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November 13, 2013

"Kasich postpones execution of inmate who wants to donate organs"

The title of this post is the headline of this breaking news story reporting some surprising news coming from Ohio this afternoon.  Here are details:

In an unprecedented move, Gov. John Kasich has postponed the execution of Akron child-killer Ronald Phillips scheduled for Thursday to determine if his organs can be harvested. It has been rescheduled for July 2, 2014.

In a statement released this afternoon, Kasich halted Phillips’ execution “so that medical experts can assess whether or not Phillips’ non-vital organs or tissues can be donated to his mother or possibly others.”

“Ronald Phillips committed a heinous crime for which he will face the death penalty. I realize this is a bit of uncharted territory for Ohio, but if another life can be saved by his willingness to donate his organs and tissues then we should allow for that to happen,” Kasich said.

Phillips, 40, was sentenced to die for the 1993 beating, rape and murder of three-year-old Sheila Marie Evans, the daughter of his girlfriend at the time. The governor said if Phillips “is found to be a viable donor to his mother or possibly others awaiting transplants of non-vital organs, such as kidneys, the procedures would be performed and then he would be returned to Death Row to await his new execution date.”

Phillips asked earlier this week if he could donate his organs to his mother or others, but the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction rejected his request.

Wowsa. I have to catch my breath and think about this a lot before I am sure how to react. While I do so, I look forward to hearing reactions from both the pro and anti death penalty crowd in the comments.

November 13, 2013 at 04:45 PM | Permalink


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It's a plain common sense decision. I did not understand why the DOC rejected the request. My only theoretical concern is that the state doesn't get into the business of sentencing people to die just so that it can harvest their organs. But I see that concern as not relevant to this case and I do not think the decision sets sets a precedent in that regard. So why not? I can see no reason not to delay.

Posted by: Daniel | Nov 13, 2013 5:06:21 PM

One of the organs he wants to donate is his heart (to his sister), which would pretty much moot out the death penalty. Given that the result is the same, though - he'll die - I don't see why there should be any objection.

Posted by: Jonathan Edelstein | Nov 13, 2013 5:16:06 PM

Jonathan Edelstein --

"One of the organs he wants to donate is his heart (to his sister), which would pretty much moot out the death penalty. Given that the result is the same, though - he'll die - I don't see why there should be any objection."


Maybe he should do the heart transplant tonight and save us the trouble all around. Plus I'm sure his sister will be better off the sooner she gets it. The big problem with organ transplants is that so many prospective recipients die while waiting.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 13, 2013 5:55:58 PM

I was under the impression that the drugs used in lethal injection executions pretty much precluded use of internal organs for the purpose of donation. Perhaps that was only true under the older three drug protocols.

It would not surprise me, however, if the dosages involved would still make any such donation problematic.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Nov 13, 2013 6:24:33 PM

They could sedate him, harvest his organs, then complete the execution by turning off the heart/lung machine. The bio-ethics issues are many and deep.

Posted by: Ala JD | Nov 13, 2013 6:48:43 PM

If his organ donated to a needy organ person will save that person's life then perhaps there is a by pass of the Sixth Commandment of Thou Shalt Not Kill. Y'all can kill if killing one will save another.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Nov 13, 2013 8:11:36 PM

If I understand correctly, the postponement was at the request of and for the benefit of the transplant doctors, to determine compatibility with recipients. This postponement is proper, even a duty of the Governor, if duty arises from the foreseeability of harm of innocent and sick family members.

Here is something you will never hear elsewhere.

The Kelo decision allowed the seizure of property by the government for the benefit of another private, profit making party, and not for a government agency. People may be surprised to learn, I support the Kelo decision. I would have the police beat with truncheons, and Taser fellow conservatives putting up any resistance to it. I support Kelo for a conventional, ordinary legal point of reasoning. Those seeking to condemn the home of Supreme Court Justice Souter should be forced to pay all legal and hearing costs, due to the improper, retaliatory motives of these pretextual maneuvers.

The highways that a government may build and own benefit who, and are built for whom? Correct. Private profit making entities, and parties going to work to make a private profit themselves. So, the direct ownership of the condemned parcel taken in eminent domain does not really differ in its purpose from conventional takings. The dispute may be about the value of the land. I oppose valuing it at its prior use price. I support valuing it at its higher future use price.

That is the conventional benefit lawyer argument favoring Kelo.

Read the decision. It uses the word "property" over 100 times. In no instance does it ever use the adjective, "real." There are two types of property, real property (does not move, like a small bush), and chattel (moves, like a city size cruise ship). That means Kelo applies to chattel. A kidney is the chattel of the living person. Taking it involuntarily would just be unconscionable, and I would oppose that. However, an entire corpse is chattel, fully subject to eminent domain, even if it benefits only private parties (according to Kelo).

The Kelo decision allows the passage of law mandating the presumption of organ donation. The entire body would revert to the state, unless the person actively checked a box on a a driver license to not donate. Any family interfering with the donation should be charged with a crime, arrested and imprisoned.

There are 50,000 people who die waiting for a transplant. Most are innocent middle aged people. Some suffered a viral infection that destroyed a heart or some other involuntary affliction. Allowing their slow, torturous, humiliating deaths, taking months or years of agony, is a violation of the Eighth Amendment by the state far more grievous than the ridiculous arguments over lethal injections.

That being said, the estate of the donor should be reimbursed the true value of the transplanted organs. One donor can sometimes help six recipients. The healthy corpse may be worth a $million in the open market. Naturally, creditors, such as crime victims should have first dibs.

The method of execution should cater to the needs of the transplant team, especially after the removal of a heart. Corrections officers may turn off the life support machinery if doctors do not want to be associated with the death penalty.

Because the death penalty is a political policy subject, if the left wing, rat bastards of the AMA so much as whisper a word of opposition, end its non-profit status, and all other government granted privileges.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 13, 2013 9:03:31 PM

The only reasons I read this blog are Bill Otis's and SC's comments. Keep up the good work gentlemen.

Posted by: KMM | Nov 14, 2013 8:31:11 AM

It is unclear why it should take so long to determine something like this -- I would think it would have been something examined before now -- but if they are going to execute the guy, and his body parts pursuant to his own wishes can have such a value, it makes sense for them to do it. It being his "request" should answer coercion charges. Not that I think he should be executed. But, it's good the governor is thinking outside the box here.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 14, 2013 11:34:16 AM


Yes, it's all very amusing.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Nov 14, 2013 12:54:59 PM

Michael Drake --

I didn't say it was "all" very amusing. I gave the LOL specifically to Jonathan Edelstein's comment that, "One of the organs he wants to donate is his heart...which would pretty much moot out the death penalty. Given that the result is the same, though - he'll die - I don't see why there should be any objection."

If you can't see the humor in the "would pretty much moot out the death penalty," you must lead a grim life.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 14, 2013 1:48:37 PM

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