Today’s news includes the story about the Death Penalty Information Center’s new study of capital punishment costs. Released this week, and looking solely at the bottom line, the DPIC analysis demonstrates that significant monies can be saved by eliminating the death penalty. Since 1976, $2,000,000,000 (that’s two billion dollars) has been spent on capital punishment
Sale of organs “illegal” in China after July 2006
In 2006, the government enacted the provisions on the “Entry and Exit of Cadavers,” which officially banned the commercial sale of human organs.  However, the 2006 provisions failed to address the harvesting of organs from executed prisoners, leaving the 1984 order intact.
The drafter of the 2006 provisions stated, “The guideline will specifically not mention the use of executed prisoners’ organs, even though it’s the main source of organs in China . . . . The executed prisoners’ organs will not be specifically banned in this guideline or in the coming Human Organ Transplant Rule.”
This new legislation became effective July 1, 2006, banning the sale of human organs, requiring donors to provide written permission for the transplantation of their organs, limiting transplant surgery to certain institutions, compelling an ethics committee to review and approve all transplants in advance, and requiring institutions performing transplant surgery to verify that the organs are from legal sources.  The provisions attempt to regulate the transportation of cadavers.
However, the provisions still provide the Chinese government with the ultimate authority on all decisions related to export matters.  For example, Article 8 of the provisions states, “It is strictly prohibited to trade in cadavers, and to make use of cadavers to engage in commercial activities.”  However, Article 7 states that if Chinese customs officials are presented with a valid certificate issued by the Chinese government to approve the transport of cadavers, the body is released.
In China, enacting legislation does not mean enforcing it.
In China today, the reality is that the abstract principle of law is often corrupted by the wish for personal gain or the interests of the Communist Party.  It has been reported that organs are still being sold following this 2006 legislation.…
Continue Reading In Depth Look at the Law: China Death Vans and the Sale of Human Organs Harvested from Death Penalty Executions
The Death Penalty Information Center is providing details on their website regarding a new online tool for those interested in the death penalty. Created by OpposingViews.com, an entire database of information on Death Row inmates in this country has been provided for our free use.
What’s encouraging about this particular project is that this…
Today, the news media is reporting that defense counsel for Casey Anthony (Prof. Andrea Lyon, Jose Baez) have filed a motion with the court challenging the State of Florida’s decision to seek the death penalty.
I am proactiving providing my response to the questions that I have received already and assumedly will continue to receive…
Pretty soon, looks like we’re all going to know the name Dan Frumkin. Who’s he?
Dan Frumkin is the author of an article in the respected journal Forensic Science International: Genetics where he writes that DNA evidence can be created in a lab – TOTALLY FABRICATED – and he warns that the real possibility of…
In these economic times, there has been significant media coverage of various states considering the banning of the death penalty — not on moral grounds or arguments about its ineffectiveness in crime prevention, but on the simple argument that it costs too much. That’s right: it is cheaper to keep someone incarcerated for the rest…
At this juncture, we’ve got lots of criminal defendants needing constitutionally-guaranteed representation, and an overwhelmed public defender’s office as well as a beleaguered OCCCRC. So, who’s next at bat? The private attorney licensed by the State of Florida.
Let’s consider the complex criminal case. Major felonies, multiple defendants. Criminal cases that involve more than two indigent co-defendants (or any case where both the Public Defender and the OCCCRC both have a conflict of interest) are handled by private criminal defense attorneys, who are then paid by the government for their time and expenses. Chapter 2007-62, § 27.40(2)(a), Fla. Stat. (2007).
How Big Was the Loss of Attorneys Willing to Take Appointments after 2007? Huge. HUGE.
Earlier, we discussed how the 2007 revision to the appointment statutes caused many criminal defense attorneys to take their names off the county lists of attorneys voluntarily making themselves available for appointment. It was not because these attorneys didn’t want to represent the poor people of Florida – the changes in the statute made it impossible for them to do so. Many defense attorneys simply could not afford to do the work and stay open for business.
One news report has shown that after the Legislature’s action in 2007, the appointment list for the Tenth Judicial Circuit dropped sixty percent (60%), leaving just one (yes, 1) lawyer who was legally qualified to defend someone, as lead attorney, in a capital case. (Don’t you know that is one busy lawyer?)
Practically speaking, in the criminal courtrooms of Florida, defendants continue to come before the bench and announce themselves as unable to pay for legal counsel on their own. According to Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, 83 S. Ct. 791 (1963) and its progeny, these folk are still deserving of legal assistance (the proverbial “effective assistance of counsel” under the 6th Amendment) and the government must provide them with an attorney. The judge has a legal duty he must meet.
Faced with Gideon, what are Florida Judges doing? Throwing attorneys under the bus sounds harsh, unless you’re the attorney caught in the crossfire. Because that judge has to find an attorney somewhere, and the Legislature isn’t giving that judge much of a choice.…
Continue Reading In Depth Look at the Law: The Judges’ Dilemma: They Have to Meet the Constitutional Mandate of an Indigent Defendant’s Right to Effective Assistance of Counsel
Today, FloridaCatholic.org published on its website a 12-page synopsis of the Catholic position regarding the death penalty, and in doing so provides readers with a solid, easy read on why the Catholic Church is vehemously opposed to Capital Punishment.
I highly recommend that those interested in this issue take the time to read through this…
In our new series, we’ll be looking at Florida’s indigent defense system, particularly as it applies to cases where capital punishment is being sought. How are attorneys chosen and compensated for representing the criminal defendant who is without funds to pay for his own defense, especially those facing the death penalty? How is Florida’s current indigent defense system critically flawed?
The Florida Legislature Provides for Compensation of Attorneys Who Represent Poor (Indigent) Criminal Defendants in State Matters
First, let’s review the action of the Florida Legislature in the past few years. Before the current system was put in place, Florida provided for indigent criminal defense through Chapter 27 of the Florida Statutes. There, a collection of private criminal defense attorneys offered themselves for appointment by the courts in the defense of impoverished defendants in criminal cases under Judicial Administrative Commission (JAC) contracts. The attorneys worked on behalf of their clients, who were entitled to representation by an attorney under the law. In return, these attorneys were compensated by the government.
The 2007 Changes by the Florida Legislature Made Appointments Financially Not Viable for Most Criminal Defense Attorneys
The Chapter 27 system was changed, however. Under the new statutes, Chapter 2007-62, Florida indigent criminal defense effectively discouraged attorneys from placing their names on the list for court appointments and JAC contracts. This occurred in several ways:…
Continue Reading In Depth Look at the Law: Florida’s System of Insuring Legal Representation for the Indigent Must Be Changed
On Wednesday, an article by journalist Sarah Lundy appeared in the Orlando Sentinel entitled, “Only Florida’s Governors can say how they pick execution order.”
In it, Lundy explores the reality that Florida governors mysteriously choose to grant clemency only to a select few on Florida’s Death Row and no one knows how or why their…