Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Schiavo Case

Wow, one of my friends just fowarded this to me. It was a listener's response to a radio show discussing the Schiavo Case. I don't know how true this is, but if it is true, it brings up a lot of disturbing issues.

- Jean Chen

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This case is about a person with a brain injury having the rights guaranteed by the ADA. It is also about protecting the rights of battered women.
Facts omitted from national coverage but easily verifiable with brief research include the following: there are allegations of spousal abuse perpetrated by Terri's husband. X-rays show multiple broken bones and internal injuries. The judge who has controlled the evidence in the case (remember, appeals only review facts already established by the prior judge and do not allow new evidence to be introduced) has refused to allow important evidence to be admitted. He has a record of refusing to protect battered women from abusive husbands. One died as a result a few years ago. He has refused to consider the abundant evidence of the unfitness of Michael Schiavo as a guardian for Terri's interests. Domestic violence is a serious issue in this country and its possible role here should not be ignored and kept out of the conversation.
Disability rights advocates are very concerned about this case. Terri Schiavo is not chattel to be discarded by her ex-husband. It is not his decision to make, but hers, and he has done everything possible to ensure that she is unable to speak about her own wishes by denying her therapy. Remember, she was speaking before he terminated her access to rehabilitation.
All the talk about this being a "private family matter" is specious. Michael Schiavo is not committed to her nor to her interests. He has refused her access to rehabilitation necessary (she was talking and moving when receiving rehab), has refused her normal rights such as going outside, diagnostic tests, etc. He was already cheating on her before her injury (and was confronted by her the night before her injury) and is now in a common law marriage with 2 kids with someone else. It is bizarre that the press is talking about the sanctity of marriage and the right to privacy under these sick circumstances.
Leading neurologists state that there is a 30% error rate in diagnosing PVS and the doctors who have examined Terri disagree about whether she in fact is in a vegetative state. Where are her rights?
Why aren't news crews being allowed to see her? Why is this being twisted into a "right to die" or "end of life" case? Terri is not fighting for the right to die, nor was she dying before the tube was removed. This is terribly misleading and confusing to the public. I have no doubt the majority of progressives would support the parents' cause if they were not being told over and over again that this is about the right to die.
Please correct this mischaracterization. Most Oregonians support the right to die. This case is NOT about the right to die nor is about "end of life" and it is a disservice to the public to characterize it as such. KBOO should be looking beneath the surface of this story. The Schiavo case raises serious feminist and disability-rights issues. Please do your listeners a service and have your hosts investigate these issues more deeply. Progressives can and must do better.
Respectfully,
Elise Craig
Portland, Oregon

2 Comments:

At 7:13 PM, Blogger The Green Man said...

I don't know any of the facts in this case, so what I'm going to say is tangential to a lot of what you write. But not entirely.

The reason a judge is not permitted to review new evidence is because we have a principle in the American legal system that no one person can reliably determine "truth" from "lies". We know there are reasons for both sides in any dispute to exaggerate and be dishonest. So the plan we developed (actually, the English developed it over hundreds of years, and we adopted it in America) is to have both groups present evidence and arguments in their favor in front of an impartial group of people, and then leave it to that group to talk it over and decide what seems most likely to be "true". This is what a Jury is for. The idea is simply that a group with differing biases and backgrounds will do a better job of sorting through the evidence than any one person.

It is not permissible for a Judge to accept as true any statement that was not presented openly, available for both parties to hear, challenged openly, and reviewed by a Jury. If there is a lot of evidence that was not presented in the case, that is not the fault of the Judge who is hearing the appeal.

If you are concerned about the record of the appeals Judge, this principle actually protects your interest in the case. You seem to be suggesting that he is preventing evidence from being presented. Consider, though, if he were really, personally hostile to the case it would be much more damaging for him to select what new evidence could be introduced, or for him to be ruling - solo - which new statements were true and which were lies. There are some good reasons for him to be restricted in what he is allowed to do here.

 
At 9:01 PM, Anonymous majikjenie said...

This is truly a sad day for all in the U.S. I personally do not trust her so-called husband. I don't know if anyone was aware of this, but a good friend of Terri's and she were planning on getting an apartment together. In other words, she was planning to leave her husband according to her girlfriend. He has a history of physical abuse. Could it be he doesn't ever want her to speak again? Why is he so insistent to kill her? He will have to speak for his actions in the next life and God help him. He will condemn himself for eternity. I will not judge him but I cannot stop how I feel about him and the hatred he portrays by not allowing her family to be with her at these difficult times. There just aren't enough words in the english language to express the sadness and anger I feel. A righteous anger . I was searching for any type of humaness in him but all I saw and felt from him was detachment. I pity his next wife. There seems to be a very dark side to him. I share with the family the helplessness they must be feeling. My heart and prayers go with the family of Terri's and with Terri.

 

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