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February 22, 2005

Terri is safe for the moment at least.

From LifeNews:

Michael Schiavo intended to remove Terri's feeding tube on Tuesday afternoon once a Florida appeals court finalizes its decision against Terri's parents Bob and Mary Schindler....

On Monday afternoon, Circuit Court Judge George Greer ruled that Michael will have to wait until he can hold a hearing on whether to allow the stay preventing the starvation to continue. Judge Greer set a date for a hearing on Wednesday.

While Terri is not on artificial life support and can breathe on her own, she requires a gastric tube to provide her with food and water. Should that be removed, she will die from a painful 7 to 10-day long starvation death.

George Felos, the euthanasia advocate who is Michael's lead attorney, has instructed him to remove the feeding tube as soon as he is legally authorized.

Greer will rule against the parents, but stay Terri's murder until they can exhaust the appeals on those motions. There are too many recent development for this not to be heard by the US Supreme Court. I don't expect an ounce of compassion from the Florida Supreme Court. They aren't “justices” -- they're politicians. They, like so many others, simply want Terri to go away.

The support for Terri among bloggers is growing, and this will mean more attention nationwide. One thing about politicians, they don't like complications and while Terri was an annoyance to them before, her murder would now present a very real complication to their careers. None of them want to be the focus of accusations of negligent homicide if Terri is murdered, so at some point one of them -- expect at the Supreme Court level -- will make a stand.

Doc Washburn claims Jeb Bush could save Terri...if he wanted to. Compelling argument.

Coverage: LifeSteward, BlogsForTerri, HyScience

Posted by Jack Lewis at February 22, 2005 11:55 AM

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Comments

There are too many recent development for this not to be heard by the US Supreme Court.

The problem is that most, if not all, of the issues are state issues. As I understand, most of the key issues turn on evidence (how to determine if she's PVS and how to determine if Michael is acting in her best interests are the two that come to mind), which are quintessential state issues. The upshot is that the FL Supreme Court is probably the court of last resort for the parties.

As for Jeb.....yeah, he could start an investigation, but it's unclear exactly what that would accomplish.

Posted by: jpe at February 22, 2005 12:31 PM

When a state fails to do justice it is the prerogative of the US Supreme Court to step in and declare that the civil rights of the individual is being interfered with. So the Florida SC would not be their only hope.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2005 01:25 PM

We disperse justice in America, though; hence federalism. I just don't think the feds have jurisdiction over the salient issues. We leave some things to the feds, and some things to the states. Questions of evidence are left to the states.

A little off-topic:I've been reading quite a lot of Terry blogs lately, and one of the things they have in common is a peculiar lack of a larger scope. It's as if they think that if only the courts were filled with nice people, Terry wouldn't die. They ignore the larger issues that got her into this mess in the first place. I haven't seen one post yet about PVS statutes, or about federalism, or about marital rights as the deciding factor in when the plug gets pulled.

It's strange because these three things are why Terry is where she is right now. It's not that Judge Greer is a big meanie-head and should be impeached; it's that there are laws on the books that give Michael Schiavo the benefit of the doubt. Despite that, there's been an incredible lack of calls for change in the legislation or the legal presumptions therein.

I've asked several bloggers this, and since you seem like a lucid and intelligent person, I'll aske you: why haven't the Terry bloggers, admirable as their efforts have been, called for change in the law that caused this mess?

Posted by: jpe at February 22, 2005 04:29 PM

I would say because the courts have continually displayed the notion that the law is what they pretend it is, regardless of morality, logic, original intent or anything else. Judge Greer dismisses valid motions, not because he's bound by law, but because he's very obviously taken a biased approach to the issue.

Terri does deserve her own attorney. Michael Schiavo does have a conflict of interest. Terry's religious view are definitely material to the decision, but Greer dismissed them all. Why would changing the law change anything if a judge can simply invent his own law whenever he wants to?

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2005 05:41 PM

Judge Greer dismisses valid motions

Such as? What are some of the motions that have been incorrectly dismissed? Given that you're making legal conclusions, I fully expect to see that you're not just shooting off, but have legal precedent behind your reasoning.

Posted by: jpe at February 22, 2005 06:11 PM

I did mention them. Terri deserves her own attorney. Michael Schiavo has a conflict of interest which should bar him from making the decisions he is allowed to make. Terri's religious view should be given at least as much weight as her alleged request to not be on life support.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2005 06:46 PM

Michael Schiavo has a conflict of interest which should bar him from making the decisions he is allowed to make.

The relevant statute is 774.474, which deals with removing guardianship. The pertinent passage is (11), which deals with conflicts of interest. What you need to show is that there isn't a presumption that a spouse is an acceptable guardian.

Yall need to say one of two things: a) the law needs to be changed, and what passages of the law need to be changed; or b) what specific parts of FL law the judge has ignored.

Without that level of specificity, the Terry bloggers don't look serious, and are easily dismissed.

Again, consider these constructive criticisms.

Posted by: jpe at February 22, 2005 07:31 PM

That's just one of the three I mentioned. Even then, a 4 year old could see that Michael Schiavo has a definite conflict of interest, and has acted in such a way. By establishing a separate common-law marriage he has removed himself as a legitimate spouse.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2005 09:11 PM

I think jpe asked for specific legal code and you fell back on opinion. Where exactly does it say in the legal code that a common-law marriage removes him automatically from guardianship?

Posted by: Lori at February 22, 2005 10:57 PM

Where in the legal code does it say heresay evidence regarding DNR orders are admissible but evidence regarding a person's religious intent is not?

Where in the legal code does it say the judge himself is an adequate "advocate" and an attorney is not needed?

The point is, Greer's decisions are not based on law, they're based on what he wants, regardless of the law.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2005 04:07 AM

After a brief time looking around, the hearsay rules don't seem to apply because the court is acting as proxy for Ms. Schiavo. Typically, a proxy isn't subject to hearsay rules because the 'substitute judgment' isn't a judicial determination. In other words, if Mr. Schiavo were to act as proxy, it's up to him to decide what Ms. Schiavo's decision would've been. Obviously, of course, he can make use of whatever evidence is before him, and the courts would defer to his judgment. In this case, he punted to the court, which is then acting as proxy. Given that they're taking over what his role would've been, hearsay rules don't apply to the court's determination.

When I searched the record, hearsay rules were never invoked, so it's safe to assume something like the above.

Posted by: jpe at February 23, 2005 08:16 AM

This should answer your question:
Dear Constituent:

Thank you for your email. I appreciate you taking the time to contact me regarding this very important issue.

If Terri Schiavo's family chooses to continue the fight for their daughter's life, I hope they will explore all of their remaining legal options.

I believe if we are going to make a mistake in this situation we should err on the side of life. Therefore, if the Legislature can find a way to help Terri, we should pursue it aggressively. Unfortunately we have not yet identified an appropriate action, in addition to those we've already taken, that would be helpful.

What we do know is that this has been a painful tragedy for Terri and her family, and the Florida Legislature is currently working on legislation to ensure that no other family is subjected to the same confusion that the Schindlers have endured.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved and, of course, especially with Terri.

Speaker Allan G. Bense
Florida House of Representatives

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2005 10:38 AM

I just want to add my name to those who wish Terry's feeding tube to remain in place.
Thank you, Sr.M.Cecilia Vallee

Posted by: Sr.M.Cecilia Vallee,S.P. at February 23, 2005 05:43 PM

I ask the judge to give terry a fair chance to have all the therapy and MRI's that might be of vale for her parents fight for the right for terry too live. You give a loving pet this chance, but not a living breathing human.

Posted by: sharon vanourek at March 20, 2005 02:14 PM

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