Tough Questions in Schiave Case
This article addresses some tough questions that the mainstream media has not discussed in the Terri Schiavo case. If you are interested in justice, please take a few minutes to read this article.
What is clear and convincing evidence? Who gets to decide what is evidence? Did someone waive the right to a jury trial in Terri's case or does Florida law not allow a jury trial in this type of proceeding? There are more questions that we could ask, but I would like to shed some light on just these few because the mainstream media doesn't seem to want to delve into these issues apparently due to the sticky questions that come from an understanding of these issues.
The Founding Fathers thought that a jury should always decide each case which is why the right to trial by jury was provided for in the U.S. Constitution three (3) times, and the rights provided by the U.S. Constitution cannot be taken away by the states, at least they are not supposed to be abridged by the state or federal government. Of course, our constitutional rights are ignored regularly in the name of national security, sobriety, etc., a.k.a. the war on terror and the war on drugs. But that's another story.
Why did our Founders feel so strongly that all cases should be decided by a jury? Alexander Hamilton explained that the Founders believed that the right to trial by jury was so important because it was much easier to improperly influence a judge than it was to improperly influence several members of a jury who were randomly called to hear a case. For more information on the role of the jury, visit the American Jury Institute website at http://www.americanjuryinstitute.org/ There, you can learn more about what our Founders believed about the protections from tyranny and injustice provided by a jury; when your right to a trial by jury started to be trodden upon, if you guessed during alcohol prohibition, you guessed right; and what you can do to help restore the right to a jury trial as the Founders intended it.
Although the Founders intended for juries not judges to decide cases, Florida's court rules do not provide for jury trials in guardianship proceedings which is how Terri's case came to be decided by Judge Greer instead of a jury. I have read Judge Greer's opinion where he found clear and convincing evidence that Terri did not want to be kept alive artificially based on the testimony of her brother-in-law and her sister-in-law. Judge Greer discounted the testimony of Terri's mother and one of her life-long friends who testified that Terri expressed that she thought that it was wrong to remove life support. You can read Judge Greer's opinion here http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/trialctorder02-00.pdf
Florida's Second District Court of Appeal also found that this conflicting testimony met the standard for clear and convincing evidence although it quoted a Florida Supreme Court decision that it was supposed to follow which stated that when there is conflicting evidence, the court should rule in favor of preserving life. You can read the Second District's opinion here http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/2dcaorder01-01.txt
Proving a case by clear and convincing evidence means that the moving party, Michael Schiavo, would have to meet a very high standard of proof. In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court considered these same circumstances in Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health, 497 U.S. 261, and in this case, it discussed the requirement that the moving party had to show by clear and convincing evidence that a person did not want to be kept alive on life support before it could be removed. In the Cruzan case, the U.S. Supreme Court discussed whether this standard had to be met by written evidence, and although it did not require written evidence, the dissent indicated that it believed that only documentary evidence could satisfy the clear and convincing evidence standard. In Cruzan, although her roommate and her family members had testified that Ms. Cruzan would not want to be kept alive by artificial feeding and hydration tubes, the Missouri Supreme Court had found that this testimony did not meet the clear and convincing evidence standard, and the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that decision.
If the U.S. Supreme Court has decided that uncontradicted testimony did not meet the clear and convincing evidence standard in the Cruzan case, and the Florida Supreme Court has stated that the court must rule in favor of preserving life when faced with conflicting evidence, why did Judge Greer find clear and convincing evidence in the contradictory testimony presented to him, and although Judge Greer's ruling seemed to be erroneous, why did Florida's Second District Court of Appeal uphold it? Also, if our democracy gives the power to make law to the legislature and only the power to interpret it to the courts, why would Florida's courts say that by making a law that would clarify the burden that had to be met before feeding and hydration tubes could be removed, the Florida Legislature exceeded its power? I can't think of a single good reason for these many questionable court decisions, but I can think of a million other reasons. Well, maybe a couple thousand reasons. There have to be enough reasons to spread around.
You may be thinking, well, if these judges have been accused of ignoring the law and playing favorites, then the press would have written about it, or someone would have made a complaint to the government about it, and someone could check on those complaints and see if there is a pattern. Well, if you are thinking that, then you would be wrong. I have written to the St. Petersburg Times and the Tampa Tribune about the questionable decisions of Judge Greer and the Second District Court, but none of my letters have been published.
From now on, I will publish my letters to the editor on the Tampa Bay Independent Media Center website at http://www.tampaindymedia.org/bin/site/templates/splash.asp I urge you to do the same because if the mainstream press sees that the public is interested in an issue that they are not covering, they will either have to cover the issue or lose their credibility. If you are in another area, go to the Tampa website to find the Independent Media Center website for your area.
I have also looked into complaints about Florida's judges. I found that the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which is made up mostly of judges, handles those complaints, and that unless the JQC takes action on a complaint, it remains top secret. So, no one knows how many complaints have been made to the JQC about judges in Florida, and no one in the press seems to be interested in doing any in depth reporting on what obviously appears to be biased court decisions favoring Michael Schiavo.
You would think that the press would be interested in a good scandal involving a judge, look how it has followed the JQC's persecution of Judge Holder for telling on other judges' plans to fix cases. Whoops, the JQC is officially going after Judge Holder for supposedly plagiarizing a paper once upon a time, not telling on other judges. But still, plagiarism is really serious, especially when compared to fixing a case involving life or death.
If you are reading this, you may know that there are numerous websites which tell of questionable decisions by Florida's judges and judges throughout the country. For more information on how you can help ensure your right to a fair trial before an impartial judge, visit the Citizens for Judicial Accountability website at http://www.judicialaccountability.org/ the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law website at http://www.judicialaccountability.org/ the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law website at link to www.jail4judges.org At this website, you can learn about and sign a petition to hold judges accountable when they refuse to follow the law.
If you want the real news, you can't get it on TV or in the papers, you have to go on the internet, and if you want justice when you need it, you better do something now to make sure that liberty and justice for all is restored in our country. There are two petition drives currently being conducted to let our representatives in Washington DC know that the public wants fair judges. Please take a few minutes to visit these websites to learn about and sign these petitions.
Move On has a petition drive to let our Senators know that we do not want dishonest judges on the Federal courts who are willing to do favors rather than follow the law. You can sign this petition at link to www.moveonpac.org Although these petitions are sponsored by liberal organizations, everyone should want fair and impartial judges who follow the rule of law.
Your right to a fair trial is at stake. Many have fought and died to preserve this right, and our troops are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan to give these countries a judicial system where the rule of law is followed. Please take a few minutes to visit these websites to learn about and sign these petitions and copy this link or this article and forward it to your contacts. Thank you for your effort to help preserve our right to a fair trial and equal justice for all.
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