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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs