He once attached a ball and chain to his leg and appeared in court and also burned court orders. It was all part of his controversial crusade to legalize assisted suicide.
When Farha asked if his flamboyant style led to his incarceration, Kevorkian's voice quickly sharpened: He shouted: "All the petitions and all the writing doesn't help. You must take action, and the action of necessity must be flamboyant because of its controversial nature.”
Today, Oregon is the only state that allows physician-assisted suicide. Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium also allow it.
Farha then asked if Kevorkian thought he could have been acquitted if he hired an attorney for the Youk case. Kevorkian chose to represent himself, despite being acquitted in previous trials.
Again, Kevorkian's voice rose to a boil.
"I didn't want success, I told you. I wanted the conviction!”
Students laughed when he added: "I'm not stupid. I know what I'm doing.”
Kevorkian repeatedly pointed to fear as a reason the public generally disagrees with his stance that assisted suicide is an inherent human right.
"Fear controls this country,” Kevorkian said.
He quoted French philosopher Voltaire, saying "it is dangerous to be right on matters in which the established authorities are wrong.” The Patriot Act was one example Kevorkian gave of fear dictating people's decisions.
He called the U.S a "Dark Age society.”
Assisted death: why, when
Kevorkian's tone softened when he explained the underlying reason for his stance on assisted suicide. "I don't like to see suffering humanity.”
But he then revealed something Farha said he'd never heard Kevorkian say before. Farha still expresses surprise when hearing Kevorkian say that psychiatric conditions could, in some instances, warrant assisted suicide.
"That's an extreme position,” Farha said this summer. "I wish I would have thought to ask him which conditions he was referring to.”
One student asked if Kevorkian, who said he is agnostic, would still believe euthanasia was ethical if he was a Christian.
"Euthanasia has nothing to do with religion. It's a medical problem,” Kevorkian said. "The person himself, the patient, has the right to choose.”
An automated voice interrupted the conversation: "You have one minute left.”
The professors thanked Kevorkian for his "courage” to stand up for his beliefs and make the secret call.
"They (the students) knew they had heard history,” Farha said.
"You people have had a very unusual experience,” Holmes told the students.