Constitutional Law

Lawyers Argue Over Right to Autopsy Organs

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Lawyers for the parents of a man who died in a van accident argued yesterday they have a constitutional right to the return of his organs removed in an autopsy.

Ohio Supreme Court justices were skeptical of arguments on both sides of the issue, the Associated Press reports.

The suit was brought by the parents of Christopher Albrecht, who died in 2001 after he suffered a seizure and lost control of his van, the ABA Journal reported in a July story on the case. His brain was removed during the autopsy and never returned. The suit seeks class action status on cases from 1991 to 2006.

Medical examiners and coroners fear a ruling for the parents will introduce delays in the autopsy process, making the collection of evidence more difficult.

Mark Landes, who represents Ohio coroners fighting the claim, said a ruling against his clients would make his clients reluctant to do thorough autopsies. Justice Paul Pfeifer derided the argument, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. “That just seems like a totally lame excuse,” he said.

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