Investigation of Abuse of Terri Schiavo Should be Made Public, Judge Rules

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 3, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Investigation of Abuse of Terri Schiavo Should be Made Public, Judge Rules Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 3, 2005

Clearwater, FL ( — Circuit Court Judge George Greer on Thursday ruled that an 11-page document detailing the reasons for an investigation into allegations that Terri Schiavo has been abused must be made public.

The Tampa Tribune and WFLA television station filed a suit requesting that that document not be sealed. The 11-page report filed with Judge Greer last week by the Florida Department of Children and Families detailed why the state agency wanted Terri’s starvation death postponed for 60 days.

Judge Greer indicated he would make the document available on Friday.

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.

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 –