Former California politician charged with assisting the suicide of his wife

Steven Clute, former member of the California Assembly

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Steven Clute, a former member of the California Assembly, was charged with assisting the suicide of his wife, Pamela Clute. Pamela Clute died from a gunshot wound on August 21, 2016, at their home.

Her husband stated that the suicide was related to her severe pain.

According to the Associated Press article:

Steve Clute, 69, a former Navy pilot who served as a Democrat in the state Assembly from 1982 to 1992, allegedly gave her the handgun she used to take her life, John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside district attorney, said Monday.

The Clute assisted suicide trial may test the limits of the California assisted suicide law.

According to the AP story

While California’s assisted suicide law went into effect a couple months before Clute’s death, the law only applies to terminally ill patients who are prescribed life-ending drugs by a physician. Clute wasn’t terminally ill.

The AP article stated that Steve Clute was not present at the time of his wife’s death. Even if this is true, according to the law, it doesn’t matter.

The California Penal Code 401 – Aiding, Advising or Encouraging a Suicide states that it is a crime to: advise or encourage someone to commit suicide.
There were no independent witnesses at the time of the death.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.