News

Legal Efforts Fading in Schiavo Case

Jim Teeple

Legal efforts to reattach a severely brain-damaged Florida woman's feeding tube appeared to be coming to an end on Thursday, with rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court and a Florida judge. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case, and a Florida judge barred state officials from intervening to try to keep Terri Schiavo alive.

Florida Circuit Court Judge George Greer, who ordered Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube removed last week, ruled against a request by Florida state welfare officials to take protective custody of Terri Schiavo and reattach her feeding tube. The Florida judge also ruled against a second motion that would have allowed Florida's Governor Jeb Bush to intervene in the case on an emergency basis.

The decisions followed a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that rejected a plea from Ms. Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, to do the same. The Supreme Court decision which came in a brief one-page order was welcomed by George Felos who is the lawyer for Michael Schiavo, Terri Schiavo's husband and legal guardian.

"We are very grateful for the Court's ruling and we believe that effectively ends the litigation in this case, " he said.

Michael Schiavo has been fighting in Florida courts for more than a decade to remove his wife's feeding tube, saying she had told him she did not wish to be kept alive artificially. Terri Schiavo has been hospitalized with severe brain damage since 1990 when her heart stopped briefly, due a chemical imbalance, believed to have been brought on by an eating disorder.

Terri Schiavo's parents say they believe their daughter could recover some brain functions with therapy. On Sunday, the U.S. Congress passed emergency legislation allowing the Schindlers to move their case to the Federal Court system, something that has now come to an end.

Schiavo attorney George Felos told reporters Thursday he believes judicial appeals have now been exhausted.

"I mention again I think it should become obvious to one and every observer that that the entire judicial system of the United States, the state courts of Florida, the entire Federal Judiciary, has said this case must end," he said. "This case is over. Mrs. Schiavo's legal rights have been ruled on again and again, the courts have consistently found that she did not want to remain alive artificially. Her wishes should be carried out."

The latest legal wrangling in Florida was prompted by Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who said on Wednesday that a new medical review by state authorities showed Ms. Schiavo's brain damage might not be as severe as initially diagnosed. Governor Bush said Ms. Schiavo's medical condition needed to be stabilized, so her case could be reviewed by state welfare officials who might need to take her into protective custody.

"The neurologist's review indicates that Terri may have been misdiagnosed, and it is more likely that she is in a state of minimal consciousness rather than in a persistent vegetative state," he said. "This new information raises serious concerns and warrants immediate action."

In addition to the legal setbacks suffered by Terri Schiavo's parents Thursday, Florida's Senate on Wednesday also rejected a measure to intervene in the case.

Supporters of Ms. Schiavo's parents are vowing to pursue further legal avenues to intervene in the case although it is not clear at this point what those might be.

President Bush issued a statement Thursday from his ranch in Texas, saying he was saddened by the Supreme Court Ruling. The statement says "when there is a complex case such as this, where serious questions have been raised, the president believes we ought to err on the side of life."

Law enforcement authorities have reinforced security at the hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida where Terri Schiavo is bedridden. Over the past few days police have arrested a number of protesters who support Ms. Schiavo's parents.

Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was disconnected last Friday, but medical experts say the brain damaged woman could live for as long as another week, if her feeding tube is not reattached.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs