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Mock Trial

An innovative, hands-on experience in the law for high school students of all ages and abilities.

Steve Cole, a retired businessman, committed suicide in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with the assistance of his physician, Dr. Chris Jenkins, a local oncologist. Two months later, a grand jury indicted Dr. Jenkins for coercing or exerting undue influence on his patient to request medication for the purpose of ending his life, a first degree felony under the New Mexico Death with Dignity Act.

During a routine physical examination, Mr. Cole was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder. Upon the recommendation of his daughter/son, Alex, Mr. Cole sought treatment from Dr. Jenkins, whom Alex had known since college. Dr. Jenkins’ examination revealed that Mr. Cole’s cancer was in an advanced state, and that he was unlikely to survive for six months. Mr. Cole nevertheless began chemo- and radiotherapy, and Alex returned home from the East Coast to be with him. By the first part of May, although the patient was experiencing great pain from the symptoms of the disease and the side effects of the therapy, Dr. Jenkins found that the cancer had begun to respond to treatment. In her/his opinion, the disease remained incurable and irreversible, but s/he could no longer reliably predict how much longer Mr. Cole might live.

On May 29, however, Mr. Cole asked Dr. Jenkins to prescribe medication to end his life. Dr. Jenkins referred Mr. Cole to Dr. Kim Sikora, Chief of Oncology at Albuquerque’s Providence Hospital, who confirmed Dr. Jenkins’ diagnosis and her/his opinion that Mr. Cole’s request for physician assisted suicide was a voluntary and informed decision. On June 9, Dr. Jenkins prescribed a lethal dose of morphine elixir for Mr. Cole. Two days later, Dr. Jenkins dispensed the medication to Mr. Cole at his home, and s/he was with him when he died from an overdose of morphine.

Approximately two weeks later, Mr. Cole’s friend and neighbor, Pat Bordick, went to the police with certain evidence, including Mr. Cole’s journal, which in Ms/r. Bordick’s opinion indicated that Mr. Cole had been coerced or influenced by others in his decision to commit suicide. Following an investigation, Dr. Jenkins was indicted.

Both the prosecution and defense are ready to proceed in the matter of State of New Mexico vs. Chris Jenkins, MD.   REQUEST THIS CASE


Written by
Beth Brown and Brendan Sanchez, Albuquerque Academy

Adapted by Michelle Giger and Karl Johnson, Esq., Center for Civic Values

Thanks to Barbara McAneny, MD, New Mexico Cancer Center

At 7:12 AM on June 5, 1999, in Rye, New Mexico, a community of 50,000, a bomb detonated at the entrance of the Choices Clinic, a not-for-profit medical facility providing pregnancy counseling and abortion services. Dr. Jeanne Sands, a physician at the clinic who was arriving for work that morning, and another member of the clinic staff were killed instantly when the bomb exploded. Responsibility for the bombing has not been definitively determined, but public suspicion has focused upon Operation Save All Babies, a national anti-abortion organization that has a local chapter in Rye.

Dr. Sands had one child, Jordan Sands, born January 29, 1981. At the time of her/his mother’s death, Jordan had graduated from Rye High School, near the top of the class after maintaining a 4.1 cumulative grade point average. Her/his juvenile probation record reflects activity beginning in 1995 and continuing through 1999. Dr. Sands had divorced Jordan’s father, Edgar, in 1995 following several years of bickering and fighting in the home, due primarily to the harassment the family suffered because of Dr. Sands' employment at Choices.

On September 2, 1999, approximately 12 weeks after Dr. Sands’ death, Operation Save All Babies conducted a protest demonstration outside the Choices Clinic. Jordan waited around the clinic for approximately an hour before s/he began firing on the demonstrators using a semi-automatic pistol that s/he had taken from her/his mother’s closet. Two of the demonstrators, a local activist named Doris Reed and her grandson, were killed, and seven others were wounded in the gunfire. Also killed was an on-duty Rye police officer monitoring the demonstration, Denise Lucero, Jordan was arrested at the scene.

Jordan admitted that s/he fired the shots at the clinic and was charged with first degree capital murder for the deaths of the demonstrator, her grandson and Detective Lucero and attempted murder of the seven other demonstrators. At trial, Jordan did not dispute that s/he fired the shots that killed the three individuals, but asserted that s/he was not guilty by reason of insanity or in the alternative, that s/he lacked the necessary intent for first degree murder and was guilty, at most, of second degree murder. The jury rejected Jordan’s defenses and found her/him guilty of all charges.

At the sentencing hearing to determine if Jordan should receive the death penalty, the following witnesses will testify for the prosecution: Detective Barri/Barry Garcia, the arresting officer and an eyewitness to the crime; Kelly Patterson, Jordan's juvenile probation officer, and Chris Mitchell, MD, the state’s psychiatric expert. Witnesses for the defense include Jordan Sands, the defendant; Pat Stanton, the benefactor who founded Choices Clinic and a long-time friend of the Sands family; and, Toby Yasui, Ph.D., Jordan's therapist for the past four years.

Both the prosecution and the defense are ready to proceed in the sentencing hearing of State of New Mexico vs. Jordan Sands. REQUEST THIS CASE


Written by
Michelle Giger and Karl Johnson, Esq., Center for Civic Values

Thanks to Death Penalty Info Center, Susan Gibbs, Esq., Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation, Henry Valdez, Esq.

 

 

Center for Civic Values

Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

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