How a Michigan Congressional Candidate Let ‘Dr. Death’ Off the Hook

A Michigan Democratic congressional candidate says he has no regrets about declining to prosecute the infamous assisted-suicide advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian, more commonly known as “Dr. Death” for his role in killing 130 terminally ill patients. Nor does he think there’s anything wrong with taking campaign money from Kevorkian’s defense attorney.

As prosecutor, Carl Marlinga was in charge of investigating a potential homicide by Kevorkian. Hugh Gale, sick with emphysema, was found dead at the age of 70 from inhaling carbon monoxide from a machine created by Kevorkian, and evidence found by a local Macomb County, Mich., resident indicated that Gale’s death was manslaughter at the hands of Kevorkian, whose critics alleged he was getting away with killing vulnerable individuals like Gale for years. One of Kevorkian’s assistants left a journal entry in a garbage bag that suggested Gale asked that his carbon monoxide mask be removed in the middle of the procedure, indicating he did not want to follow through with his assisted suicide.

Marlinga, now running as a Democrat in Michigan’s 10th Congressional District against Republican John James, told the Washington Free Beacon he wouldn’t change a thing about his 1993 decision as a Macomb County prosecutor not to follow through with charges against Kevorkian. Marlinga at the time said the new evidence suggested “that the death was involuntary and that at the last minute the patient changed his mind,” but in the end, he never pressed charges. 

Instead Marlinga believed Kevorkian’s claim that he followed a rigid protocol, ensuring that Gale consented to the procedure. The damning note discovered by the local resident, Kevorkian’s attorney Geoffrey Fieger argued, was not evidence that a crime took place.

“There’s no regrets with how it was handled,” Marlinga said. “The prosecutor is not there as part of a morality play, a prosecutor just has to be there to see if the evidence establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

When pressed about whether it was appropriate to receive $1,000 in campaign donations from Kevorkian’s attorney shortly after dropping the case, Marlina brushed the fact off as not unordinary.

Questions about Marlinga’s


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