Judge Prevents Bush Attorneys From Deposing Terri’s Law Witnesses

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 2, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Judge Prevents Bush Attorneys From Gathering Info for Terri’s Law Suit

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
December 2, 2003

Pinellas Park, FL (LifeNews.com) — A judge on Tuesday granted a motion filed by Terri Schiavo’s estranged husband Michael that would prevent attorneys for Governor Jeb Bush from taking depositions in the lawsuit related to Terri’s Law. Bush’s attorneys hope to gather evidence disproving Michael’s claims that Terri would prefer to die than live in the disabled state she is in currently.

The decision likely means that a trial will not be held and the case will be decided on summary judgment soon.

Pinellas Circuit Court Judge W. Douglas Baird granted the motion filed by Michael’s attorney George Felos, an assisted suicide advocate who is getting help from the ACLU.

Felos claimed the testimony would be irrelevant and that Judge Baird should only decide whether Terri’s Law is constitutional and not reexamine the facts of the case. Michael has sued to overturn the law and remove Terri’s feeding tube for a third time.

Attorneys for Bush wanted to depose seven people that would help them defend the law that allowed Governor Bush to ask doctors to reinsert the feeding tube that is helping Terri stay alive.

Michael Schiavo and Jodi Centonze, the woman with whom he lives and has one child and another one the way, are two of the people Bush attorneys want to question.

Terri left no advanced directive indicating her preference for medical treatment. Michael claimed years after Terri’s collapse that he vaguely remembered Terri saying she didn’t want to be kept alive artificially.

However, a longtime friend of Terri vividly remembers a conversation they had concerning a woman who had been in a coma for six years. Terri’s friend told a crude joke. It upset Terri and she responded by asking whether the doctors and lawyers could possible know what the woman wanted and said, "Where there’s life, there’s hope."

Judge Baird has been accused of being biased in the case by already saying Terri’s Law is possibly unconstitutional, despite Bush not having yet made his case for it. He has refused to step down from the case.

Michael’s attorneys have asked Baird to deny hearings and an ultimate trial and instead issue a summary judgment opinion. A December hearing date on the request has been set for mid-December.

Baird’s motion today denying the depositions makes it appear more likely that he will block a trial and issue a quick opinion on the law’s constitutionality.

This is the second time Michael has attempted to block depositions.

A judge previously rejected an attempt to block the discovery of new information that could be used to replace Michael as Terri’s guardian. Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, hope new information can be gathered to prove whether or not Terri was a victim of physical abuse that led to her collapse.

They want Terri’s brother Bob Schindler, Jr., replace Michael as her guardian.

The Schindlers are hoping to uncover new information pointing to the need to change guardianship — including questioning the radiologist who conducted a bone scan on Terri in March 1991 that showed she was possibly a victim of physical abuse.

Felos claims Bush is attempting to intervene in the guardianship lawsuit by deposing witnesses in the lawsuit regarding Terri’s Law.

Related web sites:
Terri’s family – https://www.terrisfight.org