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Judge John H. Hews; Denied Death Plea of Elizabeth Bouvia in 1983

January 15, 1989

John Hayden Hews, the state appellate court judge who denied quadriplegic Elizabeth Bouvia's writ to let her die, died Thursday night.

Hews, 60, was taken from his Riverside home to Riverside Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:24 p.m. of an apparent heart attack.

Hews, who served 19 years in state judgeships, was appointed by Gov. George Deukmejian to the appeals court in San Bernardino in August, 1986. Before that, he served in the Riverside Superior Court for 16 years, including three years as presiding judge. He was appointed to the Superior Court in 1970 by fellow Republican and then-Gov. Ronald Reagan.

At the time of his death he was an associate justice in Division 2 of the 4th District Court of Appeal, where he authored more than 150 appellate decisions.

While on the Superior Court bench, one of his cases was that of Bouvia, who had asked the court to order hospital officials to let her starve herself. Hews denied her petition in December, 1983.

Hews, a lifelong Riverside resident, attended Stanford University and after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War, received a law degree from UC Berkeley.

He is survived by his wife, Virginia, and four daughters.

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