by Steven Ertelt
March 2, 2005
Clearwater, FL (LifeNews.com) — Attorneys for two media outlets on Wednesday told Circuit Court Judge George Greer that he should make public an 11-page document filed by a state agency that says it wants to investigate allegations that Terri Schiavo was abused.
Media General, which owns The Tampa Tribune and WFLA-TV, filed a lawsuit to obtain a copy of the document that was filed with Judge Greer last week.
The Florida Department of Children and Families had wanted 60 days to conduct an investigation into new allegations that Terri Schiavo was abused or mistreated. Instead, Judge Greer granted Terri’s estranged husband Michael permission to take her life via a painful week-long starvation death starting March 18.
During a Wednesday hearing before Judge Greer, DCF attorneys argued that the document should be kept sealed because it would violate the privacy of potential witnesses.
Media General attorney Gregg Thomas told Judge Greer that a balance must be struck between privacy rights and the public’s right to know about the high profile euthanasia battle.
"The greater access there is, the more the people can judge the actions of the DCF, judge the actions of the governor and judge your honor’s actions," Thomas said, according to an Associated Press report.
An attorney for Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, said they did not object to opening the document, but added that they preferred that it stay closed.
David Gibbs, the Schindlers’ lead attorney said DCF would do a better job of investigating if it remained sealed.
Meanwhile, Deborah Bushnell, an attorney for Michael, said he had no position.
"Mr. Schiavo has nothing to hide on this matter," she claimed.
The DCF filing 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.
Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents – https://www.TerrisFight.org