Today Georgia’s Supreme Court ruled that “the Georgia law violated the free speech guarantees of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the corresponding provision of the Georgia Constitution”. This ruling directly implies that the four Final Exit Network volunteers (among which WFRtDS’ President Ted Goodwin) who were arrested in 2009 and since then released on bail, were abrubtly freed from prosecution by the Georgie Bureau of Investigation. Ted Goodwin, Lawrence Egbert, Nicholas A. Sheridan and Claire H. Blehr – nicknamed The Georgia Four – argued that the Georgia law prohibited speech about assisted suicide, while doing little or nothing to accomplish the state’s goal of discouraging the actual assistance in a suicide.
The Supreme Court agreed saying:
“Although the State attempts to portray [the statute] as simply a ban on assisted suicide, the clear language of the statute demonstrates otherwise… The State has failed to provide any explanation or evidence as to why a public advertisement or offer to assist in an otherwise legal activity is sufficiently problematic to justify an intrusion on protected speech rights.“
For details see FEN’s press release.
Text of the ruling can be downloaded here.