Suicide-Assist Ban In Legal Limbo After Kevorkian Acquittal

THE law designed to stop Jack Kevorkian instead helped get him off the hook.

In writing Michigan's ban on assisting in a suicide, lawmakers created a loophole that Dr. Kevorkian slipped through. Now the question is whether lawmakers can - or will - fix the problem by the time the measure expires on Nov. 25.

Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Kenny said after Kevorkian's May 2 acquittal that the measure is ``fraught with ambiguities'' and that lawmakers will have to rewrite it if they expect a conviction. The law allows for procedures that are intended to relieve suffering, even if they hasten death.

Kenny contended that provision was meant for doctors to prescribe experimental medication for terminal patients - not for Kevorkian to administer carbon monoxide. But Kevorkian said it applied to him. And the jury agreed with him, three jurors said after they pronounced their innocent verdict.

One lawmaker said it would probably take state Supreme Court action to spur the Legislature to redesign, or scrap, the temporary law. A commission created by the Legislature to study the issue couldn't even agree on a recommendation.

Three judges have already overturned the law as unconstitutional, and their rulings are now before the Michigan Court of Appeals. Kevorkian is leading a petition drive to get the assisted-suicide question on the Nov. 8 ballot in Michigan. Denver delays airport again

THE opening of the $3.2 billion Denver International Airport has been put off for the fourth time, again because of a high-tech computerized baggage system that shreds, spits out, or loses luggage.

Officials did not set a new opening date.

``I'm not going to hazard a guess,'' Mayor Wellington Webb on May 2 in announcing that the May 15 opening was scrapped.

The delay was caused by more glitches in the 21-mile automated baggage network. The $193 million system, designed by BAE Automated Systems Inc., failed critical tests on April 28.

The airport was supposed to open in October, but construction delays pushed it back to December. More construction problems and airline training needs delayed it further to March 9, and baggage system problems pushed it to May. The delay is costing $33 million per month, with the cost being split between the city and airlines, Mr. Webb said.

Denver International will replace Denver's Stapleton Airport. It is the first major airport built in the United States since the Dallas-Fort Worth airport opened in 1974.

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