Judge Greer Rejects Several Schiavo Motions
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 2, 2005
TAMPA, FLORIDA--Over a dozen legal motions have been filed related to the Terri Schiavo case since last Friday, when Judge George W. Greer set March 18 as the date that the feeding tube which keeps her alive would be removed.
On Monday, Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, asked Greer to allow Terri to divorce her husband and guardian, Michael Schiavo. They claim that Mr. Schiavo does not have his wife's interests in mind and that it is humiliating for Terri, a devout Catholic, to be married to a man who has been engaged for the last seven years to another woman with whom he has fathered two children.
"We have filed divorce proceedings because of (Michael's) total disregard for Terri as his wife," Bob Schindler said. "It has become quite obvious that his priorities are not in Terri's best interest."
The Schindlers' attorney, David Gibbs III, filed eleven motions in Greer's Pinellas County Circuit Court in defense of Terri's life. Among those motions are a request to have Mr. Schiavo removed as Terri's guardian because he has failed to follow Florida guardianship law; to allow new neurological evaluations using new technologies to be performed to find out the actual extend of her brain damage; to allow reporters to see Terri interact with her parents; to allowed Terri to die at home rather than the hospice where her husband has her staying; and to allow her parents to bury her rather than have her body cremated as Mr. Schiavo currently plans.
On the last point, Gibbs noted that Terri's remains could be considered evidence of a crime if abuse allegations move forward.
Greer rejected most of the motions without comment. He said he would only rule on the requests having to do with how and where Terri dies and what will happen to her body after she dies.
Greer's rejection of the motions most certainly means that the Schindler family will now take each to the appeals court.
Terri's brain was damaged on February 25, 1990 after she collapsed and did not breathe for several minutes. Her husband and parents disagree over the extend of her brain damage. Mr. Schiavo and several doctors convinced the court that Terri is in a "persistent vegetative state", that much of her brain does not function, and that she cannot recover. He also testified that she told him before her injury that she would not want to live by artificial means.
Terri's parents have presented their own evidence that Terri laughs with them, tries to talk, and has even tried to stand up. They argue that she would recover at least some functioning if provided with rehabilitative therapies, perhaps even learning to swallow so she can be safely taken off the feeding tube. They claim that Mr. Schiavo has failed as her guardian because he has denied those therapies -- despite promises he made to provide rehabilitation before being given a $700,000 settlement for her care more than a decade ago.
Before Judge Greer issued his order last Friday, he received a request for a 60-day stay by the Florida Department of Children and Families. The agency wants time to investigate claims that Terri has been abused. Greer refused the delay and sealed the documents with the abuse allegations. Local media outlets filed suit Tuesday to have Greer open the documents to public review.
Claims that Terri's husband abused her before and after her injury have come up in the past. An investigation by the Pinellas State Attorney's office found no evidence of abuse in her medical records. Another by the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities was stalled when the federally-mandated agency was unable to get permission -- from Mr. Schiavo -- to examine Terri.
Terri's parents also called on Governor Jeb Bush and Attorney General Charlie Crist to look into their claims that their daughter's federal and state due process rights have been violated.
Several disability rights groups have been supported Terri's family in their efforts to spare her life. They are concerned that allowing Terri to die by starvation would reinforce a strong societal view that the lives of people with certain disabilities are "not worth living".
"Disability Advocates Shocked by Judge Greer's Order of Execution for Terri Schiavo" (Not Dead Yet)
Schiavo's parents seek divorce for her from her husband" (USA Today)
"Media Outlets Want Filing on Abuse of Terri Schiavo Made Public" (Life News)
"Second thoughts on Terri Schiavo" (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"Schiavo debate taps into faith, fear" (Philadelphia Inquirer)
[Editor's Note: The last Inquirer article quotes Inclusion Daily Express editor Dave Reynolds -- who lives in Spokane, Washington, not Seattle.]
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)