Media Outlets Want Filing on Abuse of Terri Schiavo Made Public

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 1, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Media Outlets Want Filing on Abuse of Terri Schiavo Made Public

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 1, 2005

Clearwater, FL ( — Media outlets want an 11-page filing by the Florida Department of Children and Families, saying the agency will investigate allegations that Terri Schiavo has been abused, to be made public. A local judge has scheduled a Wednesday hearing in the matter.

Last week, the Florida agency said it wants 60 days to conduct an investigation into new allegations that Terri Schiavo was abused or mistreated.

The Florida DCF filed papers with Circuit Court Judge George Greer to have Terri’s starvation delayed while it looked into the situation, but Greer instead set a March 18 date by which Terri’s estranged husband Michael could take her life.

Now, media outlets want a copy of the papers, which Judge Greer sealed.

The company that owns the Tampa Tribune newspaper and WFLA-TV filed suit to gain access to the paper and Greer will hold a hearing Wednesday to determine if they should be released.

The media outlets argue that the normal privacy concerns in a legal case don’t apply because the legal battle between Michael and Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, has been so extensive and a very public fight.

"The extraordinary public interest in this proceeding is heightened by the executive branch’s continuing efforts to inject itself into this controversy," the filing said.

The Florida Department of Children & Families does not name a person responsible for the abuses, though Terri’s estranged husband Michael has been accused of abusing her before her collapse 15 years ago.

Matt Davis, an attorney with the Gibbs law firm, handling legal matters for the Schindlers, says the document brings up many of the concerns previously brought forward by the Schindlers.

"We are confident when someone from the outside does see how Terri has been treated, they will see she has been mistreated all these years," Davis said.

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Terri Schiavo’s parents –