Terri Schiavo Didn’t Deserve Her Own Attorney, Feeding Tube Can be Removed

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 12, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Terri Schiavo Didn’t Deserve Her Own Attorney, Feeding Tube Can be Removed Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 12, 2005

Clearwater, FL(LifeNews.com) — A local judge has refused to reconsider his ruling allowing the estranged husband of Terri Schiavo to remove her feeding tube and begin a painful week-long starvation process.

Circuit Court Judge George Greer rejected arguments made by attorneys for her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, that she never had her own attorney during the decade long legal battle between them and Michael Schiavo.

The Schindlers say Terri’s due process claims were violated as a result.

Friday’s decision could set up removal of the feeding tube on February 22 unless Judge Greer puts another stay in place while the Schindlers appeal his decision.

Judge Greer issued a nine-page written order on Friday saying the Schindlers didn’t show enough evidence to move forward on a hearing on the due process claims.

"The respondents (the parents) have failed to show that failure to appoint independent counsel violated statutory or constitutional due process requirements that would void the court’s (previous) order," Greer wrote.

He cited a ruling by the Florida 2nd District Court of Appeal, which previously said it was appropriate for Greer to serve as an independent advocate for Terri as he considered the arguments by both sides.

"In reviewing the many boxes of court filings," Schindler attorney David Gibbs said before the ruling, "we cannot find a single instance where Terri was afforded the right of every American to have a lawyer who would represent her own interests."

George Felos, the euthanasia advocate who is Michael’s lead attorney, told the Associated Press he wasn’t surprised by the ruling.

"I don’t think it’s any surprise the judge decided not to declare his order void after it’s been reviewed by 20 or 30 appellate justices," Felos said.

He indicated he expected the Schindlers to appeal the ruling, which could push back the date for removing the feeding tube. Felos also said Michael intends to remove the feeding tube unless legally prevented from doing so by another stay.

The Schindlers have other legal motions in play that could spare Terri’s life a little longer.

They are appealing a decision by the 2nd District court saying that starving Terri to death does not violate her religious liberties. The Schindlers hope the U.S. Supreme Court will agree that, as a Catholic, Terri would oppose Michael’s euthanasia bid.

The Schindlers also have a third motion in court that asks Judge Greer to remove Michael as Terri’s legal guardian because of numerous conflicts of interest.