3/26/2005

EVIDENCES

Terri Schiavo is on my mind today. I have been thinking, and rethinking what I know about this case, and the fact is, I don’t really know all that much. I know as much as the next person, which constitutes all of America, and maybe the rest of the world.

But curiously, for a news story as large as this one, there is a lack of information available. Many have asked questions that haven’t been answered, in fact, the questions have been ignored altogether. Why just the other day, our federal government subpoenaed Terri Schiavo, with the express intent of actually witnessing her condition, so they could be better informed to draft either legislation, or to allow the starvation death to proceed. Judge George Greer denied their request to have the feeding tube reinserted, so they could have time to witness Terri’s condition.

Which leads me to ask two questions. The first, and most obvious should be, “When was the last time Michael Schiavo visited his WIFE.” Surely a man who loves his wife as much as Michael does, one who loves her so much that he would remember her saying she didn’t want to live as a vegetable, and thus would go to great lengths to bring that about to honor her, wouldn’t be absent from her side, would he? How long must a man be absent from his spouse before it is considered that he has abandoned her? Interesting question, one that no one connected with the case from Michael’s side will even bother acknowledging.

The second question is, “Has Judge George Greer ever visited Terri Schiavo?” Try as I might, I cannot find one instance in the press where such a visit was reported. Surely he must have visited her, to witness first hand, in person, exactly what He was judging, wouldn’t you think? Yet no matter where I look, I can find no record of such a visitation. Can you guys help me find this?

I am left here thinking about this further, and the greatest temptation for me is to blast the judge, and Michael, with my pen. But to do so would be wrong, because more is at stake here than meets the eye. And I will not judge anyone without as many of the facts as I can gather. Maybe that’s the difference between me and them, that they don’t have all of the facts, and yet are willing to render a judgment anyway, while I am not willing to render a judgment without the facts. I don’t know.

I do know this, if Michael Schiavo has moved on, and is with another woman now for the last several years, then this case is certainly by now a conflict of interest for him. It should be obvious to anyone looking on that he has abandoned her. Let’s face facts here, although he hasn’t remarried, he has fathered children with a different woman, and is living with her. Hence, he is guilty of adultery, which in most states in this union, is still “illegal”. Check the facts, adultery is still on the books in many states in this nation. So if we are going to follow the law, as the judge, and as Michael truly want us to, then shouldn’t we follow that law as well? If we are going to get legalistic with this case, then let’s drown ourselves in legalism, and declare Michael an unfit husband, and thus, unable to be her guardian any longer.

Why do I say that? Here’s a question for you that will help us understand my reasons. If you had a child, and for some reason, left that child for six years in the care of others, would you expect a court to grant you every right as that child’s legal guardian upon your return? Nothing less has happened here. Michael has abandoned his wife, he has forsaken her for another, denying the power of the vows he took, promising to stay with Terri through sickness and in health. In short, his marriage vows are void, and because they are, he no longer has any right to claim guardianship over her.

To me, if I were judge, this case would be as simple as that. The mere fact that he is with another woman not his wife right now while he has been faithfully demanding Terri’s death would lend a pall over his testimony so dark that I couldn’t give an ounce of credibility to it whatsoever. I guess he should thank God I’m not the judge.

This entire case is not based on facts. Michael’s request is based on hearsay. There is absolutely no written instruction from Terri. It is his word against her parent's, and in this case, somehow, the judges have always sided with Michael. I wonder, how exactly has that happened?

Do you see the same problem I see? Most see that this case as murder. Many say that Terri isn’t in a persistent vegetative state. But that’s not what this case is about. Do you see what it is about?

Let’s explore further. Michael Schiavo says his wife had a death wish. On the strength of his word, the case is seen by an actual judge. Remember, the strength of his word.

Can you imagine what his answer would have been to the attorney for the Schindler’s when he was asked if he could produce a written living will? “No.” Could he produce a letter, a note, instructions left somewhere on a computer’s memory, anything that would indicate Terri’s wishes? “She told me she wouldn’t want to live like that.”

Attorney’s answer? “Oh! Well, that settles everything. She told you. By all means, remove the tube.”

“Oh, Mr. Schiavo, a couple more things….Where are you currently living, and when was the last time you visited your wife? Also, will you be the one removing the tube?”

Michael’s answer? Well, can you imagine it? Do you really think these questions weren’t asked inside of a court room? I am not a lawyer, I have absolutely no expertise in courtroom savvy. But these would have been my first questions for him. So can we assume they were asked?

How is it possible, that in a court of law, a man admitted abandonment of his wife, and yet, he still has guardianship over her? For who in their right mind would not consider Michael’s taking up with another woman an abandonment of his wife? Do you see the trouble we now have?

George Greer, and the judges before him are ignoring one very important fact. Michael Schiavo is no longer married to Terri. Oh, a piece of paper may say he is, but then again, by common law, he is also then a bigamist, because if he is still married to Terri, he is then married to two women at once., through his common law marriage to the woman he lives with. Maybe vows were not taken between he and the woman he lives with, but in his state, he is considered her common law husband. How can a man who has two wives have any credibility inside of a courtroom, while her parents are called liars, schemers, and treacherous selfish people?

See the problem yet?

Do not call good evil, nor what is evil good.

Michael Schiavo may well have had the best intentions for his wife at one point. But he can no longer honestly say that he does. He cannot possibly have her best interests at heart, because his interests are divided between two women. Any judge worth a lick of salt would recognize this instantly. But let’s ignore it for the time being, shall we?

Let’s focus instead on Michael’s answer to the attorney, “Do you have anything in writing?”

“No”

As a judge, I would have stated immediately, “case closed, I find for the Schindler’s, and I remove Michael’s right of guardianship over one Terri Schiavo.”

For you people not familiar with how an American court room works, let me help you understand. Without written proof of a statement you are making, say, in the case of driving without a license to operate a motor vehicle, if you were to state that you know you have a license, but all records indicate that no such license exists, you would immediately lose your case. The case would be dismissed instantly.

Another example would be this: Say a man confesses to a crime he committed, but doesn’t sign his name to the confession, nor does he even write a confession. In an American court, such a confession isn’t even admissible as evidence.

Another example would be of an inheritance issue. Say your father died, and before he died, he told you he wanted to change his will, so that you could receive a greater share of his estate. Yet when asked in a court of law where any document proving your claim might be found, you would have to answer that it was a verbal request, and not written down in any records that you were aware of. In an American court, your case would be dismissed immediately.

In American courts, “statements”, unless supported by written documentation, are usually not admissible in any case. I was just involved as an expert witness in a court case where accusations, and “remembrances of words said” were slung about every few minutes. Each time they were, the judge ordered the witness to stick to the known facts, the facts that were documented. He wasn’t even willing to listen to hearsay.

So the greatest question I have for this case is, why are all these American courts now listening, nay, giving strong credibility to hearsay? Why has our court system, for this one case, become so blind to it’s own laws?

We have two very loud pieces of evidence here. The first is, there is no evidence that Terri Schiavo ever requested that she be killed should she live in a vegetative state. That’s not calling Michael a liar. It’s just a fact, no evidence whatsoever, in required written form, exists of her wishes. That piece of testimony should have been thrown out. The second piece of evidence we have is that Michael Schiavo has abandoned his wife.

If we combine those two pieces of evidence, where does our case end up?

Do you see the problem now? It's not about murder. It's about Terri. It's about one person's dignity being stolen. Michael Schiavo claims he has her dignity in mind, yet in that same mind of his, he has the love or lust for the woman he is currently living with. If he truly had Terri's best inetersts at heart, if he truly believed in his own words, that he was defending her dignity, he would not be with another woman, nor would he have fathered children with her.

That's the trouble I see for the judge. I see blindness, and I see it being acted out willfully, and I have to wonder out loud, "Why?"

Logic dictates that no man is defending his wife's dignity while he is sleeping with another woman. His wife's dignity is the furthest thing from his mind. When my wifer left me for another man, she had absolutley no concerns for my dignity, I assure you of that. Michael is not telling the whole truth here. And this case is more about adultery than you think it is. He sleeps with another while he is still one with Terri. It doesn'ty matter what her state is, at least, when he uttered the vows "in sickness and in health" it didn't. It is clear, he has broken his vows, he is no longer fit to be her husband, nor her guardian. Logic DICTATEs that. Heck, I don't even have to use the God card in this case.

Sooner or later, every case in a court room, every disagreement, comes down to selfishness. This case is no different. That's what's being ignored, that's the problem I am pointing out.

This case isn't about a living will, because no such thing exists in this instance. Michael isn't defending his wife's dignity. He's defending his own. Let me explain. When he first attempted to remove Terri's tubes, he didn't expect to have the fight he has now. He desired to be released from his wedding vows, that's what I see. He was once a man of principal, and maybe one day, he can become one again. But this about a "'til death do us part" vow that he took, and that he wanted to be released from, to save his own dignity. I see a man tiring of watching his wife not respond, a man who loved her deeply, but a man who abandoned the promise he made to the wife of his youth.

There are all manner of reasons for such an outcome, but inevitably, it always comes down to human selfishness. Michael doesn't want his wife alive anymore. He wants to move on. He hasn't wanted her alive for years. For him, it is a sad thing that we have technology that can keep people alive on feeding tubes, for without these things, Terri most certainly would have died. But she is not dead, and until she is, he remains one with her, even thougth he abandoned that vow a long, long time ago. The best thing a judge could have done was to recognize the signs of a man giving up on his marriage, and rather, given custody of Terri to people who truly love her. Michael's love for her is dead. Yet she lives, whether it be by machine or not isn't a consideration. She lives. No man, for whatever selfish reasons, should have the right to change that course once it is set. She lives.


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