Death Penalty Resources

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. [136] However, the 2006 provisions failed to address the harvesting of organs from executed prisoners, leaving the 1984 order intact.[137]

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.”[138]

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. [139] The provisions attempt to regulate the transportation of cadavers.[140]

However, the provisions still provide the Chinese government with the ultimate authority on all decisions related to export matters. [141] 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.” [142] 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.[143]

In China, enacting legislation does not mean enforcing it.[144]

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. [145] It has been reported that organs are still being sold following this 2006 legislation.[146]
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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.
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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:
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Yesterday, the jury came back in a San Francisco federal courtroom, and found Dennis Cyrus guilty of a number of gang-related acts, including the murders of three men – including Ray Jimmerson, who had informed the cops about the gang’s assorted criminal activities.

The Distinction Between State and Federal Prosecutors

It was the first time since 1991 that San Francisco has seen a trial where capital punishment was even on the table – two of its district attorneys had followed an internal determination not to seek the death penalty, even if the law allowed for capital punishment. But they are state officials, and this is a federal proceeding.

Over in the Northern District of California’s federal district court, the U.S. Attorney makes the call on whether or not to ask for the death penalty, and this U.S. Attorney has decided to do so in Cyrus’ case. It’s the first time since 1946 that the federal prosecutors have sought the death penalty in the Northern District. The last time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this federal district asked for capital punishment in a crime was in the 1946 trial of two men who had escaped from Alcatraz and in the process, had killed two guards and three prisoners.

So why now, 62 years later, is capital punishment being sought? Why now? Why Dennis Cyrus?
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