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No jail for Lodian

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Posted: Monday, August 3, 2009 10:00 pm

A Lodi woman who helped her brother commit suicide was spared jail time Monday in a resolution that made a courtroom full of supporters break into applause.

June Hartley, now 44, will perform 250 hours of community service and serve three years on probation for her role in the Dec. 7 death of her brother, James "Jimmy" Hartley.

"This was a case of sisterly love and there were no hidden motives. Jim and June suffered terribly for three years, as did all of the family," their father, Clarence Hartley, said after court proceedings. "This is a lawabiding family that got caught in a terrible situation."

A jazz musician, 45-year-old Jimmy Hartley suffered strokes that left him wheelchair-bound and in constant pain. For months he repeatedly begged his sister to help him end his life, according to her attorney, Randy Thomas.

Two months after the death, prosecutors charged June Hartley with assisting suicide, a felony. After several discussions behind closed doors, they agreed that she would instead plead guilty to accessory after the fact. The jail time and level of crime - felony or misdemeanor - would be left up to Judge Franklin Stephenson.

After reviewing a probation officer's pre-sentencing report, as well as a report by a doctor who interviewed June Hartley, the judge said Monday that the crime would be a misdemeanor. She will serve no jail time as long as she does not violate terms of her probation.

"The court is in no way condoning the behavior of Miss Hartley, but there are a number of unusual circumstances," Stephenson said.

June Hartley had no criminal record and was working in administration at University of California, Berkeley, when her brother fell ill. He moved from Modesto to their mother's Lodi home, and June Hartley soon moved in to help care for him.

Jimmy Hartley breathed in the helium from two tanks his sister rented, a method of suicide outlined in a book Lodi police found in the Hartley home, according to prosecutors.

For her involvement, June Hartley could have faced up to three years in state prison. Instead, the misdemeanor conviction will make it easier for her to go back to work, said Thomas, who assured the judge that his client won't be back in court for any other matters.

June Hartley declined to comment, nor did she make a statement to the judge or a probation officer. After leaving the courtroom, she hugged the throngs of supporters, most of them Grace Presbyterian Church members who have attended every court hearing.

Unlike previous post-court hallway gatherings, on Monday she smiled broadly at the crowd. A few people shed tears, including one woman who was comforted by a friend, who said, "It's OK. She's not going to jail."

Her father at one point made a brief speech thanking Thomas and cracking a joke about how he'd once thought of the lawyer as a "rat," but knew he'd want Thomas on his side if he needed legal help.

Minutes later, Clarence Hartley was more serious as he talked quietly about the right-to-die issue, saying that most opponents haven't watched loved ones suffer.

"When you're in pain 24/7, you can't sleep - I'm sorry," the Angels Camp man interrupted himself as he lost his composure and fought back tears.

Thomas praised the judge, probation officer and prosecutors for the case resolution.

Deputy District Attorney Sherri Adams did not oppose Monday's outcome, and had said that her office wanted assurances, provided by the doctor and probation officer, that June Hartley was not a danger to the community.

Contact reporter Layla Bohm at layla@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 1:46 am on Fri, Aug 7, 2009.


    another example where the legal system has lost total touch with reality.

  • posted at 1:31 pm on Wed, Aug 5, 2009.


    ordinarycitizen: Is there any circumstance in which you would agree to help a loved one end their misery? Think severe circumstances here.

  • posted at 7:49 am on Wed, Aug 5, 2009.


    Regardless of your own opinion about her actions, thank God every day that someone you love isn't in pain and asking to die. Walk a mile in thier shoes before you decide they belong in prison!

  • posted at 7:49 pm on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    To dogs/commonsense : "It is evident to me the people you knew were not in the amount of pain that June Hartly`s brother was." What an audacious and arrogant statement to have made. First of all, the "people" that I knew was my brother and my mother. My mother died of lung cancer due to poor choices, having smoked since she was 9, and my brother died of a terrible disease. I have only seen one other person in the amount of pain that my brother was in and she was a dear friend who died of cancer. She had tumors popping up all over her body like popcorn. The pain was so bad that to touch her would send her screaming. I have watched suffering and I have seen the effects of pain, however, not once have I ever seen them begging their loved ones to kill them. My brother did the loving thing and appointed an executor to decide when to pull life support. Thankfully, God decided when he would take his last breath. My love for my brother was just as real & loving as June's was and to say anything less would be unkind.

  • posted at 3:49 pm on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    Justice was served in this case.

  • posted at 3:14 pm on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    ordinarycitizen:I am soo sorry that you missunderstand, that was not my intention, however, please be advised that you are tasked to have your own opinion, and not hide behind your idols, I am always here and will keep you and others honest..

  • posted at 9:51 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    "No jail for Lodian"Thank God! Our hearts go out to June Hartley and the Hartley family. May your brother rest in peace and may you find the strength and the ability to move forward from this terrible ordeal. I wish you peace in the knowledge that you did the right thing. God knows your heart. God bless you!

  • posted at 9:18 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    love broncos wrote on Aug 4, 2009 12:30 PM:" I too support June. I would do the same for my brother, for sure. I am glad for her and her family. I can only hope that she is at peace with her decision, knowing that her brother is no longer in pain."Though I did not know the whereabouts of my father as he lay suffering & dying of 13 Cancer Tumors for a year in a VA hospital, had I been able to be at his side I too would have helped him to "Die peacefully, and with Dignity"! I was only contacted by the Operator thru a emergency phone # passed onto me. I never got to say good-bye to my father or let him see his 6 week old grand-daughter.June, so many support the love you had and will always feel towards your brother. Never forget for a moment.... "You did the right thing"!

  • posted at 9:13 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    Cogito wrote on Aug 4, 2009 8:39 AM:" This woman will have to live every day of her life knowing she killed her brother. That's punishment enough."You have it "Backwards Cognito! She will live the rest of her live with peace in her heart & Soul that her brother is free from suffering! He had a right to die with "Dignity" not lay there withering away in pain until finally he breathed his last breath!

  • posted at 8:57 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    out of the ordinary, and June 74, you can`t be serious, Jimmy Hartly`s passing was with a bottle of helium, God didn`t have a thing to do with it, if God had just a small part to play in Hartly`s death, he would still be screaming in pain. Though June Hartly will have to live with this for the rest of her life, she has allot of supporters saying she did the right thing, along with a judge that felt enough compassion to give her a sentence she and all other involved with can live with.

  • posted at 8:42 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    just plain ordinary, if you had read my post from yesterday, you would have given your opinion a rest today. It seems there is a Bible quote for every occasion, Exodus 20 seems to be your back-up, bail out for today. I don`t ask God for anything and in return don`t need to hear anything from him. It is evident to me the people you knew were not in the amount of pain that June Hartly`s brother was. As I said yesterday, pain is a great motivator and with no end in sight a person has little or no recourse but to take matters into his own hands and request someone help end his pain racked life, I know I would. The people of Oregon have spoken, and I agree. Dr. Jack Kevorkian was criticized for his beliefs, though he helped people that wanted to end their life die with dignity, so don`t shoot the messenger. Perhaps Mazie will pray for you since you most certainly need it, she does for all nut jobs.

  • posted at 8:33 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    She was the abcomplice she provide the tools for her brother to commit death to himself . she has to live with that. I believe the courts made the right decision in this case.THE Right to die is not in her Hands it was in GOD's.

  • posted at 8:19 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    Jim Hartley went through an absolute nightmare, but it would have been worse had "unoridinarycitizen" been his sister. Nothing oridinary about this............I don't know what you call this type of ?????????

  • posted at 7:31 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    To Robb: You are contradictory and incongruous in your beginning statement to me. We have the right to agree to disagree - what, as long as it agrees with your point of view? I am not wrong considering it is my opinion. Robb your command for me to 'grow up', is incongruous due to the fact that I am disagreeing with your opinions. Why is it that if a person disagrees, they are wrong? This is a blog, a dialogue where all opinions should be voiced in a safe manner, and where agreeing to disagree should be respected. But, there have been many times over when I have read these blogs where respect has been lost in the fray of who is right and who is wrong. The final judge of who is right and wrong will be God himself, and sadly, on that day, many will find themselves lacking and will fall way short. God and His character is one who doesn't change according to the whims and the tides of political correctness or human feelings. His commands are quite clear in Exodus 20, thou shalt not commit murder. His commands dictate my moral compass and my opinions.

  • posted at 7:30 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    I too support June. I would do the same for my brother, for sure. I am glad for her and her family. I can only hope that she is at peace with her decision, knowing that her brother is no longer in pain.

  • posted at 7:29 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    My reading of Obamacare says that this will become the norm. Get rid of the sick and infirm. How could they even prosecute this criminal with that coming down the road?

  • posted at 7:03 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    ordinarycitizen:We all have the right to agree or not, in this case you are wrong, I myself attended every single court hearing, and consider June and her brother as family..What she did was godly and humane, grow up..

  • posted at 5:12 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    ordinarycitizen: Yesterday's story was a brief breaking news update. The day-of updates aren't the final versions of the stories, so that's why they don't show up when the final story is published. They do, however, show up in archive searches. Yesterday's update still has the same address at http://lodinews.com/articles/2009/08/03/update/hartleyweb.txt(This happens with all breaking news updates.)

  • posted at 4:33 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    Ordinary: For me personally, it would be more of a burden have them continue to suffer because I denied their request for help.

  • posted at 4:20 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    So why burden a loved one more by asking them to help kill you? That would put such a burden of guilt onto a loved one. Pain is horrific. I have an autoimmune disease and live with pain every single day. At it's worst, the thought of death was very real, however, that's where my faith came in. And God has given me his strength and mercy to get through each day. As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, I truly am sorr for June's brother's suffering. However, it still doesn't make it right to help somebody end one's life. The right to die agenda is a very dangerous one and thankfully 35 states have laws against it, three have some type of law against it, 5 have vague laws against it and Oregon is the only state in the Union that has legalized the so called mercy killing law - or Euthanasia. We euthanize our pets, but euthanizing people should never be in a person's thinking. Human life is sacred and God breathed, and I believe that only God has the final say in when we take our last breath. And if my brother were alive, he would agree 100%.

  • posted at 4:12 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    I wonder why LNS deleted the original article from yesterday's news index? I made my opinion clear, as did others in this blog, and mind you, this is my opinion, that I felt what June Hartley did was wrong and tantamount to murder. Look up the definition to suicide and killing, both lead to death, one by one's own hand and the other by somebody elses. Having said that, I have watched loved ones suffer far too many times - a beloved brother who suffered for months in pain on life support. A mother who suffered for two plus years from lung cancer, a brother in law from the same disease my brother died of. Not one of my family members begged or asked me to kill them. I have known plenty of people who have suffered. I sat by the bedside of a dear friend for three months as she lay dying of a terrible disease. Not once did my friend ask me to kill her. When watching a loved one die, so many emotions wax and wane throughout the process, and those dying know this.

  • posted at 3:46 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    Personally, the God I believe in is one of mercy and compassion and I could never judge anyone who helped end a loved one's suffering from constant, UNTREATABLE pain.

  • posted at 3:39 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    This woman will have to live every day of her life knowing she killed her brother. That's punishment enough.

  • posted at 3:33 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    It is sad that in our society you can not die as you wish to.

  • posted at 3:25 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    "Sherri Adams...wanted assurances...that June Hartley was not a danger to the community." LOL, do you think she is driving around town with a trailer full of helium tanks? Dumb, dumb, dumb. T & C: good response to tanner b(ackwards)

  • posted at 3:16 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    tanner b wrote on Aug 4, 2009 7:59 AM:" june hartley decides when someone elses life should be over? thought that job belonged to someone else ".As usual you have it "BACKWARDS tanner!June did NOT decide it was time for him to "Die with Dignity"! Her brother did!

  • posted at 3:15 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    I am glad the Court did the right thing! No one should have to suffer 24-7 with no chance of recovery. When you are suffering terribly 1 hour is like 1 day. I will pray for everyone who does NOT feel the judge did the right thing!

  • posted at 3:13 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    The court did the right thing for sure!!!

  • posted at 2:59 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    june hartley decides when someone elses life should be over? thought that job belonged to someone else

  • posted at 1:11 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    a hero in my book

  • posted at 12:31 am on Tue, Aug 4, 2009.


    I'm glad to see the court did the right thing in this case.



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