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Appeals Court Wants Schiavo Case On Fast Track To Supreme Court;
Police Find No Criminal Intent Behind Puncture Marks

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 14, 2004

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA--There were two major developments in the case of Terri Schiavo, during the week that followed a local court's decision to toss out the law which has kept her alive since October.

On Wednesday, the 2nd District Court of Appeal indicated that it wants the state's challenge to a May 6 Pinellas Circuit Court decision moved quickly to the state Supreme Court. It gave Governor Jeb Bush and Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, 10 days to explain why the ruling that overturned "Terri's Law" should not bypass the appeals court and be sent directly to the high court as "a matter of great importance requiring immediate resolution."

On Friday, Clearwater police said that puncture marks discovered on Terri's arm on March 29 were not caused deliberately and that a device found in her bed was actually a connector for medical feeding and irrigation tubes.

Michael Schiavo restricted visits to his wife when he suspected that Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, used a hypodermic needle to inject something into her.

Police Chief Sid Klein said their investigation found no evidence of harm, injury or violation from a criminal act. Toxicology tests found nothing unusual in Terri's blood. Klein said it was likely that the marks came from a lift used to transport Terri at the nursing home.

Disability rights advocates have been watching the legal battle over Terri's life for several years. Terri, 40, breathes on her own, but is given food and water through a tube installed through the wall of her stomach.

Her husband and several doctors claim that she has been in a "persistent vegetative state" since she collapsed and her brain was without oxygen for several minutes in February 1990. The courts have consistently supported Mr. Schiavo's claims that Terri cannot recover from her brain injury, that she does not feel pain, and that she would not have wanted to live "by artificial means".

Terri's parents believe that she is alert and responsive and that she could improve through therapies which Mr. Schiavo has denied her for at least the past 10 years. They have claimed that Terri's husband wants her to die so that he can marry a woman with whom he has fathered two children. The Schindlers want him removed as Terri's guardian and have pushed for an investigation into their allegations that he has abused, neglected and financially exploited her. They also suspect that Michael may have caused Terri's initial collapse.

The Schindlers and advocates have defended Terri's right to live, noting that allowing her to die by starvation would reinforce the message that the lives of people with certain disabilities are not worth living. Under pressure from disability rights and right-to-life advocates, Governor Bush championed "Terri's Law" rapidly through the Legislature, giving him permission to order Terri's feeding tube reinserted six days after it had been removed on October 16, 2003.

Mr. Schiavo immediately challenged the law, claiming it violated Terri's right to privacy and the Florida Constitution's separation of powers provisions. Last week, Pinellas Circuit Court Judge W. Douglas Baird sided with Mr. Schiavo.

"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation


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