Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Despite the rushed legislation that Congress had enacted to help prolong Terri Schiavo’s life, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia ruled that the appeal system could not interfere with the rulings of the state courts in Florida, especially on the manner of proving or disproving facts that was already determined there. And so therefore, the appeal of Terri’s parents was ruled out to be without merit.

In legal procedures, appeals of lower court decisions should not question the facts that was already determined beforehand and should only question the propriety of judgments like for example if the judge had erred so gravely by disregarding or misinterpreting evidences presented therein---this kind of error is termed as grave abuse of discretion. Appeals can also be had if the judgment of the lower court appears to be unconstitutional. Appeals could not be instituted on the premise of discovering or rediscovering new facts because presentations of evidences are not allowed on appeal.

I have not read yet the full order denying the appeal of Terri’s parents but on re-appeal, they should changed the tenor of their petition to one that will address probable errors of judgment like for example by averring that the judgment of the lower courts in Florida was not supported by sufficient evidence, on the premise that the desire of Terri not to go on feeding tubes was not established reasonably.

Trends however are against the wishes of Terri’s parents because every court there is in town had favored Terri’s husband from day one. Polls in gathered by CNN shows 56% of respondents agreeing to the removal of the feeding tubes while merely 36% were against it. The rest was indecisive.

Terri’s parents are now on the process of re-appeal and we may still go on watching over this real-life drama that is unfolding before our very eyes.


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