Judge refuses to dismiss himself in Kevorkian case



OYAL OAK, Mich. (AP)—The judge who jailed suicide Dr. Jack Kevorkian rejected a request Wednesday to step down from the case because his first wife committed suicide.

‘‘What happened 20 years ago has no bearing in this case,’‘ District Judge Daniel Sawicki said after Kevorkian’s attorney, Michael Schwartz, argued that the judge might have a bias against Kevorkian stemming from his wife’s death.

‘‘I have dealt with my problems in a very adequate fashion. Whatever my first wife did, she did because she had problems,’‘ said Sawicki, whose ruling later was upheld by District Chief Judge Terrence Brennan.

Kevorkian, who has been present at 20 deaths since 1990, was jailed Tuesday when he didn’t post a $50,000 cash bond.

The 65-year-old retired pathologist is charged with violating Michigan’s law banning assisted suicide in the Oct. 22 death of Merian Frederick at his Royal Oak apartment in Oakland County.

He faces two similar charges in neighboring Wayne County.

Kevorkian refused food during his second day in a private cell in Oakland County Jail. However, he drank orange and apple juice, and took vitamins.

Last month, Kevorkian went on a hunger strike for three days in the Wayne County Jail.

He was jailed after refusing to pay a higher bond set by a judge who determined he was violating conditions of his release by helping others commit suicide. Kevorkian was then bailed out by a lawyer who thought the doctor was getting too much publicity.

Kevorkian has repeatedly threatened to starve himself if jailed because he believes the assisted suicide law he’s accused of violating is unconstituional.

If convicted, he could face four years in prison and a $2,000 fine on each count.