Judge Prevents Terri Schiavo’s Parents From Intervening in Terri’s Law Case

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 12, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Judge Prevents Terri Schiavo’s Parents From Intervening in Terri’s Law Case

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 12, 2004

Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — For a second time, Circuit Court Judge Douglas Baird has prevented the parents of Terri Schiavo from joining Governor Jeb Bush in defending Terri’s Law.

Baird prevented Robert and Mary Schindler from participating in November 2003 and the Schindlers appealed his decision. A Florida appeals court last month rebuked Baird and said he failed to follow proper guidelines when dismissing the intervention request.

That didn’t stop Baird from denying a second request to participate.

Baird said the legal rights of the Shindlers were not affected by the outcome of the case, which concerns a law passed by the state legislature authorizing Governor Bush to ask doctors to reinsert the feeding tube that is providing Terri with nutrition.

"In order for the Schindlers to be entitled to intervene in this cause, they must demonstrate an interest in the matter in litigation of such a direct and immediate character that they will either gain or lose by the direct legal operation and effect of judgment," Baird wrote in his opinion.

Terri’s father Robert Schindler, told LifeNews.com that he and Mary have tremendous interest in Terri’s well-being — more so than Terri’s estranged husband Michael.

"Imagine being told that you have no interest in your own child," Terri’s father told LifeNews.com. "I just cannot understand why this court continues to deny our daughter protection but affords so much to her guardian."

"Terri is our daughter, our eldest child and a human being that we are bound to by both love and responsibility," Robert continued. "I just can’t understand how any judge would think that her mother and I have no interest in protecting her life."

A pro-life law firm that is handling the intervention request for the Schindlers says it is considering appealing Baird’s decision.

"We are disappointed with the decision and will consider all options including another appeal to Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal, which has previously overturned Judge Baird on this very issue," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice.

"It is our belief that the decision is legally flawed and ignores the fact that the parents have legally sound reasons for intervening directly in this case. The court failed to acknowledge that the Schindlers meet the proper legal standard for intervention," Sekulow added.

The Florida appeals court also ruled that attorneys for Governor Bush who are seeking to defend the pro-life law in court should be able to question witnesses in the case.

If Baird rules the law unconstitutional, Michael will be able to remove her feeding tube for a third time, possibly causing her death.

Related web sites:
Judge Baird’s order denying intervention – https://zimp.org/documents/AmendedOrderDenyingInt031104.pdf
Terri Schindler’s parents – https://www.terrisfight.org