Organs from death row

April 25, 2011
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A news article about an Oregon man on death row made me consider something I never had before: organ donation from those put to death.

Christian Longo wants to donate his organs after he’s executed by lethal injection. The 37-year-old was convicted of killing his wife and three children. He says he’ll drop his appeals if he’s allowed to donate. Interesting bargaining chip, as appeals can last years and be costly.

His request has been rejected, as have the requests of other death row inmates who want to donate organs. In Indiana, Gregory Scott Johnson wanted to donate part of his liver to his sick sister. Johnson believed the Indiana Parole Board violated the Indiana Constitution by denying his request. Gov. Mitch Daniels also denied clemency, saying doctors had recommend the sister try to find a donor through conventional methods and there was no clear medical advantage to receiving Johnson’s liver, according to news accounts. Johnson was executed in May 2005.

There are many arguments against allowing death row inmates to donate organs. The lethal injections could harm or impact the organs. Who would pay for tests on these organs to see if they are usable? Will death row inmates be coerced into donating their organs or more people sentenced to die with the hope of donating the organs? In China, the majority of donated organs come from prisoners.

But, to play devil’s advocate, what if there is no harm from the injections to the organs and they could be used to save people’s lives? In Indiana, there are 35 people awaiting heart transplants, more than 1,200 who need a kidney transplant, and 97 awaiting liver transplants. There are more than 1,400 people in Indiana and more than 110,000 nationwide who are awaiting transplants.

Why shouldn’t someone who freely makes the decision to donate his or her organs be allowed to do so? They aren’t going to need them after death.

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  • Organs From Death Row
    Sure, why not. Only as long as it is OK with the Death Row person. I do not think it would be acceptable to do it afterwards without their consent beforehand.

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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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