Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Florida Supreme Court Denies Hearing in Euthanasia Case ^ | 8/22/03 | Jeff Johnson

Posted on 08/23/2003 12:44:31 AM PDT by kattracks

Capitol Hill ( - The Florida Supreme Court Friday turned down a request to review the case of Terri Schindler Schiavo, the 39-year-old woman who suffered brain damage under questionable circumstances in 1990.

As a result of the Supreme Court denying the petition filed by the woman's family, Pinellas County, Fla., Circuit Judge George Greer is expected to order the removal of Schiavo's feeding and hydration tube as early as Tuesday. She is expected to die of starvation and/or dehydration within 15 days

"[T]he Court, having determined that no basis for jurisdiction exists, it is ordered that the Petition for Review is denied. No Motion for Rehearing will be entertained by the Court. Petitioners' 'Emergency Motion for Stay Pending Discretionary Review' is hereby denied," the ruling states.

"We just got this news and we're very disappointed, [but] it does not surprise me, given the procedural posture of the case," Pat Anderson, attorney for the Schindler family, told

The Florida Supreme Court's decision means that the state's Second District Court of Appeals retains jurisdiction over the case. That court is expected to issue a "mandate" by the close of business Monday that would give the case back to Greer. Both the appeals court and Greer have ruled in the past that Michael Schiavo's request to end his wife's life should be granted.

"That's where we are," Anderson said. "There's no question that Terri Schiavo is in jeopardy when you have both a guardian and a judge who want to see her gone."

Michael Schiavo and Terri's family have been involved in a court battle for more than a decade over the husband's desire to remove his wife's feeding tube. Terri's parents and siblings argue that her brain damage and the resulting disabilities should be treated. While she must have a feeding tube for nourishment and hydration, Terri does not require a respirator or other extraordinary measures to keep her alive.

Both attorneys expect response from lower court as early as Monday

Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, said he expects quick action from Greer.

"I would certainly hope, and we expect that the judge will act very promptly; we'll have a very prompt hearing," Felos said. "We'll just have to wait and see."

Given the history of Greer's nearly unequivocal support of Michael Schiavo, Anderson said Felos' prediction is probably correct.

"The worst case, I suppose, would be that Judge Greer, without holding any sort of hearing, would set a death date for Terri," Anderson said, "and Terri's feeding could stop as early as sometime next week, Tuesday maybe or Wednesday."

Anderson also said that her response to the decision is still in the "embryonic stages"

"Whether we are going to petition the United States Supreme Court or just go back to the trial court," Anderson explained, "we've not decided yet."

Felos believes trying to take the case back to the U.S. Supreme Court would be ineffectual.

"Frankly, it's my client's position that any further steps to delay implementation of this order is just an abuse and manipulation of the judicial system," Felos said. "It's a frivolous attempt to delay this."

Petition asks Gov. Bush to stay 'execution,' investigate cause of brain damage

Friends of Terri and the Schindler family disagree. They have contacted Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush's office in an attempt to get him to intervene in the case, possibly by ordering a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding Terri's brain injury.

"I've got a call, a fax and an e-mail in to Governor Bush," said Pamela Hennessy, volunteer media coordinator for the "Friends of Terri."

Hennessy praised the family for its unity and "absolute devotion to one another.

"One thing has become exceedingly apparent to me during the time I've spent with this family, and that is that they are the epitome of family," Hennessy said. "These people have put their own lives on hold in order to protect the life of young Terri."

But Hennessy had less flattering words for the Florida judicial system.

"There is nothing in this case that resembles justice, and every Floridian and American should be horrified at the precedent it sets," Hennessy concluded. "If not for Terri, then for yourself, contact Florida's governor."

The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation's website still contains links to an online petition asking Gov. Bush to take action to save Terri's life.

"WHEREAS evidence in Terri Schiavo's medical records and testimony suggests Terri was possibly strangled. Terri's family believes this crime was committed by her husband, and this act was responsible for Terri's mysterious collapse and ensuing heart failure [and resulting brain damage]," the petition states.

A receptionist with Gov. Bush's press office said Friday afternoon that they would not be able to respond to inquiries about Terri's case or the petition drive until mid-day Monday.

The family also charges that Michael Schiavo has "petitioned the court to have Terri's body cremated immediately following her death.

"The Schindler family believes Terri's cremation is a maneuver her husband will utilize to destroy evidence of his criminal acts," the petition adds. "We, the undersigned, ask that you issue a stay in any further court proceedings until a full investigation can be completed."

Felos has previously denied any wrongdoing on the part of Michael Schiavo and has also stated that the fact his client is living with and has a child by a woman other than his wife has no bearing on Michael Schiavo's fitness to serve as Terri's guardian.

Friday loss comes after legal win for parents Thursday

Attorneys for both sides of the battle were back in court Thursday over allegations that Michael Schiavo had withheld medical information from Terri's parents in violation of a 1996 court order. Terri was admitted to a local hospital on August 13 because she was "coughing up blood," according to Felos. Anderson said Terri's parents found out that Terri had been taken from a hospice to the hospital more than 24 hours after the fact and were initially denied any information about their daughter's condition.

In an Aug. 15 interview, Felos led to believe that he had contacted Anderson to notify her about Terri's hospitalization.

"I spoke with the Schindlers' attorney [Aug. 14] about Terri and about Terri's condition," Felos said in response to a question about the court order requiring that Terri's parents be notified of any change in her medical condition. "And I believe the Schindlers have also talked to the doctor who's caring for Terri. At least, that's my information."

But Anderson claimed that it was not Felos who initiated the contact.

"As usual, Felos has chosen his words carefully in order to convey a misimpression," Anderson said in an e-mail message to "I called Felos' office [Aug. 14] about 4 p.m. when the Schindlers could not get any information about Terri. Felos did not initiate any call to me about Terri's condition."

Anderson also alleged that Michael Schiavo was in violation of the 1996 court order requiring that he notify Terri's parents about changes in her condition.

"Furthermore, her hospital chart contains the specific instruction from Michael Schiavo that no information about Terri's condition be given to her parents," Anderson alleged. "This was confirmed [Aug. 15] by a physician to the parents."

In an emergency hearing held Thursday, guardianship attorney Deborah Bushnell told the court that she and George Felos had provided information about Terri's medical condition to the Schindler family "in a timely fashion."

But Anderson told the judge that the Schindlers had only learned of Terri's admittance to Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater after Anderson telephoned Felos' office "pleading for information."

Anderson also told the judge that the information provided by Bushnell and Felos had been contradictory and that the Schindlers were still unable to learn exactly why their daughter was hospitalized. In one of his few rulings in favor of the family in the history of the case, Judge Greer ordered Bushnell to provide the hospital's discharge summary to the Schindlers.

See Earlier Stories:
Florida Woman to Be Allowed to Die Despite Family's Wishes
(Aug. 5, 2003)
Woman at Center of Fla. Euthanasia Case Hospitalized (Aug. 15, 2003)

Listen to audio for this story.

E-mail a news tip to Jeff Johnson.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: euthanasia; schiavo

1 posted on 08/23/2003 12:44:32 AM PDT by kattracks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: kattracks
Her family has just GOT to rescue her from that murdering ba$tard!
2 posted on 08/23/2003 1:00:03 AM PDT by Thorondir
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Thorondir; kattracks
Her family has just GOT to rescue her from that murdering ba$tard!

I sure would hate for my life to depend on SCOFLA!

3 posted on 08/23/2003 1:42:17 AM PDT by Paleo Conservative (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: kattracks
She is expected to die of starvation and/or dehydration within 15 days

The courts guarantee prisoners on death row less cruel deaths.

4 posted on 08/23/2003 6:03:06 AM PDT by syriacus (Schumer's in a MALE-ONLY group that places Duty to God above ALL other duties)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: syriacus
This woman has been kept alive in a vegatative state for 13 years- how cruel is that? She is unconcious and won't notice she's hungry.
Message to family- if I ever end up like that pull the plug!
5 posted on 08/23/2003 10:45:20 AM PDT by 1FreeAmerican
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: syriacus; kattracks
She is expected to die of starvation and/or dehydration within 15 days

"The courts guarantee prisoners on death row less cruel deaths."

That's because the only people who have rights in the courts are criminals.

6 posted on 08/23/2003 10:47:33 AM PDT by Paleo Conservative (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: 1FreeAmerican
You are so very wrong on this one. She is awake and responds appropriately. This is murder!
7 posted on 08/23/2003 10:51:15 AM PDT by countrydummy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Thorondir
murdering ba$tard

From$2-million+to+woman+left+in+vegetative+state+Series:+Metro+REPORT, she had bulimia which very likely caused her heart attack, not her husband.

8 posted on 08/23/2003 1:43:00 PM PDT by palmer (paid for by the "Lazamataz for Supreme Ruler" campaign.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: palmer
That probably didn't help matters, but x-rays reveal that there's trauma to her neck consistent with strangulation. As well as other broken bones in her body consistent with abuse.
9 posted on 08/25/2003 8:20:14 PM PDT by yhwhsman ("Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small..." -Sir Winston Churchill)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson