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The Rule of Terri's Case Strikes Again

Terri's parents are held to the letter of the law; the man who is trying to kill her is given heaping amounts of "judicial discretion."

11:20 AM, Jan 30, 2004 • By WESLEY J. SMITH
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We've all heard of judicial discretion, but this ridiculous. Greer has repeatedly denied Terri important protections to which she is entitled under Florida statutes--for almost three years--and no court will do anything about it. No wonder the Florida legislature passed Terri's Law.

I asked Pat Anderson why, in her opinion, hard and fast rules that govern other guardianships don't apply to Terri. She chuckled bitterly, "It's the Rule of Terri's Case. Both the guardian and the judge treat Terri as though she were already dead and in no need of these statutory protections."

Harsh words? I think not. Schiavo's most recent requests for time extensions were for the purpose of waiting to see whether "the mandate of the Second District Court of Appeal may be complied with." The "mandate" in question is Terri's dehydration. Thus, to put it bluntly, Judge Greer permitted Schiavo to again avoid complying with his already long overdue statutory obligations because, in essence, Terri is as good as dead: So, why go through the time and bother of complying with the law?

WHILE WE ARE ON THE SUBJECT of Michael Schiavo treating Terri as if she were already dead: I recently completed reading his November 19, 1993 deposition. The examination took place after the Schindlers attempted to remove Schiavo as Terri's guardian because he refused to allow the administration of antibiotics to treat a serious infection. After admitting to having been romantically involved with other women during this period, he was asked what he did with Terri's jewelry. He answered:

"Um, I think I took her engagement ring and her--what do you call it--diamond wedding band and made a ring for myself."


Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, and an attorney for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. He is also a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture.