The Law and Assisted Suicide | Laws and Issues

Assisted suicide has been a topic of contentious debate across the United States for years. At the heart of the issue is a complex web of religious, medical, and ethical issues surrounding the value of life and individual freedom. Because many people have such strong feelings about these issues, it is difficult for people on different sides of the debate to see each others’ perspectives or reach a compromise.In the 1990′s, some highly publicized trials brought the legal side of this debate to a head. Several states, including Rhode Island, passed laws that specifically banned anyone from helping another person kill himself or herself. Prior to this, the act had been penalized under general homicide laws rather than any particular acts.


Rhode Island’s law about this difficult topic was passed in 1996. It is passed on a belief that anyone who wants to die is suffering from a mental issue that likely requires treatment. Indulging this person’s wish is therefore considered exploitation rather than aid.Reflecting the law’s basis on specific court cases, rather than the general topic, the law is written to only apply to licensed healthcare workers. Anyone else who participates in another person’s suicide will likely be tried under general homicide laws. Euthanasia, which is not necessarily performed with the victim’s consent, is also covered by pre-existing laws against murder.A healthcare worker can be convicted under this law of he or she provides a patient with the means to end his or her life, or participates in the physical act itself. It does not apply to palliative care that may increase the risk of death if the patient’s dying is not the intended outcome. It also does not apply to decisions to end life-saving measures in specific circumstances, such as a patient in a vegetative state who will not recover.If a person is convicted of assisting in a suicide attempt, he or she faces harsh penalties. He or she may spend up to 10 years in prison and/or be fined up to $10,000. There can also be civil penalties instead of, or in addition to, criminal charges. In fact, Rhode Island encourages surviving victims of this crime, or the families of deceased victims, to pursue civil penalties instead of criminal ones. This is intended to reduce the taxpayers’ cost of prosecuting this crime.


Other states have taken the opposite approach from Rhode Island, passing laws that allow aided suicide in some cases. There is simply no easy answer to this question.For more information about the laws surrounding this matter, contact Rhode Island defense lawyer James Powderly.

Business Law And The Small Business Owner | Laws and Issues

Business law is a branch of the legal system that deals with the issues, policies, rules and regulations which directly impact businesses and business operations. The complex nature of business law is enough that business owners and operators need to seek the advice, input, insight and guidance of lawyers specializing in business law. They need the lawyers help to ensure their business operates within the confines of the laws relevant to the business itself. Each industry and vertical market has specialized regulations specifically associated with that particular line of business, and the constant changing and amending of laws makes keeping track of business laws challenging. Having a good business lawyer on retainer is one way to help ensure your business operates legally at all times.


One area where business law has a direct impact is in regards to insurance claims. The process associated with filling out, submitting, tracking and monitoring insurance claims can be a taxing and time consuming process, and one which requires an attention to detail and proper record-keeping. Though for personal insurance issues, one could handle the process on their own, a business should have a designated person, department, or firm responsible for such actions so the process does not stall and all issues are pursued and promptly followed up on.To make running a small business and achieving a success, having a specialized attorney on staff or retainer is also a crucial element in making sure things operate smoothly. Owning, operating and even running a small business can be quite challenging; especially when legal concerns or issues come about. If you ever find yourself battling against legal processes, procedures or instances, finding and retaining the services of a business lawyer can help to ensure your business gets through the issue unscathed and unharmed. The use of a small business lawyer can help alleviate the burden of having to try and stay current on small business laws which are ever changing and evolving over time.


A small business attorney is a beneficial service for small business owners to both have and maintain. The benefits of a small business attorney are that the lawyer is educated, experienced and knowledgeable about the issues and policies which directly impact the small business owners. The use of a small business attorney can be situational or through a retainer agreement which allows you to work with the attorney on an as-needed basis.