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March 13, 2011

Thoughs on "Giving Life After Death Row"

I never got the chance to blog last week about the remarkable New York Times op-ed piece “Giving Life After Death Row,” by Christian Longo, a condemned prisoner at Oregon State Penitentiary.  Here are excerpts:

Eight years ago I was sentenced to death for the murders of my wife and three children. I am guilty....  I spend 22 hours a day locked in a 6 foot by 8 foot box on Oregon’s death row.  There is no way to atone for my crimes, but I believe that a profound benefit to society can come from my circumstances.  I have asked to end my remaining appeals, and then donate my organs after my execution to those who need them.  But my request has been rejected by the prison authorities....

There is no law barring inmates condemned to death in the United States from donating their organs, but I haven’t found any prisons that allow it.  The main explanation is that Oregon and most other states use a sequence of three drugs for lethal injections that damages the organs.  But Ohio and Washington use a larger dose of just one drug, a fast-acting barbiturate that doesn’t destroy organs.  If states would switch to a one-drug regimen, inmates’ organs could be saved....

Aside from these logistical and health concerns, prisons have a moral reason for their reluctance to allow inmates to donate.  America has a shameful history of using prisoners for medical experiments. In Oregon, for example, from 1963 to 1973, many inmates were paid to “volunteer” for research into the effects of radiation on testicular cells.  Some ethicists believe that opening the door to voluntary donations would also open the door to abuse.  And others argue that prisoners are simply unable to make a truly voluntary consent.

But when a prisoner initiates a request to donate with absolutely no enticements or pressure to do so, and if the inmate receives the same counseling afforded every prospective donor, there is no question in my mind that valid organ-donation consent can be given.  

I am not the only condemned prisoner who wants the right to donate his organs.  I have discussed this issue with almost every one of the 35 men on Oregon’s death row, and nearly half of them expressed a wish to have the option of donating should their appeals run out....  If I donated all of my organs today, I could clear nearly 1 percent of my state’s organ waiting list. I am 37 years old and healthy; throwing my organs away after I am executed is nothing but a waste.

And yet the prison authority’s response to my latest appeal to donate was this: “The interests of the public and condemned inmates are best served by denying the petition.” Many in the public, most inmates, and especially those who are dying for lack of a healthy organ, would certainly disagree.

I made sure to find time to blog this piece today in part because today's New York Times includes this bunch of interesting letters in response to the Longo commentary.

March 13, 2011 at 12:56 PM | Permalink


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Thank the lawyer for blocking such donations. Not only does the horrible judge block executions and condemns future murder and battery victims. This criminal cult enterprise will not allow organ donation by prisoners because these prisoners cannot properly consent. These people cannot be told what to do. When they want to do something, the lawyer cult criminal will not allow it due to conflict of interest, undue pressure from jail. These prisoners are there because they refuse to obey rules, and will not be stopped from committing other crimes. The one instance they want to do something right, the lawyer stops it. Now, half a dozen potential organ recipients will suffer.

If you want more organ donation, a patient advocacy direct action group will have to bring street justice to the lawyer judge, legislator, and regulator. Just beat their asses. Use a horsewhip. There is no point to any discussion with these cult criminal rent seekers, these mortal enemies of our transplant candidates. There are about 50,000 who die every year, many middle aged heads of families, and productive males. Thank the vile feminist lawyer and its male running dogs.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 13, 2011 3:08:27 PM

This lawyer says, prisoners are not capable of consent. These prisoners are the same people that don't care about others, the rules, risks to themselves, prison, the death penalty. Outside pressure has had zero effect on their decisions. They will not deny themselves any extreme pleasure. So slitting the throat of the kidnapped, screaming little girl may enhance their sexual pleasure. It gets done, no matter what others think about the idea.

Now, they choose to help others, for their own purposes. They are the absolute extreme of selfishness, feelings of entitlement, and stubborn disobedience. Their consent has the greatest validity on earth, and is the least subject to coercion of any on earth.

It is time for an Amendment excluding the lawyer from all benches, legislative seats, and responsible policy positions in the executive regulatory agencies. Beating their asses will not likely work and is not enough. Nothing will overcome the power of rent seeking. They must be controlled by the law.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 13, 2011 3:28:39 PM


Posted by: Dott. claudio giusti, italia | Mar 13, 2011 3:31:53 PM

A fellow who murders three children is in no position to give morality lectures to anyone about anything.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 13, 2011 3:40:59 PM


Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 13, 2011 3:47:21 PM

Bill Otis,

Maybe some day you will die from a lack of organ donors. Maybe those who need one not some jerk like you with a opinion on everything -a super know it all --should have input on the decision.

Posted by: Steve Prof | Mar 13, 2011 7:49:00 PM

This is the first time I've believed one of these guys was sincere. Most, like Kenneth Mosley, have used it in an attempt to get their state to change execution methods to something that would save the organs. This could delay their deaths for years to come.

Here, we have an inmate who is trying to drop his appeals, in a state with a very long appeals process no less, so that he WILL die.

There is another issue, and as a capital punishment advocate it is both encouraging and disturbing. This could make it easier to put a killer on death row. Instead of weighing mitigation, aggravation and future dangerousness you may see juries deciding weather to spare a viscous killer or a dozen sick people.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Mar 13, 2011 8:07:46 PM

Steve Prof --

Thank you for the nuanced reasoning of your response. I do notice, however, that you reserve all your venom for me, with not a word directed to a guy who killed three kids.

BTW, from which future entries would you like my comments to be banned so I won't strike you as a super know-it-all?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 13, 2011 8:27:22 PM

MikeinCT --

That the guy is substituting what is sure to be a bunch of litigation about the organ donor issue for a bunch of litigation about the ususal issues gives me some doubt about his complete sincerity. Has he volunteered for the execution to occur immediately after the organs are removed, and while he's on the operating table?

You might be right about his sincerity; it's just that I have no sure way of knowing.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 13, 2011 8:33:24 PM

Ohh Bill,

Isn't this guy going to be executed???? Why direct a comment to him? You are an idiot...I said nothing about banning your speech...you are the one that so often wants to tread on others rights...I just said you are a complete know it al...you have an opinion on everything ...your cretainly have a right to your idiotic posts ..that more than freedom than you give others

Posted by: Steve Prof | Mar 13, 2011 8:53:11 PM


Actually, this murder's morality lectures might make a lot more sense than yours !!!!!

Posted by: Steve Prof | Mar 13, 2011 8:55:19 PM

Steve: You can't be a lawyer so we have no dispute. "You are an idiot..." is frustration in the traverse, and makes you look cheap. Just a friendly observation. Plus, it is obviously not true, since the lawyers all started out with very high IQ's. I use the term, lawyer dumbass. It is not an epithet, but a lawyer term of art for very smart people who have been indoctrinated to believe in the supernatural doctrines at the core of the common law, and cannot see how the supernatural violates the Establishment Clause of our secular nation. Bill is a good guy from whom you will get more by using facts and legal citations.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 13, 2011 10:28:49 PM

Steve Prof --

I'm not surprised that you'd prefer the moral wisdom of a child murderer to my posts. Have at it. As to some of your other comments:

"just said you are a complete know it al...you have an opinion on everything"

Actually, I have no opinion about which team should win the American League West, how states should deal with the Graham decision, whether Lady Gaga is better than Madonna, and about 100,000,000 other things. But don't let me stop you.

"...your cretainly have a right to your idiotic posts ..that more than freedom than you give others"

Of course I have never taken anyone's freedom, as even you ought to know. I litigated cases in which federal COURTS imposed sentences of imprisonment, you bet. These sentences resulted from the defendant's conviction of a felony or felonies for which imprisonment was a legal, not to mention a just, punishment.

If you oppose imprisonment for felonies, you can have at that too. Feel free.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 13, 2011 10:31:59 PM

SC --

"...the lawyers all started out with very high IQ's."

Well, a lot did, but I've run across some real peaches, inside the government and outside.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 13, 2011 10:38:29 PM

Bill: I think you realize that I love the law, and all lawyers. I want them to do better, because they have to. We need the rule of law as we need water and electricity. Shut it off, and you have Fallujah, spending full time on personal security, and doing nothing else. There is no other service today where they do nothing in 90% of cases, and when they do act, they act on the wrong case 20% of the time. How does one pull such a profession from this swamp?

Example. The case of death row inmates making organ donations. These people disobeyed laws, did as they pleased, and refused to take any orders from anybody. Their consents are the least coerced on earth. Yet the lawyer says they are the most coerced and invalid. Maddening Twilight Zone thinking. They are going to be killed. There is no bribery or threat possible to induce undue influence.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 13, 2011 11:30:42 PM

i have to agree SC if anything considering how opposed to society most of them are you would think most would be going the other way to deny ANTHING they that MIGHT help others.

Posted by: rodsmith | Mar 14, 2011 2:05:13 AM

Don't feed the trolls.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 14, 2011 10:57:53 AM

Anon: I agree re not feeding the trolls. (Bill Otis has become so repetitive and shrill in his postings, he's joined SC in the troll ranks. People shouldn't feed him.)

Posted by: not a fan of trolls | Mar 14, 2011 11:47:12 AM

Eat Bill Otis.

Posted by: anon | Mar 14, 2011 12:59:12 PM

The spectacle of this scum lecturing anyone is, as Bill notes, remarkable, to say the least.

Posted by: federalist | Mar 14, 2011 9:50:18 PM

There is no bigger troll to the entire nation than the lawyer profession. It is an anchor that will sink it.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 14, 2011 11:43:26 PM

For readers who want some further thoughts on this proposal,
read the comments linked from a portal called

James Leonard Park, existential philosopher

Posted by: James Leonard Park | Apr 5, 2011 5:18:11 PM

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