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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Dying for Justice - The Legalized Murder of Terri Schiavo - Part II

Part I of this post (April 3) can be found here

There are two people who have a direct responsibility for the killing of Terri Schiavo. Some lesser responsibility falls on a few others, only in that they failed to use all means possible to stop the first two from killing her. We will start with one of the most responsible for her death: Judge George Greer.

Judge Greer, surprisingly, is a conservative, a Republican & a Baptist. He is a judge on Florida's Sixth Judicial Circuit Court. It is he that has been involved in the Terri Schiavo case from its inception. He initially ruled in favor of Terri's husband, Michael, to be her legal guardian. He ruled on & determined the facts in the case, i.e., that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state. He also ruled in favor of Michael when Michael requested the feeding tubes be removed. Only a bill (Terri's Law) by the Florida Legislature prevented that removal - until the Florida Supreme Court ruled Terri's Law was unconstitutional.

Since that time, Greer has ruled consistently against Terri's parents in their appeals to not have the tube removed & consistently ruled against them after the tube was in fact removed, thus leading to Terri's death.

Her purposeful killing has been accomplished under the aegis of George (Killher) Greer, a judge too dogmatic, too stubborn, too arrogant, too stupid, too incompetent or too lacking in compassion to "err of the side of life", as President Bush phrased it

In the initial court investigation, 5 neurologists examined Terri & reported the results to Greer. Three of the five deemed her to be in a persistent vegetative state. The other two did not. Despite differing conclusions & without further investigation, Greer ruled Terri was in a persistent vegetative. This was tantamount to a death sentence. Considering the implications & what eventually followed, Greer could have been more flexible in his ruling. But he was not.

Greer ruled legal guardianship of Terri to her husband, Michael. Her parent's appeal to have guardianship changed to them was denied by Greer. Guardianship is not written in stone. If a guardian is not acting in the best interests of a person or if questions arise about the guardian then the court can review & remove the guardian. Terri's husband has been living with a common law wife for 10 years & is the father of 2 of her children. Considering that he was still married to Terri during this time, what he was doing was committing adultery in view of everyone. Certainly grounds for divorce if Terri were able to file. Yet, where was Greer? Didn't he stop to think that just maybe a review of Michael's guardianship was in order? Didn't Greer question why Michael would still wish to remain married to Terri since he started a whole new life & family? Didn't Greer wonder if Michael still had the best interests of Terri at heart? But, no, Greer apparently thought all this okay. Greer failed Terri miserably in this. Michael denied Terri rehabilitative therapy: physical, speech & communication. He also denied her anti-biotics when she had a urinary infection. He micro-managed her care to the point that she could not even be given ice chips to moisten her dry mouth & lips. He refused to let Terri leave her room for fresh air & sun. Where the hell was Greer when all this was going on? He allowed Michael to play dictator to Terri & nary questioned what Michael was doing. This is a responsible judge? This is a compassionate judge?

Congress passed last minute legislation ordering the Federal Court to conduct a de novo review of Terri's case. Additionally, subpoenas were issued for Terri & Michael to appear before Congress. Whether you think Congress should or shouldn't have issued the subpoenas, the fact is they were issued & they were legal & binding. "KillerHer" Greer on the other hand arrogantly waved off the subpoenas. For one reputed to be a stickler with the law, Greer had no qualms disregarding the subpoenas & not following the law. He is open for obstruction of justice charges & Congress should so charge him. We cannot have arrogant little judges thumbing their nose at Congress & not following the law. They are not realms to themselves as many of them would think they are.

As to whether Terri expressed wishes to die if found under the conditions she was now in, Greer ruled that there was "clear & convincing evidence" that Terri did wish this. But Greer had only the self-serving hearsay testimony of Michael & 2 of his immediate family on this. Yet Greer systematically ruled that testimony from Terri's friends and family was unreliable or not credible. Hearsay evidence is not clear & convincing & to Greer's shame he should have known this or he ignored it. Florida Statute 765.404, says that clear and convincing evidence of the patient's intent for medical treatment must be established. Greer violated this statute.

He violated the statute again. Florida Statute 765.404, which defines persistent vegetative state, requires that the condition be determined and diagnosed as permanent prior to the withdrawal of life-prolonging means. Greer did not have this done. Terri died in what Greer himself ruled as a persistent vegetative state. Greer ruled that no further neurological tests may be conducted on Terri, using functional MRI to determine if she is in a "persistent vegetative state," as Greer found in 2002, or if Terri is "minimally conscious." Greer ordered that the family may not introduce oral nutrition and hydration following the removal of Terri's gastric feeding tube. An interesting point - ordering no oral nutrition & hydration implies that just maybe Terri was in fact capable of surviving without the feeding tube. Florida Statute 744.3215 (Rights of Persons Determined Incapacitated) requires that incapacitated people cannot be deprived of food and water. Terri was incapacitated & never was determined to be in a permanent vegetative state. Another violation by Greer. Florida law also allows their Family Division to gain custody of a person being denied food & water. But Greer issued an order for the agency to stay away. Greer needs to be impeached for these flagrant violations of Florida law.

Questions of abuse of Terri were raised, bone scans revealed trauma to parts of her body, yet Greer refused to investigate these.

With all of the above, one has to wonder why Greer was so eager to kill Terri. He apparently had no humanity in him for this tragic woman. He knew Terri's parents would well take care of her, unlike her husband, & that they would be faithful to her, unlike her husband. Yet he deprived the parent of the child & the child of the parent. What point did killing her prove? Only that Greer had the power to do it? Greer, the demi-god?

We at American Values have judged George "Killher" Greer to be one of the most profound shitheads we know of. Case closed.

Two interesting asides: The law firm representing Michael Schiavo made a campaign contribution to Greer a few years ago when he was running for judge. Conflict of interest? The second point - Greer was asked by his pastor to leave his church. Greer complied with this higher authority.

Part III of the legalized murder of Terri Schiavo will be posted soon.

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