In Depth Look at the Law: China Death Vans and China's Widespread Corruption - There is No Fairness in China's Criminal Justice System

Corruption of China's Communist Party

It has been reported that there is widespread corruption among Chinese government officials including graft, bribery, use of official position for personal gain, blackmail, misuse of public money, and extortion. [161] One source cites graft and bribery as constituting over 50% of the economic crimes in China.[162]

Under the current Chinese government, the rights of individuals are always subject to the drafting of new legislation that may suspend those rights. [163] Moreover, violations of those rights guaranteed by the Chinese constitution are generally not enforceable against the government because of the lack of checks and balances in the system. [164]

The Communist Party always takes precedent over the independent rule of law. [165] Chinese citizens may only exercise their right to freedom if their behavior does not infringe upon the interests of the society and the state. [166] Research has indicated that Chinese citizens who engage in promoting freedom of expression are arbitrarily arrested, detained, tortured, and convicted. [167]

Many crimes involving expression of ideas or even an association with an idea or movement that differs from the party line are classified as political crimes. [168] The ensuing trials are held in secret, excluding observers and even lawyers, under the excuse of maintaining state secrets.[169]

Economic gain from organ harvesting

China sells organs of executed prisoners on a large scale for profit under the guise of state secrets. [170] China has a system that readily sentences, condemns, and executes human beings so that their organs can be sold by government officials for personal gain. [171]

Arrestees are often denied immediate access to legal representation following their detention. [172]  Chinese police even take extreme steps to limit defense attorneys from assisting their clients. [173]

For example, Chinese police severely limit the length and number of times a defendant is allowed to meet with his attorney, require the attorney to brief police concerning the nature of the conversation prior to the meeting, cancel meetings that are intended to cover topics that are not preapproved, and severely restrict the attorney's access to the prosecution's evidence. [174]

Torture Is An Accepted Practice

Moreover, torture is often used to elicit confessions. [175]  International organizations have documented the widespread abuse and torture of prisoners occurring at all types of detention facilities and legal institutions in China. [176]

One individual reported that he was forced to confess to a crime after undergoing torture perpetrated by the police that included electrical shock applied to the toes, fingers and genitals, beating with heavy chains and sticks, and injection of hot pepper, gasoline, and ginger into his nose. [177] Thus, it is not surprising then that China refuses to accept the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which allows for regular international inspection of detention centers.[178]

Injustice is Inherent in China's Criminal Justice System

In addition to the arrest and detention of prisoners, trials are often held before defendants are provided adequate time to prepare a defense. [179] Defendants do not have a guaranteed right to cross-examine witnesses. [180]

In addition, verdicts and subsequent sentences are often determined by private committees prior to a proper trial. [181]Unfortunately, it is quite common for a court to have reached a verdict before the defendant even enters the courtroom. [182]

Appeals may be rejected based on a mere summary examination of the case by a judge in his chambers. [183] Official statistics released by the Chinese government note that the conviction rate for all crimes between 1998 through 2002 was 99.1%, an almost perfect conviction rate, which is troubling considering the reports of torture being used to force confessions and the denial of adequate legal representation.[184]

Even though the Supreme People's Court is now supposed to review all death penalty cases, one researcher discovered that during a two and a half month period in early 2007, at least thirteen people were executed without their cases being reviewed and approved by the high court.[185]

Hospitals are Involved in the Death Penalty Process - It's a Profit Center for Them

Once a prisoner is convicted and sentenced to death, the hospital system becomes involved with the harvesting of the organs. [186] With China's social medical system, the government controls all medical personnel and hospital facilities. [187] Such strict controls prevent medical personnel from questioning the source of the organs used in transplants or their duty to perform the transplants. [188] Furthermore, medical personnel are sworn to secrecy regarding the organ transplantation work they perform. [189] Often, they are presented with donor bodies that have bullet holes in the head or other wounds common in execution victims.[190]

Under the communist system, many rural hospitals suffer from a severe shortage of funding. [191] In the face of these conditions, some hospitals are forced to resort to creative ways to generate revenue, including the sale of organs harvested from prisoners. [192]

Hospitals have the unique ability to generate large amounts of revenue from organ transplants. [193] The Organ Transplant Center of the Armed Police General Hospital located in Beijing posted literature stating, "Our Organ Transplant Center is our main department for making money. Its gross income in 2003 was 16,070,000 yuan. From January to June of 2004 income was 13,570,000 yuan. This year (2004) there is a chance to break through 30,000,000 yuan." [194] Due to increased revenue and demand, six new hospitals dedicated solely to organ transplants were constructed between 2001 and 2004.[195]

The majority of the money generated from the sale of organs of executed prisons goes to the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the Chinese military. [196]

China's military is a fully functioning business, sanctioned by the government to raise money for military activities and make up for the lack of resources provided by the government. [197]Most of the hospitals partaking in the sale of the harvested organs are run by the PLA.[198]

The PLA has a close relationship with the prison system as well as the justice system, ensuring that a great number of the victims are actually condemned because of their political or religious beliefs. [199] Chinese military members not only have access to the prison system in China but also to the prisoners themselves. [200]

The PLA's interactions with these prisons and prisoners are more secretive than those of the civilian government, and they are impervious to Chinese laws. [201] A former doctor of the PLA stated that his job required him to remove the corneas and skin from the corpses of over one hundred executed prisoners, which included a few victims of intentionally botched executions. [202] The hospital paid the Higher People's Court a specific dollar amount for each corpse, although no receipts or records of the exchange were documented.[203]
[161]. Lin, supra note 145, at 5-6.
[162]. Id.
[163]. Brown, supra note 1, at 1050.
[164]. Id.
[165]. R.P. Peerenboom, Article: What's Wrong with Chinese Right?: toward a Theory of Right with Chinese Characteristics, 6 HARV. HUM. RTS. J. 29, 33 (1993).
[166]. Id.
[167]. Daniel C. Turack, Article: the New Chinese Criminal Justice System, 7 CARDOZO J. INT'L & COMP. L. 49, 63-64 (Spring 1999)
[168]. Executed, supra note 5, at 21.
[169]. Id.
[170]. Brown, supra note 1, at 1075.
[171]. Organs, supra note 4, at 15 (statement of N.Y. Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman, Member, Comm. on Int'l. Relations).
[172]. Executed, supra note 5, at 1.
[173]. Id. at 21.
[174]. Id.
[175]. Id. at 1.
[176]. Id. at 13.
[177]. Repression, supra note 10, at 6.
[178]. Executed, supra note 5, at 13.
[179]. Id. at 1.
[180]. Id.
[181]. Id.
[182]. Id. at 28.
[183]. Executed, supra note 5, at 1.
[184]. Id. at 3.
[185]. Repression, supra note 10, at 7.
[186]. See Id. at 42-43 (statement of Harry Wu, Executive Dir., The Laogai Research Foundation).
[187]. Brown, supra note 1, at 1072.
[188]. Id.
[189]. Id.
[190]. Id.
[191]. Bloody, supra note 67, at 8.
[192]. Id. at 9.
[193]. Id.
[194]. Id. at 9-10.
[195]. See Id. at 44.
[196]. Organs, supra note 4, at 15 (statement of N.Y. Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman, Member, Comm. on Int'l. Relations).
[197]. Bloody, supra note 67, at 9.
[198]. Organs, supra note 4, at 15 (statement of N.Y. Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman, Member, Comm. on Int'l. Relations).
[199]. Id.
[200]. Bloody, supra note 67, at 10.
[201]. Id. at 10-11.
[202]. Organs, supra note 4, at 57 (statement of Wang Guoqi, former doctor, Chinese PLA Hospital).
[203]. Id.

In Depth Look at the Law: China Death Vans and Harvesting Prisoner Organs for Profit

Due to reports of the torture and anguish of prisoners and the secrecy surrounding the death penalty's application in China, it is virtually impossible to independently verify that any executed prisoners truly gave consent for the use of their organs.[100]

Chinese prisoners are generally not notified of their impending execution until just hours before it occurs.[101] As a result, donor consent is rarely obtained in spite of it being a lawful requirement. [102]The family members of the condemned prisoners are also rarely informed of the execution.[103]

Even when the family members are notified of the execution, they are rarely informed of the prearranged plans for organ extraction. [104] In the rare instances where the family members are notified, they are offered money in advance to authorize the use of the prisoner's organs. [105] If the family refuses the payment, it is then common for the government to provide the family with a large bill following the execution to recoup losses ranging from food and lodging for the prisoner to the cost of the bullet used to perform the execution.[106]

One death row prisoner was witnessed lying on the floor in solitary confinement with all of his limbs stretched out and shackled to the ground by his wrists, ankles, and even his neck. [107] He was fed one meal a day.[108]  Only after he "consented" to donating his organs was he unshackled from the ground. [109] However, he was still in leg irons and handcuffs.[110]

It has also been reported that prisoners who are healthy and have useful organs are often pushed to the front of the waiting lists for executions.[111] In essence, once a prisoner has been deemed fit for an organ transplant, the prisoner becomes nothing more than a warm object sheltering an organ for some other waiting and paying person.[112]

Chinese ideology

The underlying ideological principles of China's social and political culture justify the use of organs from executed prisoners. [113]Society as a whole is deemed more important than individual rights. [114] Because of the organ deficit for transplantation and the demand from high-paying foreigners, China justifies the use of these prisoners' organs for the overall good of the country. [115] The Chinese government considers the use of death row prisoners for organ transplants charity.[116]

The criminals are considered bad people deserving of their death sentence. [117] In producing the death, the prisoners create waste that can be used to help others continue their lives, hence charity. [118] Even hospital and prison employees deem the system of retrieving organs without consent just a way to pay back the state for the expense of the prisoners' care while incarcerated.[119]

China's nonexistent organ donation program

Less than one percent of the organs used for transplants in China are harvested from the recipient's family members or brain-dead donors. [120] China lacks an organized formal system for individuals to volunteer their organs for use after their death. [121]Chinese people are adverse to donating organs based on religious beliefs and out of respect for their elders and ancestors.[122]

Chinese culture insists that regardless of cremation or burial, the body should remain intact after death. [123]Particularly with Buddhist and Confucian beliefs, the bodies must remain whole after death, making true donations very rare or even nonexistent.[124]

China's secret organ transplant policy

In 1984, the Chinese government issued an official order titled "Provisional Regulations on the Use of Dead Bodies or Organs from Condemned Criminals." [125]The order served as the sole legal authority regarding the harvesting of organs from executed prisoners.[126]

However, the directive was not law, just a set of orders to carry out the organ transplants to the benefit of the Chinese government. [127] The order only established basic guidance regarding the procedure but failed to adequately address the human rights of the prisoners. [128]The 1984 order was never officially passed by the Chinese Communist People's Congress, but it served to carry out the government's demands.[129]

The 1984 order regarding the extraction of organs from executed prisoners stipulated the following requirements:

  1. consent of the prisoner or the prisoner's family;

  2. procurement of the organ only after the prisoner's death was confirmed by a supervising official; and

  3. the preservation of absolute secrecy regarding the organ harvesting.[130]

The order also required that medical workers refrain from wearing hospital insignia or drive marked vehicles to or from the executions. [131]In addition, the order states that the organ removal times must be coordinated with crematoriums, so the bodies can be cremated immediately following the procedure.[132]

Even though consent was one of the stipulations in the order, the Chinese government has never produced any evidence confirming a prisoner's consent to donate his or her organs. [133] Furthermore, a prisoner shackled to the ground twenty-four hours a day is in no condition to offer an informed consent.[134]

An unwritten policy also existed ranking the order in which members of society would be recipients of the organ transplants:

  1. high-ranking government officials and military members;

  2. wealthy overseas Chinese and other foreigners;

  3. wealthy Chinese citizens; and finally

  4. the common citizen.[135]

Next week: China made sale of human organs illegal in 2006 - so why is it such a growing industry?

[100]See Repression, supra note 10, at 11.
[101]Brown, supra note 1, at 1066.
[104]Id. at 1066-67.
[105]Id. at 1067.
[106]Brown, supra note 1, at 1067.
[107]Organs, supra note 4, at 47 (statement of Harry Wu, Executive Dir., The Laogai Research Foundation).
[111]Donny J. Perales, Rethinking the Prohibition of Death Row Prisoners as Organ Donors: a Possible Lifeline to Those on Organ Donor Waiting Lists, 34 ST. MARY'S L.J. 687, 699 (2003).
[112]Organs, supra note 4, at 49 (statement of Harry Wu, Executive Dir., The Laogai Research Foundation).
[113]Brown, supra note 1, at 1082.
[116]Organs, supra note 4, at 44 (statement of Harry Wu, Executive Dir., The Laogai Research Foundation).
[119]See Id. at 25 (statement of Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Project Dir., Organs Watch).
[120]Kirk C. Allison, Ph.D., MS, Mounting Evidence of Falun Gong Practitioners Used as Organ Sources in China and Related Ethical Responsibilities, THE EPOCH TIMES, July 24, 2006, ¶ 4, available at (last visited July 29, 2008).
[121]Repression, supra note 10, at 10.
[122]Brown, supra note 1, at 1080; On a personal note, growing up in a Chinese family has provided me with experience and insight into the Chinese way of showing familial and ancestral respect. When my grandfather passed away a few years ago, I experienced the rituals of preserving and worshipping his body after death. My grandfather's body was transported from the hospital to a Buddhist temple. At the temple, the family gathered around his body, along with two Buddhist monks, and chanted Buddhist verses for approximately two hours. Afterward, my grandfather's body remained at the temple until the funeral where he was cremated. My family went back to the temple daily to visit him until the day he was cremated. Everyone in the family spent countless hours making hundreds of water lilies out of gold paper money. We had to make enough to cover his entire body like a blanket. This blanket was burned along with his body. The blanket was meant to be a bed of lilies for my grandfather to float upon in the afterlife. The blanket was made out of gold paper money so that my grandfather would never suffer in the afterlife because he would be surrounded by good fortune.

[123] Repression, supra note 10, at 10.
[124] Organs, supra note 4, at 3 (statement of Fla. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Member, Comm. on Int'l. Relations, Chairwoman, Subcomm. on Int'l. Ops. and Human Rights).
[ 25] Id. at 42 (statement of Harry Wu, Executive Dir., The Laogai Research Foundation).
[126] Hemphill, supra note 29, at 445.
[127] Organs, supra note 4, at 42 (statement of Harry Wu, Executive Dir., The Laogai Research Foundation).
[128] Hemphill, supra note 29, at 445.
[129] Organs, supra note 4, at 42 (statement of Harry Wu, Executive Dir., The Laogai Research Foundation).
[130] Hemphill, supra note 29, at 447.
[131] Id.
[132] Organs, supra note 4, at 52 (translation of "The Provisions on the Entry and Exit of Cadavers and Treatment of Cadavers").
[133] Id. at 43 (statement of Harry Wu, Executive Dir., The Laogai Research Foundation).
[134] Id.
[135] Id. at 42.

In Depth Look at the Law: Death Penalty Organ Harvesting is a Government Business in China

Organ harvesting is a government business in China. [77]

At least ninety percent of all organ transplants performed in China come from executed prisoners. [78] Only the government has the power to carry out these executions, and therefore, only the government can control the organ trade.[79]

Without the death penalty in China, the entire system of organ harvesting would be nonexistent. [80] Recently in 2006, both the Vice-Minister of Health in China and senior transplantation specialists finally admitted that the vast majority of organs used for transplants were harvested from executed prisoners.[81]

Different people in the government play an integral role in the organ transplant process.[82]

The judges and other court officials speed up the process from appeals to death sentence, which ensures that prisoners are available for the optimum time to extract organs for waiting patients. [83] Court officials inform doctors when death sentences are handed down, so they can contact the prisons to make matches for waiting patients. [84] Prison guards and other officials allow hospital staff into the wards to test prisoners to determine appropriate donors for waiting transplant patients.[85]

Many times, prisoners are subjected to a large variety of medical screening tests prior to execution to determine the compatibility of their organs for transplantation. [86] In these instances, medical personnel are strictly forbidden from revealing the purpose of these screenings.[87]

The prison guards also set the execution dates and ensure that family members are unaware of the execution until after-the-fact. [88] The guards also allow the doctors to perform the organ extractions immediately after execution directly at the execution site. [89] In fact, medical personnel are routinely informed of the date, time, and location of executions in advance, so they are prepared for the immediate extraction of organs for transplantation.[90]

Deliberately Botched Execution and Harvesting Organs From the Living

There have also been credible reports of deliberately botched executions to postpone brainstem death to aid in the retrieving of the organs while the blood is still circulating through the body.  [91] It has been reported that organs such as kidneys are removed the night before the scheduled execution. [92]

There are other reports that assert organ removal as the actual method of execution. [93] Living organ donors carry a price premium; thus the use of these methods is on the rise. [94]

One Chinese doctor reported being ordered to remove the organs from a prisoner who was still breathing.  [95] The doctor was in attendance when the firing squad attempted to perform the execution. [96]  Although the prisoner was not killed during the execution attempt, the supervising officer still ordered the doctor to perform the organ extraction.[97]

The doctor noted that the prisoner was still breathing even after both of his kidneys were removed.  [98] Following the doctor's refusal to continue to participate in the organ transplant program, the doctor was forced by the Chinese government to swear never to expose his work or the fact that the organs he removed were subsequently sold for a profit by the government.[99]

Next week, the horrors of China's execution methods for organ harvesting continues ....

[77]Organs, supra note 4, at 41 (statement of Harry Wu, Executive Dir., The Laogai Research Foundation).
[78]Id. at 16 (statement of N.J. Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Member, Comm. on Int'l. Relations, Member, Subcomm. on Int'l. Ops. and Human Rights).
[79]Id. at 41 (statement of Harry Wu, Executive Dir., The Laogai Research Foundation).
[80]Id. at 42.
[81]Repression, supra note 10, at 10.
[82]Organs, supra note 4, at 42 (statement of Harry Wu, Executive Dir., The Laogai Research Foundation).
[84]Id. at 42-43.
[85]Id. at 43.
[86]Brown, supra note 1, at 1071-72.
[87]Id. at 1072.
[88]Organs, supra note 4, at 43 (statement of Harry Wu, Executive Dir., The Laogai Research Foundation).
[90]Brown, supra note 1, at 1070.
[91]Organs, supra note 4, at 2 (statement of Fla. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Member, Comm. on Int'l. Relations, Chairwoman, Subcomm. on Int'l. Ops. and Human Rights).
[92]Brown, supra note 1, at 1070-71.
[93]Organs, supra note 4, at 2 (statement of Fla. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Member, Comm. on Int'l. Relations, Chairwoman, Subcomm. on Int'l. Ops. and Human Rights).
[95]Id. at 58 (statement of Wang Guoqi, former doctor, Chinese PLA Hospital).
[98]Organs, supra note 4, at 59 (statement of Wang Guoqi, former doctor, Chinese PLA Hospital).

In Depth Look at the Law: China's Death Penalty -2: Truly Inhumane Killings Are Happening in China Under the Guise of Capital Punishment

This is second part of our new Friday Legal Memo Series - In Depth Look at the Law, where we're focusing on an international horror that is not getting enough attention. In China, people are being executed inside mobile death vans, vehicles that drive from village to village. First, the victim is killed inside the van. Thereafter, his organs are taken from him almost immediately so they can be sold for a profit. All this, while grieving loved ones may well be just outside the vehicle. This is real. Take notice. Spread the word.

How does China officially respond when confronted with these horrors? China doesn't deny the death vans exist. Instead, China claims that the death vans are more humane.

Executions in China are performed by either lethal injection or firing squad. [20] China approved the use of lethal injection in 1997. [21] Although the Chinese government is claiming that lethal injection is a more humane form of execution, there have been reports that the executioners have lowered the dosage amounts to cut costs, which results in a lingering, more agonizing and painful death. [22]

China Prefers Lethal Injection Over the Firing Squad - But Not Because it is a More Humane Manner of Death.

Despite these allegations, the Chinese media and government officials continue to tout that lethal injection is a civilized method for administering the death penalty. [23] The Chinese media often justify the use of lethal injection by citing the use of lethal injection in the United States. [24] The death van designer also claims that switching from gunshots to lethal injections show that China is now promoting human rights. [25]

Critics, however, state that the death vans allow China to carry out executions more quickly and easily. [26] Realistically, the government is not seeking a more enlightened vision of capital punishment but rather a more efficient way to execute a larger number of people. [27] In addition, the vans keep the executions out of the public eye.[28]

Death Vans Are a Profit Machine: They are Used for Organ Transplantation and Lethal Injection is Better for a Fast Harvest

It has been reported that the Chinese government uses mobile execution units to harvest organs from prisoners condemned to death. [29] Human rights activists and death penalty opponents fear that China is using lethal injection more frequently to harvest the organs of executed prisoners to supply China's growing market for organ transplants. [30] Amnesty International is also concerned with China using lethal injection for the purposes of facilitating organ transplants from executed prisoners.[31]

These Silent, Mobile Death Vans are Viewed as Helping the Black Market Human Organ Market to Florish and Grow

The Executive Director of Human Rights in China states that the mobile execution vans help facilitate the black-market trade in organ sales because independent monitoring organizations, like the Red Cross, are denied access to prisons or labor camps. [32] With the secrecy already surrounding executions and organ harvesting in China, the death vans only aid in the business of black-market organ transplants. [33] Critics positively see a link between the silently rolling death vans and the organ trade.[34]

Amnesty International Reports on How Lethal Injection is Preferable in Human Organ Harvesting

According to Amnesty International, the chemicals used for lethal injection, which have neurological and neuromuscular effect, can be flushed through the kidneys without causing permanent damage. [35] The chief concern with damaging organs during execution is depriving the organs of oxygen or harming them physically through trauma. [36] Lethal injection allows the executioner to avoid both of these risks. [37] Although the drugs used for lethal injection in China is not publicly known, even the poisonous mix used in the United States would not damage the vital organs desired for transplants. [38]

With a shot of the anticoagulant, Heparin, beforehand, even a heart could be transplanted if removed quickly. [39] By leaving the body whole via lethal injection, organs can be extracted more quickly and effectively compared to execution by gunshot.[40]

Chinese Doctors Harvesting Human Organs With Grieving Family Members Just Outside the Van

Prior to the death vans, doctors had to hurriedly perform the organ extraction directly at the execution site before they were detected by the common people. [41] During one particular organ extraction inside an ambulance at the execution site, the doctors could hear people outside of the ambulance. [42] Because the doctors feared that those people might have been the prisoner's family, they left the job half finished. [43] The corpse was then hastily thrown in a plastic bag and left on the flatbed of the crematorium truck. [44] As the ambulance drove away, the people outside pelted the vehicle with stones. [45] Therefore, the windowless death vans would provide a much safer venue for the doctors and police officers performing the executions and organ extractions.

[20] Executed, supra note 5, at 44.

[21]Id. at 48.

[22] Charleton, supra note 3, ¶ 5.

[23] Executed, supra note 5, at 48.

[24]Id. at 50.

[25] MacLeod, supra note 12, ¶ 4.

[26] Antoaneta Bezlova, Death Penalty-China: Rapid Death by Roaming, Inter Press Service News Agency (Italy), July 19, 2006, ¶ 2, (last visited July 29, 2008).

[27] Charleton, supra note 3, ¶ 6.

[28] Bezlova, supra note 26, ¶ 2.

[29] Joan E. Hemphill, Comment: China's Practice of Procuring Organs from Executed Prisoners: Human Rights Groups Must Narrowly Taylor Their Criticism and Endorse the Chinese Constitution to End Abuses, 16 Pac. Rim L. & Pol'y 431, 440 (Mar. 2007).

[30] Bezlova, supra note 26, ¶ 16.

[31] People's Republic of China the Olympics Countdown-Failing to Keep Human Rights Promises, Amnesty Int'l (ASA 17/046/2006), Sept. 2006, at 2 [hereinafter Failing], available at (last visited July 29, 2008).

[32] Bezlova, supra note 26, ¶¶ 20-21.

[33] Id. ¶¶ 20-22.

[34] Id. ¶ 16; MacLeod, supra note 12, ¶ 7.

[35] Carers, supra note 14, at 16.

[36] Id.

[37] Id.

[38] Craig S. Smith, In Shift, Chinese Carry Out Executions by Lethal Injection, The N.Y. Times, Dec. 28, 2001, ¶ 11, available at (last visited July 28, 2008).

[39] Id.

[40]MacLeod, supra note 12, ¶ 8.

[41] See Organs, supra note 4, at 59 (statement of Wang Guoqi, former doctor, Chinese PLA Hospital).

[42] Id.

[43] Id.

[44] Id.

[45] Id.
Next Friday: Who are the Falun Gong and How are they involved?

Author of Series on China's Death Penalty: Sin-Ting Mary Liu

The next entry in our Friday series -- Friday's Legal Memo, an In-depth Look at the Law -- educates us on how capital punishment is administered in China. 

Its author is our invaluable legal intern, Sin-Ting Mary Liu, and her qualifications for providing us with this trusted work are:


JURIS DOCTOR CANDIDATE, Nova Southeastern University, Expected Graduation 2010

GPA - 3.72

Class Rank - 5 (Top 2%)

• Dean's List
• Fall 2007 Highest Grade Award -Legal research and writing
• Spring 2008 Highest Grade Award -Legal research and writing
• ILSA JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE LAW, Staff Member - editing, source pulling, and Bluebooking multiple journal articles
• Nova Southeastern University - Shepard Broad Law Center Merit Scholarship Award

• Phi Alpha Delta (PAD) - Member
• American Bar Association (ABA) - Student Member
• Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) - Member

Special Areas of Legal Interest
• Criminal Law
• Employment Law
• Biotechnology
• Family Law

• Minor in East Asian Languages and Literature



RUDEN McCLOSKY May 2009 - July 2009
Summer Associate Law Clerk
• Conducted research and analyzed case law with client issues in various legal disciplines, including but not limited to employment law, real estate, class actions, and evidence.
• Drafted legal memorandums, outlines, critical date schedules, interrogatories, requests for production, and answers to interrogatories.
• Researched and determined the constitutionality of the proposed Academic Freedom Act for a pro bono assignment. Presented findings to the Anti-Defamation League ("ADL"). Executive Summary will be published by ADL.

Research Assistant / Teaching Assistant
• Assisted professor with first-year students in the Legal research and writing class.
• Assisted students with legal research and writing problems.
• Designed and developed a legal research and writing problem for future students, including writing the model answers.
• Tested viability of a different prospective legal research and writing problem.
• Assisted in researching, editing, fact-checking, and Bluebooking professor's Law Review article concerning the value and future of unpublished opinions (published in the 2009 MARQUETTE LAW REVIEW).

ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law 2008 Summer Candidacy Program
• Researched and wrote an article titled: Corruption in China's Death Penalty System -- The Deceptive Use of Mobile Death Vans and Falun Gong Prisoners for Organ Harvesting in the Black Market.
• Accepted as a Staff Member for the Journal


Thirteen years of professional experience in the employment, management consulting, biotechnology, ecommerce, high-tech consulting, utilities, and publishing industries. Extensive experience consulting, negotiating, interviewing, and leading seminars and workshops. Former clients and employers include Liberty Power Corporation, Cord Blood America, TMP Worldwide, CPG Solutions, and The Curtiss Group International. Positions held include Director of Client Relations, Senior Career Consultant, Senior Placement Specialist, Business Development Manager, and Editor-in-Chief.


Languages -- Bilingual in English and conversational Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese).

Computer -- Lexis/Nexis, Westlaw, HeinOnline, Legal Scholarship Network, WorldCat, Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop.

Personal -- Runner with the Boca Raton Road Runners Club since 2005 (Medaled 10th in the 2005 PAL Holiday Mile race), editor of monthly newsletter for A Physical Therapist, Inc., and editor of FADING TOWARD ENLIGHTENMENT (published by Missing Man Press).

In-Depth Look at the Law: The Offices of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel (OCCCRC) - An Unacceptable Situation for Everyone Involved

One attempt at solving the indigent defense problem was the creation of a state agency made up of five offices to be called Offices of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel ("OCCCRC") by the Florida Legislature in Chapter 2007-62. The idea was that full-time attorneys on a set salary in these new regional offices would theoretically solve at least part of the judicial appointment problem by taking on public defender cases where there was a conflict of interest (which is common in multi-defendant cases) -- as well as supervising court-appointed attorneys in child dependency cases and assorted civil actions. Sounded good.

Truth is, the OCCCRC lawyers haven't even been given a fair shake, they've been asked to play the game without a full deck of cards. The OCCCRCs aren't even getting the basics to do their job.

For example, the Fourth District OCCCRC has complained that it doesn't even have ordinary supplies and internet access for months at a time. In today's world, how can an attorney represent a client effectively without internet access? Legal research, communication and filing with the courts, e-mail, etc. are all done over the internet. How any lawyer at the OCCCRC can practice law each day is a miracle in action, and my hat is off to them. No wonder there's such a high turnover there.

And, adding insult to injury, these OCCCRCs are being sued. That's right - they have become defendants in their own right. Apparently, several counties throughout Florida have taken the position that OCCCRCs are not "public defender offices" at all under Florida law. Using this legal argument, counties aren't legally responsible to pay for the expenses of their local OCCCRC (pursuant to Article V, section 14 of the Florida Constitution).

In May 2009, a Boca Raton Circuit Court Judge agreed with 25 Florida counties and ruled that the legislation that shifted judicial costs from the state to the counties was unconstitutional. According to the Circuit Court, the Florida legislature failed to find "that the law fulfills an important state interest before attempting the cost shift." This ruling now goes before the Florida Supreme Court, who has already heard arguments that the enacting language creating the agency was invalid and ruled that the OCCCRCs do pass constitutional muster.

Meanwhile, despite the lawsuits and the antiquainted working environment (do they even have computers? If so, how old are they?), some OCCCRCs just keep getting more and more work. Last year, the Third District OCCCRC was ordered by Judge Judge Stanford Blake of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit to take all new Class C felonies arising in Miami-Dade County, because the Public Defender there could not handle any more defendants because their caseloads were so high and their monies were being cut, too.

What are we talking about here? About 1500 new cases/month. Think about that. Fifteen hundred new cases a month to defend in a court of law, and you don't have internet access. Right.

So, right now the OCCCRCs keep operating, lawyers doing the best they can with the tools they've been given, and whether or not county coffers will have to pay for part of the OCCCRC budget costs is still a conflict worthy of Supreme Court review.

Next week: The Judges' dilemma - they have to meet the mandate of Gideon v. Wainwright.

In Depth Look: Death in Florida - 2

The mitigating circumstances that can apply in any given first degree murder case are those set forth in Florida Statute § 921.141(6):

1. § 921.141(6)(a): The defendant has no significant history of prior criminal history.

2. § 921.141(6)(b): The capital felony was committed while the defendant was under influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance.

3. § 921.141(6)(c): The victim was a participant in the defendant's conduct or consented to the act.

4. § 921.141(6)(d): The defendant was an accomplice in the capital felony committed by another person and his participation was relatively minor.

5. § 921.141(6)(e): The defendant acted under extreme duress or under- the substantial domination of another person.

6. § 921.141(6)(f): The capacity of the defendant to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law were substantially impaired.

7. § 921.141(6)(g): The age of the defendant at the time of the crime.

8. § 921.141(6)(h): The existence of any other factors in the defendant's background that would mitigate against imposition of a death sentence.

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