Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Terri Schiavo - The End Is Near

The Eleventh Circuit has affirmed the federal district judge's decision not to restore Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. The legal issues are complicated in some ways, but in a nutshell the courts do not think Terri's parents will prevail in showing that Terri has been deprived of a federal constitutional or other legal right. The federal district judge and the Eleventh Circuit do not find that the law permits them to go beyond the issue of whether Terri's federally guaranteed rights have been denied. It is hard to disagree with the decision unless one considers anew the fact issues concerning Terri's condition and wishes.

As I have written before, Terri's fate was almost sealed when the state court trial judge found by clear and convincing evidence that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state and she wished to die if she were in that condition. The Florida appellate court confirmed that there was enough evidence to justify the trial judge's findings. Appellate courts are reluctant for good reason to retry cases decided by trial courts. Some flaw can always be found, but the judicial system needs finality. In Terri's case, finality seems near.

The Florida Senate also voted against another law to save Terri's life. All attempts to save Terri's life through legislation appear doomed.


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