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Big-Hearted Judge Has Plan For Transplants

THURSDAY, OCT. 2, 1997

How much is a kidney or lung worth? Twelve days in Judge David Brand’s court.

Brand wants more people to sign organ donor cards, and he’s offering this deal: Those placed on probation for misdemeanors can get up to 12 days knocked off their community service if they sign an organ donor card.

“It’s such a waste to bury those organs in the ground,” Brand said Wednesday from his office in Rogersville. He plans to begin offering the deal to defendants in his General Sessions Court later this month.

Hedy Weinberg of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee does not like it.

“I’m not sure it is the appropriate role of a judge to say, ‘We will decrease community service if you donate your organs,”’ she said. “It doesn’t appear to fit into the appropriate role of punishment and rehabilitation.”

Brand, who has a friend awaiting a kidney transplant, said he’s not forcing anyone to give up organs, and noted the defendants can always revoke their donor cards later.

“It’s no skin off them,” he said. “It’s not like I’m saying I want their kidney now.”

Under state guidelines, people convicted of misdemeanors must perform two days of community service for each month of probation.


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