Skip to main content
The Web    CNN.com      Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Law

Schindlers' lawyer: Legal fight near end


story.odonnell.2.cnn.jpg
Brother Paul O'Donnell said the Schindler family has requested prayers for Terri Schiavo.
more videoVIDEO
Michael Schiavo's attorney disputes claims about Terri's condition.

Schiavo's brother denounces lawyer's description of her condition

CNN's Bill Schneider on the political bandwagon surrounding the case.

Parents explain why they bring their children to Schiavo protest.
RELATED
Timeline: Schiavo case

• Background: The Schiavo case
• Interactive: The feeding tube
• FindLaw: Whittemore rulingexternal link
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Terri Schiavo
Florida

(CNN) -- The Florida Supreme Court dismissed -- for the second time in a week -- a bid by Terri Schiavo's parents to have their brain-damaged daughter's feeding tube reconnected.

The state's highest court rejected an emergency petition Saturday night, saying it had no jurisdiction. On Thursday, the court had refused to hear the case.

A family spokesman said her parents are grief-stricken that she is dying.

Doctors do not expect Schiavo to live beyond next Friday.

In their latest petition, Schiavo's parents argued that the court order to remove the tube was akin to "mercy killing." They had wanted their daughter to be medically re-evaluated, so that a new judgment could be made about her cognitive skills.

Their lawyer now says the legal fight to prolong the 41-year-old woman's life is drawing to an end.

The ruling Saturday night is the third legal blow Schiavo's parents have received within 24 hours.

Their motions were also denied earlier in the day by Circuit Court Judge George Greer in Clearwater, Florida, and Friday by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia.

Bob and Mary Schindler have now lost nearly 30 legal opinions in both state and federal courts, which have consistently sided with their daughter's husband -- and legal guardian -- Michael Schiavo. He has said that he is simply following his wife's wish not to be kept in a persistent vegetative state.

After the latest legal defeat, the family's spiritual adviser said the Schindlers wanted those keeping vigil outside their daughter's hospice to go home, be with their families and celebrate Easter.

Brother Paul O'Donnell, a Franciscan monk, also said the Schindler family is no longer going to grant interviews to the media. And he urged Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to take Schiavo into protective custody.

Bush has said he has done everything possible within his authority to help the family.

'She looked beautiful'

Speaking with reporters Saturday, Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, said, "I would hope that the parents' side realize that any further legal action will be futile. We can understand their desperate efforts in this case. But I would hope that at some point, they leave that behind and begin to cope with this on a more personal level."

Felos said that he had visited Terri Schiavo for 20 minutes earlier in the day at her hospice in Pinellas Park.

"Frankly, when I saw her...she looked beautiful. In all the years I've seen Mrs. Schiavo, I've never seen such a look of peace and beauty upon her."

He refuted charges made by Schiavo's parents that her lips were bleeding, her skin was peeling and that she appeared in discomfort.

Felos said that "it felt right and appropriate that Mrs. Schiavo not be fed and sustained through an artificial device" and that "she has a right to die with dignity" and "in peace" without the release of video and photographs of her at this time.

Additionally, Felos said that Schiavo received last rites, which includes Communion, the day the tube was removed, and that a court has ordered that she be able to receive the sacrament one more time before she dies.

Felos said no exact time for those rites has been set, but they would be administered by the hospice priest.

He said Schiavo's breathing has been regular and that her death doesn't appear "imminent." He said that Schiavo's remains would be cremated and interred in a family plot in Pennsylvania, where she and her husband grew up.

Felos said that Michael Schiavo has been at his wife's bedside around the clock, except when her other family members want to visit.

Differing impressions

Impressions of Terri Schiavo's condition differ from her parents' side.

"She is fighting like hell to stay alive. And I want the powers to be to know that," Bob Schindler told reporters after visiting his daughter at the hospice Saturday. "Anyone that has the authority to come in and to save Terri, they can do it. It's not too late. She's fighting and we're asking you to fight with her."

Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo's brother, questioned why cameras could not be allowed to document her death. He called Felos' description of Schiavo as "the farthest thing from the truth" and said, "My sister is being killed by dehydration and starvation."

Schiavo's feeding tube was disconnected under state court order more than eight days ago. Doctors have said she likely will die within two weeks from the time the tube was removed.

In his five-page decision Saturday, Greer said that Schiavo's parents had failed to meet the burden of proof necessary to prove their latest assertion: that Terri Schiavo had attempted to verbalize "I want to live."

The motion filed by Schiavo's parents motion said, "She managed to articulate the first two vowel sounds, first articulating AHHHHHHH and then virtually screaming WAAAAAAAA."

Greer said Schiavo's utterances came only after being touched -- consistent with evidence presented in a 2002 trial.

"All of the credible medical evidence this court has received over the last five years is that this is not a cognitive response, but rather something akin to a person jerking his/her hand off a hot stove long before he/she has thought about it," Greer wrote.

He is the same judge who ordered the removal of the feeding tube March 18.

Meanwhile, more than 100 protesters have gathered outside Hospice House Woodside, holding vigil and praying on this Easter weekend. Some are carrying wooden crosses. Others are carrying signs. "Don't murder Terri," one sign read. "Michael is a murderer," read another.

Years-long legal battle

Terri Schiavo has been hospitalized, bedridden and unable to speak or feed herself since 1990, when she suffered heart failure and resulting brain damage.

Her parents argue that their daughter never made a right-to-die declaration and would not want to be, in their words, "starved to death." They dispute the conclusion upheld by other courts that she is in a persistent vegetative state.

Schiavo's husband argues that she had said, before her illness, that she would not want to continue living if she were in such a condition.

The legal fight between the two sides has lasted a decade.

CNN's Ted Barrett, Bob Franken, Joe Johns, Bill Mears and John Zarrella contributed to this report.


Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Ex-Tyco CEO found guilty
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards

City:

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.