457 (decided on May 3, 2016), the First Department was called upon to decide whether or not the relevant provisions of the Penal Law are applicable to “assisted suicide” also called “aid-in-dying”.

The Court summarized the legal background:

Nearly 20 years ago, the United States Supreme Court [in Vacco v. Quill] held that New York’s prohibition against assisting one who attempts suicide does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment when enforced against a physician who assists in hastening the death, through the prescription of lethal medication, of a mentally competent, terminally ill patient who is suffering great pain and desires to die…The Supreme Court also held, in an opinion published the same day as Vacco, that Washington State’s own ban on assisted suicide (since overturned by legislation in that state), considered in the same context, does not violate substantive due process under the US Constitution…Now, a group of plaintiffs composed of physicians, patients and advocates for the terminally ill, including some who were plaintiffs in Vacco, seek a declaration that the ban on physician assisted suicide, which they call “aid-in-dying” (a term we use here) violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the State Constitution. They also seek a declaration that, as a matter of statutory construction, the relevant Penal Law provisions are not applicable to aid-in-dying.

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