Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Terri's Reprieve Extended Until Friday Afternoon


Surprise Intervention At Hearing Today

Mary Schindler informed me a little while ago that Judge Greer has extended the stay on removal of Terri's feeding tube (news story here) until 5:00 PM Friday. Judge Greer did not make any rulings today, but said he needed more time to consider the arguments, and would issue a ruling on Friday.

In a surprise move which, so far, none of the news services seem to have reported, an attorney from the Florida Department of Children & Family was present in Judge Greer's courtroom, and indicated that that Department intended to intervene in Terri's case.

Mary Schindler said that she and her family, as well as their attorney David Gibbs, did not expect this development. She told me that the DCF intervention was not made at their behest. "None of us have been in contact with them, and they hadn't contacted us before today", Mary said. "We've been after them for years to step in and investigate, but so far they hadn't done anything."

When I asked Mary if she thought that the DCF intervention was put in motion by Governor Bush, she said "I think that's possible, but I don't know. The first I knew of it was in court today, and we're still trying to find out what it means."

As Mary described the proceedings, apparently the DCF attorney at one point announced her presence, and presented Judge Greer with some papers, which she described as indicating the Agency's intent to intervene in Terri's case. The DCF attorney then asked if she could address the court. Judge Greer's repsonse, Mary said, was "Absolutely not." Judge Greer then made some remark about the papers "being on [his] desk", but indicated that he was not necessarily going to take official notice of them, saying "I don't know if these have been properly filed or not."

Mary told me that the DCF attorney indicated that their intent to intervene and investigate was based on "abuse". Whether that remark referred to the allegations that Terri's condition is a result of Michael's abuse of Terri, or to his actions as Terri's guardian, is not clear.

At this point, the Schindlers themselves are trying to obtain more information about this development. As I learn more, I will pass it along here.

Will the Department of Children and Family successfully intervene? That could be the ray of hope the Schindlers have been praying for.

Update (7:45 PM EST): News Stories on DCF Intervention

The news of the DCF intervention has started appearing on the news services:

Fox News Story(based on AP wire)
LifeNews Story
Reuters Dispatch

The Schindlers are "elated" at the prospect of the DCF intervention. Predictably, Michael Schiavo's attorney George Felos is unhappy, saying that the intervention "reeks of the intervention of politics into the case and is an affront to the court."

Of course, coming from Mr. Felos, remarks about "affonts" to the court are a little rich, seeing that he was only able to get Michael Schiavo's confabulations about Terri's supposed wish not to be kept alive in her condition into court by violating (with Judge Greer's connivance) rules of civil trial procedure.

George, this intervention isn't about politics. This move could cost Governor Bush politically. Rather, it's about giving Terri the justice of which she has so long been deprived.