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March 3, 2005

Schindler's Request New Trial Based on Judge's Error

Topics: Legal affairs

On March 2, the attorney for Terri Schindler Schiavo's parents filed a new motion in Pinellas County Probate Court alleging that during the 2000 trial to determine what Terri's end-of-life wishes might have been, trial judge, George W. Greer, made a reversible error. The error occurred when Greer determined that clear and convincing evidence existed to support Terri's oral end-of-life wishes not to be kept alive on artificial life support.

See the prior BlogsforTerri article on Terri's mythical death wish here.

David Gibbs has released the following statement regarding this motion

:"In our motion we pointed out that in Judge Greer's February 2000 Order authorizing Terri's death, he made a clear mistake by discounting the testimony of Terri's friend, Diane Meyer. Diane testified that in 1982 Terri told her she did not agree with the decision by Karen Ann Quinlan's parents to take their daughter off life support. Judge Greer, although initially finding Diane's testimony 'believable,' finally concluded that this conversation could not have occurred in 1982. Judge Greer said in his 2000 Order that he was 'mystified' about Diane Meyer's use of present tense verbs in relating her conversation with Terri. Therefore, he concluded that Terri's statements to Diane did not indicate end-of-life wishes made as an adult, because Terri would only have been 11 or 12 years old in 1976, the year he believed Karen Ann Quinlan had died.

"But it was not Diane Meyer who was mistaken; it was Judge Greer. Karen Ann Quinlan did not die until 1985, some 9 years after her court case ended and her respirator was removed. Apparently, none of the attorneys working on the case in 2000 noticed the mistake in dates. No one told Judge Greer that Karen Ann Quinlan was alive in 1982, making it entirely appropriate for Diane and Terri to discuss her situation in the present tense.

"A Florida attorney pointed out the mistake to me last week. As an officer of the court, I feel obliged to provide this information to Judge Greer in the form of a motion asking him to declare that, in fact, a mistake in dates had erroneously influenced his decision in 2000.

"If Judge Greer's 2000 Order authorizing Michael Schiavo to end his wife's life were a criminal death sentence, Terri would be entitled to a new trial on the basis of reversible error. Although Terri is not a criminal, she is still under a court-imposed death order, an order that is the equivalent of a death penalty. Therefore, we are asking Judge Greer to correct his mistake by either reversing his 2000 Order or conducting a new trial." -- David Gibbs III, attorney for Bob and Mary Schindler

Posted by tim at March 3, 2005 1:10 PM

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Great news. If Greer doesn't grant a new trial, this should be grounds for appeal.

Posted by: MaxedOutMama at March 3, 2005 5:51 PM