_______~~~Top 10 Terri Schiavo Myths~~~_______ LAST UPDATED: Monday, 31 March 2008, 08:34 pm
This site maintained by Gordon W. Watts, who lost his pro se bid to save Terri by a 4-3 margin in Florida's Supreme Court. Watts' case, SC03-2420, is shown here and a saved copy is here. Florida Governor, Jeb Bush also tried to save Terri's life, and went before the same court in case number SC04-925. Bush's rehearing, unlike Watts', was denied by a 7-0 margin. Watts' experience and ability to speak with some credibility is shown by the fact that he did markedly better in his rehearing before the same panel than Bush. Governor Jeb Bush's case is shown: here and a saved copy is here. Mr. Watts is also shown on page 17 of 25 in this Federal Court's opinion: Court Website Copy or Saved copy of case No. 05-11628. Related case here in the Tampa Tribune. More links are in the in the article and at the very bottom.
*_From the Home Office in Lakeland, Florida_*

WELCOME to the Myths Page, Visitor: Please Turn on your computer speakers & maximize 3-D Stereo Enhancement for best sound!

It's the Top Ten List for MYTHS about Terri Schiavo + critical updates from TerrisFight.org - below

With satirical apologies to David Letterman and crew, ...
* * Newly added material below the original "Top 10" & "This Just In" sections

Myth 10) Terri M. Schindler-Schiavo is PVS (Persistent vegetative state)
Fact 10) You can look up the definition of PVS in Florida Statues, 765.101 Definitions.--As used in this chapter:
(12)"Persistent vegetative state" means a permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness in which there is:
(a)The absence of voluntary action or cognitive behavior of ANY kind.
(b)An inability to communicate or interact purposefully with the environment.
(emphasis added) Comments: Only a person who is, themselves, "vegetative," can conclude that there is not any cognitive behavior of any kind.

Myth 9) Terri does not need rehab
Fact 9) What the LAW say, not what you or I say, is important, here, so all those people that either tell Michael to get on with it -or to "let her die," are both wrong - unless we are lawless thieves:
744.3215 Rights of persons determined incapacitated.-- (1)A person who has been determined to be incapacitated retains the right: (i)To receive necessary services and rehabilitation.

This is a retained right that the guardian can't take away, not like, say, the right to marry - Also, notice that there is NO exception made for PVS people - yet, Terri was illegally denied Rehab - as many nurses have sworn in affidavits. Why did they say this? Was there a motive of some sort, like money? No. Michael Schiavo, on the other hand, has both monetary motive - and also criminal motive: If she can be kept quiet, then she will not testify against him in regards to spousal abuse, which the bone scans have indicated. As well, these items were illegally withheld from discovery in court.

In addition to the Courts violating State Law in refusing to allow rehabilitation for Terri, these Courts have also violated previous Court rulings, in which the Courts awarded a settlement - to be sued only for Terri Schiavo's rehabilitation and care (except for a little bit going to Michael Schiavo for pain and suffering). Yet the courts are not allowed to retry these decided issues:

This is akin to "double jeopardy," and these courts have thus violated the Doctrines of res judictata and collateral estoppel in that other courts have lawfully decided both the facts and laws in this case, thus these newer courts are not allowed to relitigate these issues.

Myths 8 and 7) Removal of food was both legal and court-ordered.
Fact 7 first) You can look at the court documents if you don't believe me - or ask Pat Anderson, who, herself admitted in court papers that the courts had only allowed removal of said feeding tube, not regular food and water. Michael Schiavo illegally ordered this.
Fact 8, then) The law only allows the removal of "life-prolonging procedures," not regular food and water:
765.309 Mercy killing or euthanasia not authorized; suicide distinguished.-- (1)Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to condone, authorize, or approve mercy killing or euthanasia, or to permit any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying. (2)The withholding or withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures from a patient in accordance with any provision of this chapter does not, for any purpose, constitute a suicide.

The only exception is given by "life-prolonging procedures," but does this include regular food and water?

765.101 Definitions.--As used in this chapter:
(10)"Life-prolonging procedure" means any medical procedure, treatment, or intervention, including artificially provided sustenance and hydration, which sustains, restores, or supplants a spontaneous vital function. The term does not include the administration of medication or performance of medical procedure, when such medication or procedure is deemed necessary to provide comfort care or to alleviate pain.

(Special Note: Actually, sources tell me that at the time of Schiavo's alleged expression of an aversion to artificial life support, feeding tubes were not included under that definition. That inclusion did not occur until the passage of an amendment to the Florida Statutes in 1999. As you well know, new legal definitions cannot be retroactively applied to prior situations.)

Notice that it doesn't say anything about regular food and water, but if you want further proof, look at federal law:

Finally, In the OASAM Code of Federal Regulations, Part 35: NONDISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF DISABILITY IN STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES provides that necessary and appropriate rehabilitation services and physical motor skill therapy may not be denied a substantially disabled patient in the United States of America, Section 35.130(e)(2) states, “Nothing in the Act or this part authorizes the representative or guardian of an individual with a disability to decline food, water, medical treatment, or medical services for that individual.

(Read that a couple of times, if you don't get it. It thus allows the mandatory rehab and food and water, as well as a few other things, that I've missed.)

While FEDERAL LAW prohibits this denial of food, water, and necessary medical services, STATE LAW makes it absolutely clear and unambiguous, using both "food" AND "nutrition" as terms for things that are NOT permitted to be denied Terri Schiavo and other handicapped and disabled people. You can't get much clearer than that, now can you? Observe:

The 2005 Florida Statutes in effect at the time stated CLEARLY that:

825.102 Abuse, aggravated abuse, and neglect of an elderly person or disabled adult; penalties.--

(3)(a) "Neglect of an elderly person or disabled adult" means:

1. A caregiver's failure or omission to provide an elderly person or disabled adult with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the elderly person's or disabled adult's physical and mental health, including, but not limited to,food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the elderly person or disabled adult;

(3)(b) A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects an elderly person or disabled adult and in so doing causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the elderly person or disabled adult commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(3)(c) A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects an elderly person or disabled adult without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the elderly person or disabled adult commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(Editor's Note: Emphasis added for clarity. Please note that it doesn't say anything about a feeding tube right here, but CLEARLY and DEFINITELY prohibits what they did to Terri when they denied her FOOD and WATER.)

Also, please note that Schiavo’s decision to hold Terri at Hospice after it was clear that she was not "terminal" within Medicare guidelines was an improper use of the ward’s assets. In order to receive federal payment for hospice care, the facility must obtain a certification from the attending physician within two calendar days of initial admission that the patient’s "prognosis is for a life expectancy of 6 months or less if the terminal illness runs its normal course." 42 C.F.R. § 418.22(b) (FEDERAL LAW) Terri has been in Hospice 3 years. Where are the physician certificates authorizing this?

This violation - in addition to the refusal to release the bone scan for about ten (10) years, illegal denial of "discovery" of evidence in court - indicates that Michael Schiavo was more than likely *not* trying to rehabilitate Terri in experimental therapies, and further that he did indeed have both the financial and criminal (coverup and witness silencing) motives alleged above.

So, I may just keep this in my records of Cc and contact the State's Attorney's office and the Dept of Adult Services and notify them of possible plans to amend my lawsuit to include them - not just the Woodside Hospice and the City Police - as is already the case. (Yes, I do have legal standing - read the court briefs posted online if you have doubt. My case number in the 6th Circuit Court is: 2003-005071AP - Section 88A.)

Do you think that the State Attorney's office will open up an investigation as I request? Or, instead, do you think that they will brush me off and provoke more Court action to uphold Florida law?

Myth 6) State Attorney, Bernie McCabe (Pinellas-Pasco, 6th Circuit State ATTY) does not have the authority to initiate an investigation without a mandate from the local police or Florida, Dept of Children and Families Adult Protective Services (DCF-APS), like an official request or police report & investigation.
Fact 6) State Law says differently:
The 2003 Florida Statutes
27.255 Investigators; authority to arrest, qualifications, rights, immunities, bond, and oath.--
(1) Each investigator employed on a full-time basis by a state attorney and each special investigator appointed by the state attorney pursuant to the provisions of s. 27.251 is hereby declared to be a law enforcement officer of the state and a conservator of the peace, under the direction and control of the state attorney who employs him or her, with full powers of arrest...

27.251 Special organized crime investigators.--
The state attorney of each judicial circuit is authorized to employ any municipal or county police officer or sheriff's deputy on a full-time basis as an investigator for the state attorney's office with full powers of arrest throughout the judicial circuit provided such investigator serves on a special task force to investigate matters involving organized crime...

McCabe isn't investigating the various allegations of abuse. Note: He does not need to prove that Michael Schiavo is guilty before initiating / beginning an investigation. ** After all, that is the whole purpose of an investigation - to prove or disprove any such allegation, huh?!? ~~ The Courts seem to agree with me:

Florida's Second District Court of Appeal held that requiring the State Attorney to prove that an investigative subpoena was necessary would "unreasonably impede the state attorney’s ability to conduct investigations into criminal activity." State v. Investigation, 802 So. 2d 1141, 1144 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001) And, The Court goes on to say that the state cannot be required to prove in advance that a crime has occurred since "the entire purpose of the investigative subpoena is to determine whether a crime occurred." Id. at 1145

POINT: State Attorney McCabe can order an investigation, but should he? (According to law, that is.)

943.10 Definitions; ss. 943.085-943.255.--The following words and phrases as used in ss. 943.085-943.255 are defined as follows:
(1) "Law enforcement officer" means any person who is elected, appointed, or employed full time by any municipality or the state or any political subdivision thereof; who is vested with authority to bear arms and make arrests; and whose primary responsibility is the prevention and detection of crime..."

112.19 Law enforcement, correctional, and correctional probation officers; death benefits.-- (1) Whenever used in this section, the term:
(b) "Law enforcement, correctional, or correctional probation officer" means any officer as defined in s. 943.10(14) or employee of the state or any political subdivision of the state, including any law enforcement officer, correctional officer, correctional probation officer, state attorney investigator, or public defender investigator, whose duties require such officer or employee to investigate, pursue, apprehend, arrest, transport, or maintain custody of persons who are charged with, suspected of committing, or convicted of a crime..."


It is obvious that both the local police and the state attorneys' office have the authority and duty under law to investigate allegations of crime violations, which are surely the case in this most-well-known case of Theresa Schiavo. (Probably the county sheriff also have a "primary" duty, which is implied becasue they have jurisdiction all over the county, and, have in my town, been seen issuing tickets *inside* the city limits.)

McCabe is also alleged to be friends with many of the major participants...

As Arsenio Hall used to say: "Things that make you go 'Hmm...'."

Myth 5) The Adult Protective Services can't do anything because the "matter is in court:
Fact 5) Sorry, Charlie: But the LAW makes no exceptions for "it's in court - it's in court" - Let's see what "The Law' really says:
415.104 Protective investigations of cases of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of vulnerable adults; transmittal of records to state attorney.--

(1) The department shall, upon receipt of a report alleging abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult, begin within 24 hours a protective investigation of the facts alleged therein. If a caregiver refuses to allow the department to begin a protective investigation or interferes with the conduct of such an investigation, the appropriate law enforcement agency shall be contacted for assistance. If, during the course of the investigation, the department has reason to believe that the abuse, neglect, or exploitation is perpetrated by a second party, the appropriate law enforcement agency and state attorney shall be orally notified.

Editor's comment: "What part of '24 Hours' DO YOU ** not ** understand, there, Big Dog!?"

Myth 4) ...uh... pause for a moment of silence: This one really hurts me because I will have to challenge and criticize a very tireless and dedicated leader, Terri Schiavo's own guardian angel, Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, who tirelessly and endlessly has tried to get her free from her chains of bondage...through his many court battles and public campaign for justice...to be our voice when we can't be heard...but before I set the complaint in order against Gov Bush, we should take a moment and remember him in prayer.

I'm not being funny, and if you don't agree with my political/religious slant, please at least be respectful for his many efforts, because I doubt you could do much better under the hot, glaring spotlight of public scrutiny.

*** OUR PRAYER (at least mine and Jesus' - I can't speak for anyone else, but you're welcome to join in)
We certainly are gratful that you gave us life, for we could not have do so ourselves, even with all our technology, and all the king's horses and all the kings men, we could not put back our dead comrades again.

Almighty God, you've made us, repair us, and made sure we have an example to follow, when we felt it was impossible to go forward, and in sending an example to follow, it resulted in His death. We are sorry for that, but we go on, and thank you for raising Him up, and showing us that we too can follow in His footsteps - and thank you for accepting us merely by our asking, not for anything we've done - as indeed we can't get saved by works, but conversely, we do works by being saved and helped.

Now, we specifically ask you to help Governor Bush, as he so tirelessly works to help us, even though we find fault with his end results, so that, later, when I will criticize him, you would be merciful and help him survive my verbal attack and take it as **_constructive_** criticism, not destructive.

Knowing that you're paying attention helps me get right to the point, and even though you know our needs in advance, I know you want us to ask, so we will be paying attention to receive help -and not miss out by being asleep at the switch.

Thank you for listening to my complaints and requests for help here. We are told that Jesus is our legal representative in Heaven, our Righteous advocate, and in turn, we are His representatives or ambassadors down here on earth, thus we, legally speaking, "speak on His behalf," or "in His name," and lastly, we ask you to help other people of other religions feel welcome, even if they "don't believe like we do" about Jesus. In other words, I ask you to help these other people not be frightened or angry at Jesus for misfortunes, because, in fact, if we all got only rewards and no punishments, we wouldn't learn our lessons and stop sinning, now would we?

Thank you for listening to my request for assistance in helping out all of us, especially Gov Bush and his people properly survive my harsh criticisms to follow. Have a nice day, Mr. Creator.


Our ability to express our religious freedoms is a freedom we all cherish and love - may you all experience the same blessings.

Myth 4) Florida Governor, Jeb Bush does not have the authority to act in this matter: It is left up to the Courts.
Fact 4) The LAW Governs the Governor... ha ha, I cracked a funny, (and we hope God has a sense of humor, too), but, really, let's look at what "The Law" really says:

943.04 Criminal Justice Investigations and Forensic Science Program; creation; investigative, forensic, and related authority.--

(1) There is created a Criminal Justice Investigations and Forensic Science Program within the [Florida] Department of Law Enforcement...

(2)(a) In carrying out the investigative services of the Criminal Justice Investigations and Forensic Science Program and under appropriate rules and regulations adopted by the department, upon written order of the Governor, or by direction of the Legislature acting by a concurrent resolution, and at the direction of the executive director, the department may investigate violations of any of the criminal laws of the state, and shall have authority to bear arms, make arrests and apply for, serve and execute search warrants, arrest warrants, capias, and other process of the court.

OK: Did you see that, or was it too fast? Want a repeat?

In plain English, this State Law, which, by the way, is *not* being challenged as "Unconstitutional" or anything, mandates, that is, requires, demands, that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) may investigate. "May" investigate? Yet, it is by written "order," and please note that it does not say a "written suggestion" of the Governor. So, the Governor is responsible, because he can order an investigation -and does not!

Furthermore, the Governor has the Constitutional authority -and mandate -to act ~~~ even without an investigation:

The Florida Constitution

SECTION 1. Governor.--
(a) The supreme executive power shall be vested in a governor, who shall be commander-in-chief of all military forces of the state not in active service of the United States. The governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed...

(d) The governor shall have power to call out the militia to preserve the public peace, execute the laws of the state, suppress insurrection, or repel invasion.

***Wow: Let's get going, Governor Bush! (Don't let Janet Reno outdo you by her bold move to "rescue" Elian Gonzalez! Regardless of your views on little Elian, the kid will be just fine in Cuba, and at least Janet Reno didn't just complain about it - she took action! ~ But, are you the only one who can do all this, Gov Bush?

Myth 3) The Florida Legislature can only pass laws, so they've done all they can do for Terri Schiavo.
Fact 3) Time to look at the LAW again. What's up with all these laws? Did the Lawmakers just write all these laws just to be broken in pieces all the time?! (Sigh) Let's requote a little section from above:

943.04 Criminal Justice Investigations and Forensic Science Program; creation; investigative, forensic, and related authority.--

(1) There is created a Criminal Justice Investigations and Forensic Science Program within the [Florida] Department of Law Enforcement...

(2)(a) In carrying out the investigative services of the Criminal Justice Investigations and Forensic Science Program and under appropriate rules and regulations adopted by the department, upon written order of the Governor, or by direction of the Legislature acting by a concurrent resolution, and at the direction of the executive director, the department may investigate violations of any of the criminal laws of the state, and shall have authority to bear arms, make arrests and apply for, serve and execute search warrants, arrest warrants, capias, and other process of the court.
(emphasis added)

In plain English, we understand this to mean that the Lawmakers have powers to order investigations not unlike their Federal counterparts.

The Lawmakers can only do four (4) things: (& thus, possible proposed solutions)
(a) Pass Law; (Art III, Sect 7, Fla Const, Passage of bills)
(b) Pass Resolutions; ("Each bill and joint resolution passed in both houses..." from Sect 7 above)
(c) Impeach Judges (Art III, Sect 17, Fla Const) ; and,
(d) Initiate Investigations (Art III, Sect 5, Fla Const).

Let's just look at (d) above:

The Lawmakers, like the Governor, also have the Constitutional authority to act!

The Florida Constitution

SECTION 5. Investigations; witnesses.--
Each house, when in session, may compel attendance of witnesses and production of documents and other evidence upon any matter under investigation before it or any of its committees, and may punish by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or imprisonment not exceeding ninety days, or both, any person not a member who has been guilty of disorderly or contemptuous conduct in its presence or has refused to obey its lawful summons or to answer lawful questions. Such powers, except the power to punish, may be conferred by law upon committees when the legislature is not in session. Punishment of contempt of an interim legislative committee shall be by judicial proceedings as prescribed by law.

***Wow! Even I didn't know that! When you all **_aren't_** in session? Alrighty, now! Let's get a move on it! ... Unless, of course, you like the idea of being starved to death - simply because you are weaker - "Might makes right" - or because at least TWO courts said so - "TWO wrongs must make a right, huh?"

In this Eternal Game of Chess, "It's your move, State Lawmakers."

Myth 2) The local police can't do anything: It is "still in court"
Fact 2) This is simple, but we will address it, just in case some bone-head tries to say otherwise:

If, say, you had a case in court, would you be able to rob a bank or something? No way! And, in case some people say: "These are two different things," listen to this:

You are right - they *are* two different things: In a robbery, some people live - in a starvation, NO ONE lives, so if the robbery would be illegal, then the illegal starvation - a violation of the various mercy-killing laws, would be even **more** illegal. Got it?

Hey! That one was too easy - we didn't even have to quote law to debunk it, so it doesn't count - lets do "Myth 2" again...

Myth 2) The statue of limitations bars anyone from investigating
Fact 2) The recent attempt by Michael Schiavo to perform an unauthorized and illegal "mercy-killing," or possibly an attempted felony murder, regardless of his alleged motives, was very recent - well within any statue of limitations. Furthermore, if Terri Schiavo dies, Michael is in real trouble: Everyone knows that there is no statute of limitations on murder.

And, now, the drumroll, please... the NUMBER ONE Myth surrounding the Terri Schiavo tragedy:

Myth 1) The news media is really trying to expose the truth.
Fact 1) You haven't heard the _first_ nine and one-half myths exposed in the news media, now have you? But, really...

Is the news media interested in doing a story to clear up these myths? (Most people actually buy into - believe - these myths, and if you don't believe me, ask a lot of people and see what they say. My opinion is not important, and neither is yours. What is important are these two towers of power: (A) The Law, what it says, not what a judge say; and (B) Informing their readers/listeners/viewers - not just "following" another story and being "yesterday's news," while pretending to "cover the news."

I will be available for interviews.

Gordon Wayne Watts
Gordon W. Watts

Editor-in-Chief, The Register

This Just In:

Friends at Terri Schiavo's Official website, http://TerrisFight.org have apparently granted my wishes of publicizing some of my ideas on how to expose myths at: http://TerrisFight.org/myths, and I have apparently missed a few that they caught. Good job! So, I shall "clone" their unique finds:

MYTH: Many doctors have said that there is no hope for her.
FACT: Dr. Victor Gambone testified that he visits Terri 3 times a year. His visits last for approximately 10 minutes. He also testified, after viewing the court videotapes at Terri’s recent trial, that he was surprised to see Terri’s level of awareness. This doctor is part of a team hand-picked by her husband, Michael Schiavo, shortly before he filed to have Terri’s feeding removed. Contrary to Schiavo’s team, 14 independent medical professionals (6 of them neurologists) have given either statements or testimony that Terri is NOT in a Persistent Vegetative State. Additionally, there has never been any medical dispute of Terri’s ability to swallow. Even with this compelling evidence, Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo, has denied any form of therapy for her for over 10 years.

Dr. Melvin Greer, appointed by Schiavo, testified that a doctor need not examine a patient to know the appropriate medical treatment. He spent approximately 45 minutes with Terri. Dr. Peter Bambakidis, appointed by Judge Greer, spent approximately 30 minutes with Terri. Dr. Ronald Cranford, also appointed by Schiavo and who has publicly labeled himself “Dr. Death”, spent less than 45 minutes examining and interacting with Terri.

MYTH: This is just a family battle over money.
FACT: In 1992, Terri was awarded nearly one million dollars by a malpractice jury and an out-of-court malpractice settlement which was designated for future medical expenses. Of these funds, less than $50,000 remains today. The financial records revealing how Terri’s medical fund money is managed are SEALED from inspection. Court records, however, show that Judge Greer has approved the spending down of Terri’s medical fund on Schiavo’s attorney’s fees - though it was expressly awarded to Terri for her medical care. Schiavo’s primary attorney, George Felos, has received upwards of $400,000 dollars since Schiavo hired him. This same attorney, at the expense of Terri’s medical fund, publicly likened Terri to a “houseplant” and has used Terri’s case on national television to promote his newly published book.

MYTH: Michael Schiavo volunteered to donate the balance of the inheritance to charity.
FACT: In October, 1998, Schiavo’s attorney proposed that, if Terri’s parents would agree to her death by starvation, Schiavo would donate his inheritance to charity . The proposal came after a court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem cited Schiavo’s conflict of interest since he stood to inherit the balance of Terri’s medical fund upon her death. This one and only offer stated “if the proposal is not fully accepted within 10 days, it shall automatically be withdrawn”. Naturally, Terri’s parents immediately rejected the offer. Yet, for 4 years, Schiavo has repeatedly implied to the media that he was willing to donate Terri’s

MYTH: Terri's Medical Trust fund has been used to care for her.
FACT: The following expenditures have been paid directly from Terri's Medical Trust fund, with the approval of Judge George Greer:
Summary of expenses paid from Terri’s 1.2 Million Dollar medical trust fund (jury awarded 1992)

NOTE:  In 11/31/1993 Petition Schiavo alleges 6/8/1993 guardianship asset balance as $761,507.50

Atty Gwyneth Stanley
Atty Deborah Bushnell
Atty Steve Nilson
Atty Pacarek
Atty Richard Pearse

Atty George Felos



1st Union/South Trust Bank


Michael Schiavo


Total  $545,852.34

*** NEW!! ***

New stuff goes here... (This section is under construction.)

Here's the "new" Top 10 (plus 1) MYTHS about Terri Schiavo. First off, the "plus 1" Myth, because Mr. Watts is not so vain as to think "his" myth is Top 10 material...

Myth 11: Gordon Watts did not have legal standing to act as next friend of Terri Schiavo, when petitioning the court for a Writ of Habeas Corpus
Fact 11: Case Law says differently...
The Writ of Habeas Corpus, sometimes called the “Great Writ,” may be filed “by a person [any person, not limited to a family member, neighbor, or friend] who objects to his own or another’s detention or imprisonment,” and is issued by the court when there are legal or factual bases to demand justification for the detention or imprisonment in question. (From: http://www.LectLaw.com/def/h001.htm -- comments added in brackets).

Mr. Watts' petition was in objection to Terri's "deprivation of personal liberty" ~ “Potentially, ANY deprivation of personally liberty can be tested by habeas corpus, and for that reason it is often called the Great Writ.” (The Operation and Jurisdiction of the Florida Supreme Court, Gerald Kogan and Robert Craig Waters, 18 Nova L. Rev. 1151, at 608. (Fla. 1994); Accord: State ex rel. Deeb v. Fabisinski, 111 Fla. 454, 461, 152 So. 207, 209 (Fla. 1933), Emphasis added for clarity).

Many people have suggested that, since Terri was not a criminal, Habeas Corpus could not apply. This is simply incorrect:

“Even detention imposed on someone by a private individual [such as estranged husband and guardian] potentially can be tested by habeas corpus. The most common use is where one parent alleges that the other parent has taken custody of a child wrongfully.” (Jurisdiction, Gerald Kogan and Robert Craig Waters, 18 Nova L. Rev. 1151, at 624. (Fla. 1994), citing Crane v. Hayes, 253 So.2d 435 (Fla. 1971); Porter v. Porter, 53 So. 546 (Fla. 1910))

So, were the detractors right about Mr. Watts, when they claimed he could not obtain next friend standing -simply because he was not a close blood relative?

The Florida State Supreme Court, in Deeb, find that a friendly person [any person, not limited to a family member, neighbor, or friend] in the interest of person illegally detained may file a petition for writ of habeas corpus; and, the U.S. Supreme Court further held that, to be a “next friend,” one merely “must provide an adequate explanation --such as inaccessibility, mental incompetence, or other disability--why the real party in interest cannot appear on his own behalf.” Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U.§149, at 163 ; 110 S.Ct. 1717 ; 109 L. Ed. 2d 135 (1990); and that “The alleged harm must be actual or imminent, not 'conjectural' or 'hypothetical.'” Whitmore, 495 U.S. at 155, 110 S.Ct. at 1723.

We can not deny that the harm alleged was more than 'hypothetical'. What we can deny, however, is the false myth that a person absolutely has to be a close relative to have legal "standing" in court to bring a suit on behalf of another person.

Lastly, the court is amply able to vote down a case 7-0 (as it did in Jeb Bush's case -decision here) -and it is amply able to throw a case out in very short order (which it did in Watts' other case -docket here).

However, all claims that Watts' case was 'real stupid' are said in the face of the facts: His case (docket here) went on for almost 2 years -and it was defeated by a razor-thin 4-3 split vote: decision here

Even in spite of the loss in court, that is not proof he lacked standing -or had a weak case: The courts are not always right. (See below for fun details here.)

Myth 10: Terri was terminal
Fact 10: Actions speak louder than words; She did not even come close to any legal definition of "terminally ill"
Terri was placed in Hospice Care in April 2000, and she died on March 31, 2005.

In order to receive federal reimbursement, according to Federal Medicare guidelines, the Woodside Hospice, where Terri died, must obtain a certification from the attending physician within two calendar days of initial admission that the patient’s “prognosis is for a life expectancy of 6 months or less if the terminal illness runs its normal course.” 42C.F.R.§418.22(b) ~ Even though one doctor "certified" her to be "terminal," it is obvious that she was merely handicapped, and, even if she were "PVS," that does not necessarily make her "terminal."

In fact, in 1997, Florida Law did allow PVS to be equated with "terminal":

765.101 Definitions.--As used in this chapter:
(15) "Terminal condition" means:
(a) A condition caused by injury, disease, or illness from which there is no reasonable probability of recovery and which, without treatment, can be expected to cause death; or
(b) A persistent vegetative state characterized by a permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness in which there is:
1. The absence of voluntary action or cognitive behavior of any kind; and
2. An inability to communicate or interact purposefully with the environment.
** Source Link: §765.101(15), 1997 Fla. Stats.

However, in 2000, when Terri was placed in hospice care, Florida Law did not allow PVS to be equated with "terminal":

765.101 Definitions.--As used in this chapter:
(17) "Terminal condition" means a condition caused by injury, disease, or illness from which there is no reasonable medical probability of recovery and which, without treatment, can be expected to cause death.
** Source Link: §765.101(17), 2000 Fla. Stats.

Even with the more lenient "state" definitions which were the law then (in 2000), a person must have been reasonably expected to have died within 1 year to have been reasonably considered "terminal":

400.601 Definitions.--As used in this part, the term:
(10) "Terminally ill" means that the patient has a medical prognosis that his or her life expectancy is 1 year or less if the illness runs its normal course.
** Source Link: §400.601(10), 2000 Fla. Stats.

While some people live a little bit longer than the 6 months or 1 year time in which they're expected to die, it is obvious Terri was no more than very handicapped -not terminal -indeed, had she not been killed, she surely would have lived much longer, thus it is not reasonable to classify her as terminal. ~ Lastly, by extension, she could not legally be placed in hospice care is she were not terminal:

400.601 Definitions.--As used in this part, the term:
(3) "Hospice" means a centrally administered corporation not for profit, as defined in chapter 617, providing a continuum of palliative and supportive care for the terminally ill patient and his or her family.
** Source Link: §400.601(3), 2000 Fla. Stats.

Myth 9: Terri’s wishes should have been granted to ensure her rights to “choice” were not denied
Fact 9: Terri's "wishes," whatever they are, are not the ultimate guide
While Terri might, theoretically, have had the right to refuse certain treatment, not all treatment may be refused. For example, if a person tries to commit suicide -even by a "hunger strike," where they starve themselves to death, the state would intervene and force feed the person -and lock them up for evaluation of their mental health. FURTHER, should someone try to "help" a person doing this (such as Dr. Jack Kevorkian had done), the person(s) "assisting" here would get in major trouble. Thus, when the state went well beyond denial of feeding tubes -and illegally denied food, water, and basic medical care, it normally would have been charged with criminal neglect -which is often done even in animal cases. But this was "Terri" -and she was given differing treatment, apparently because the euthanasia crowd wanted to set precedent. (Even were Terri's wishes known -and she wanted to kill herself -this would normally be opposed -but her case was not treated "normally.")

Myth 8: Terri’s wishes were known
Fact 8: This is not necessarily true
While, theoretically, Terri might indeed have expressed her wishes to her parents, her husband, or the pet cat (in which case, her wishes would have been known to the witness(es) in question), there was conflicting testimony about her wishes. Very conflicting -making any certainty impossible.

So, do you know Terri's wishes? Who do you think you are? Miss Cleo? ~~~ I don't think so.

Myth 7: “Clear and convincing” was the proper standard to use for determining Terri’s wishes
Fact 7: This would be unfair, and probably violate Equal Protection as a result
There are 3 major standards used:

* "Preponderance of the evidence" -This is 50% + 1, used in civil cases.
* "Clear and Convincing" -This is an intermediate standard.
* "Beyond a reasonable doubt" -This standard is used when there is a life-or-death matter, like "Did person A kill person B?" -or, more generally, in criminal cases.

In the context of a civil theft claim, the federal Eleventh Circuit pattern instructions state that such a claim:

*** "must be proved by clear and convincing evidence – not just a preponderance of the evidence.
*** Clear and convincing evidence is something more than a preponderance of the evidence, it is evidence that leaves you with a firm conviction that the claim is true."

Source: Pattern Jury Instructions (Civil Cases), prepared by the Committee on Pattern Jury Instructions, District Judges Association, 11th Circuit (2000). Links:
** http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/documents/pdfs/civjury.pdf
See also:
** http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/clerk/comments/2005/05-1622_CommentsWmJSheppard.pdf
** http://www.law.fsu.edu/library/flsupct/sc05-1622/05-1622comments2.pdf

Terri Schiavo's situation, whether it involved feeding tubes (considered medical treatment) or food and water (basic necessities of life) was a life-or-death matter, not a mere "civil theft claim," as the 11th Circuit said was the appropriate thing for use of a "clear and convincing" standard.

Myth 6: Terri did not feel pain when she was denied water and food
Fact 6: We don't know for sure, but it is not necessarily true that she was able to avoid pain -as shown by many counterexamples.
Many people have been classified as "PVS" and have been "locked in" and unable to move/speak -but very able to feel pain: Rev. Rus Cooper-Dowda, Kate Adamson, to name two -and Mark Rosen was in surgery and supposedly under anesthesia, but he could feel them cutting him open -and was unable to move.

Myth 5: Terri had a lawyer in court
Fact 5: No one represented her in court, not legally anyhow.
* Terri did not represent herself in court, Pro Se. (How could she have? She was, like world-renown physicist, Dr. Stephen Hawking, and superman actor, Christopher Reeve, unable to speak.)

* Michael Schiavo, her husband, had 2, possibly 3, conflicts of interest: (Romantic, as he had remarried; Financial, as he had tapped into "her" money instead of being content with his "consortium" award; He might have had a criminal conflict of interest or motive to silence her, but that has not been conclusively proved.) Accordingly, Mike could not represent Terri in court: (Cite: §744.391,Fla.Stats. “If an action is brought by the guardian against the ward, or vice versa, or if the interest of the guardian is adverse to that of his or her ward, a guardian ad litem SHALL be appointed to represent the ward in that particular litigation. In any litigation between the guardian and the ward, a guardian ad litem SHALL be appointed to represent the ward. If there is a conflict of interest between the guardian and the ward, the guardian ad litem SHALL petition the court for removal of the guardian...” (Emphasis Added by capitalization)

Additionally, in light of §435.03(2)(o),Fla.Stats., Mike Schiavo could not retain guardianship and represent Terri:

**§435.03(2) Fla.Stats. “Any person for whom employment screening is required by statute must not have been found guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, any offense prohibited under any of the following provisions of the Florida Statutes or under any similar statute of another jurisdiction: (o) §798.02, relating to lewd and lascivious behavior.” Michael Schiavo, as guardian, has admitted in open press, an adulterous relationship, in violation of chapter §§798.01 and 798.02,Fla.Stats.; Emphasis added for clarity)

* Could a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) represent Terri? In theory, yes, but in practice, it was prohibited: Schindler v. Schiavo, slip No.: 90-002908-GD-03, “CHIEF JUDGE’S ORDER DENYING RE-APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM” ; Fla. 6th Judicial Circuit, 08 January 2004, David A. Demers, Chief Judge, 6th Judicial Circuit.

* The judge MAY NOT act as her representative:

§744.309(1)(b),Fla.Stats. “No judge shall act as guardian after this law becomes effective, except when he or she is related to the ward by blood, marriage, or adoption, or has maintained a close relationship with the ward or the ward's family, and serves without compensation," so when Judge Greer tried to represent Terri in court, this was prohibited; he should have appointed counsel for Terri -eevn criminals are afforded this much, and Terri should not have been treated less than a criminal.

Terri had no representative for most of her time in court (excluding the times she had a GAL, such as Jay Wolfson).

Myth 4: Terri did not need a jury trial
Fact 4: Many authorities mandate jury trials, and anyone who says differently doesn't appreciate freedom.
“Whereas ward's right in this “suit[] at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved” (see e.g., Seventh Amendment, U.S. Constitution), Terri had this right: Her life was worth more than $20.oo, was it not?

(Accord: SPARF v. U.S., 156 U.S. 51 at 106 (1895), in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that “No instruction was given that questioned the right of the jury...On the contrary, the court was careful to say that the jury were the exclusive judges of the facts, and that they were to determine-applying to the facts the principles of law announced by the court...In this separation of the functions of court and jury is found the chief value, as well as safety, of the jury system. Those functions cannot be confounded or disregarded without endangering the stability of public justice, as well as the security of private and personal rights.”) (Accord: Chapter 86, Fla.Stats: §§86.011 “Jurisdiction of trial court.--The circuit and county courts have jurisdiction...”; 86.071 “Jury trials...the issue may be tried as issues of fact are tried in other civil actions...the issues may be submitted to a jury...”; 86.101 “Construction of law.--This chapter is declared to be substantive and remedial. Its purpose is to settle and to afford relief from insecurity and uncertainty with respect to rights, status, and other equitable or legal relations and is to be liberally administered and construed.”; 86.111, Fla.Stats. “Existence of another adequate remedy; effect.--The existence of another adequate remedy does not preclude a judgment for declaratory relief...”) (Accord: RULE 1.430(a),Fla.R.Civ.P. “Right Preserved. The right of trial by jury as declared by the Constitution or by statute shall be preserved to the parties inviolate.”)

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

As stated by James Madison, considered by many to be the “Father of the Constitution,” “In suits at common law, a trial by jury is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existing rights of nature.”

America's second President, John Adams, said in 1771: “It is not only [the juror's] right, but his duty...to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.”

Terri was denied.

Myth 3: Doctors know all about PVS
Fact 3: Doctors have large gaps in knowledge.
In prior myths, we saw cases of Rev. Rus Cooper-Dowda and Kate Adamson, falsely declared PVS, as well as Mark Rosen, who was not given sufficient anesthesia to keep him from feeling them cut him open on the operating table. Cancer patient, Yolanda Blake, was almost starved to death an over-zealous judge and immediate family member, but she woke up and declared she wanted to live. *~* “Dr. Ronald Cranford, the euthanasia advocate who hopes to help Pete Busalacci take care of Christine when she is brought to Minnesota, had a similar case in 1979. Sgt. David Mack was shot in the line of duty as a policeman, and Cranford diagnosed him as ‘definitely … in a persistent vegetative state … never [to] regain cognitive, sapient functioning … never [to] be aware of his condition.’ Twenty months after the shooting Mack woke up, and eventually regained nearly all of his mental ability. When asked by a reporter how he felt, he spelled out on his letter board, ‘Speechless!’” (Ibid) *~* In June 2003, after 18 years, Terry Wallis woke up, even though many people had written him off as hopeless too.

Many people are classified "hopeless," "PVS" or otherwise useless by family members, doctors, lawyer, and other "professionals" -and it is later found they are wrong.

Myth 2: Terri’s religious rights were not violated
Fact 2: As a Catholic, we would expect Terri to want to follow not only the Pope, her religion's leader, but also the Bible, the highest authority for both Catholics and Protestants.
Pope John Paul, Terri's highest religious leader on earth, said, as reported in news reports, that the removal of feeding tubes from people in vegetative states was immoral. The pope went on to say that providing food and water should be considered natural, ordinary care -- not artificial medical intervention."

Additionally, if Terri were to believe Matthew 25:31-45 of the Holy Bible, we would not expect her to be very happy with the denial of that "cup of water" and food which she was denied.

Myth 1: The many years of court battles afforded Terri plenty of “Due Process”
Fact 1: "Process" in Court does not necessarily equate to "Due Process"
The many mishaps and denials of the court -alone -are proof that it does not necessarily follow that just because you've had years of court "review" that your case has necessarily had "Due Process." Indeed, many citizens are denied their basic rights -even after DECADES of court battles...which is shown in the Top "Terri Schiavo" Myth of all Time, below.

Top "Terri Schiavo" Myth of all Time: The courts can be trusted to be impartial
Top "Terri Schiavo" Fact of all Time: If you believe that, you've got a "reality check" problem
The courts have shown that they willingly commit MAJOR mess-ups (crimes, as some would say) from the bench:

In the case, Plessy v. Ferguson (163 U.S. 537; 16 S. Ct. 1138; 41 L. Ed. 256; 1896 U.S. LEXIS 3390), an appeal from the Louisiana case, Ex parte Plessy, 11 So. 948 (La. 1892), Homer Plessy, a 30-year-old colored shoemaker, who was one-eighth Black, was told by the US Supreme Court that it was OK that he was jailed for sitting in the "White" car of the East Louisiana Railroad.

America's Highest Court *also* previously held "...that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit." -Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, writing for the Court. Dred Scott v. John F. Sanford, 15 L.Ed. 691; 19 How. 393; 60 US 393 at 407.(US 1857)).

However, these problems -of stepping on whomever is helpless -aren't merely confined to the past:

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Kelo vs. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), recently in the news, ruled that a government may use eminent domain to seize homes and land merely to promote economic development or increase tax revenue. In other words, a governmental official may want to build a Wal-Mart -and decide it's OK to grab your family's property, in your family for generations -and make you homeless. If and when the government reimburses you for their "legal theft," what guarantee is there you will be given fair market value? Additionally, what guarantee you will even be able to buy another house and land -and not become homeless?

So, you still trust our court system -supposedly in the most democratic (or is it "DEMON"-cratic -or "Bureaucratic" -or "Autocratic") nation in the world? ~Didn't think so.

Comments: Neither possibility below {neither (a) nor (b)} would logically(#) permit Terri Schiavo to be starved or dehydrated - You could be next, so consider both scenarios:
[(#) "Logic" is associated with Mr. Spock of Star Trek, so a big shout out to all Vulcans! Besides being humourous, this comment helps you remember the point.]

** * Possibility (a) Terri Schiavo does not feel pain - Good, then it is not painful to let her live. (Plus, we avoid that 'sticky' "Thou shalt not kill" -and "First Degree Murder" predicament.)

** * Possibility (b) Terri Schiavo does indeed feel pain - Well, then she is cognizant, and she should live. But if she must be killed, then do it painlessly, but they didn't do that, did they? Of course not, because they know that even an animal (even a criminal) is not supposed to be starved -or dehydrated. (illegal, immoral, etc.) Note: Terri did not starve to death -she dehydrated to death -because, for a total of thirteen (13) days, she was denied water.

So, they really are guilty, because under both a and b here, Terri Schiavo should not be starved - and then there are the legal considerations.

Even ignoring the moral and legal dilemmas, as a practical matter, the failure of local cops to uphold mercy-killing laws, and the failure of courts to abide by rehab laws - has caused the local police to have to stand guards twenty-four hours a day at Terri's Hospice, at fifteen dollars per hour, (per cop) or whatever they're paying them now days, that's a LOT of taxpayer mulah, dough, cold cash, taxpayer waste:

If they abided by the laws, then this wouldn't happen. (The courts can not violate or re-write law. This is known as "Legislating from the Bench," and is strictly forbidden by the separation of Powers clause of the State and US Constitutions. Courts can only find fact, apply law, and write law if the area is not covered - a gray area, but these areas are definitely the law - and must be obeyed - unless the judges like to break the law. Of they don't like the law, then they can petition their elected lawmakers to change it. Even I don't like the "feeding tube" law, but I accept it, and the judges should accept the law too, and the media should report on it, or we will, through lack of use, lose our press freedoms of free press, as have other countries, not the least of which is Iraq. Don't ever say: "It could never happen her in the good old USA." Those were the famous last words of other countries.)

| Main "Gordon Watts" personal website (cool background music) |
| Alt. "Gordon Watts" personal website (no music, but it does have info on other persons named 'Gordon Watts') |
| The AOL Mirror |
| GeoCities Mirror |

One of the better court briefs filed in this case:
(Web page) Copy on GordonWatts.com mirror or Copy on AOL mirror
(In Microsoft Word format: 283 KB) Copy on GordonWatts.com mirror or Copy on AOL mirror
Commentary: Since this brief here is by Mr. Watts, who did better than Jeb, and since Watts claims this court filing was a slightliy more updated version of the one which beat Jeb's petition in court, and that he feels it was his best court brief on this matter, we arrive at the "good" quality by this logic.

Selected Bible verses for a moral perspective: (an HTML webpage)
Copy on GordonWatts.com mirror or Copy on AOL mirror or Copy on GeoCities mirror

Editorial on "Terri's Law":
Copy on AOL mirror or Copy on GeoCities mirror

Other Links
| GeoCities site for Health/Diet Info | Tripod Mirror for Health/Diet Research |
| University of Miami's Ethics program page for "Selected Schiavo and related Web links" |

Gordon W. Watts, Editor-in-Chief, The Register


"First, they [Nazis] came for the Jews. I was silent. I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists. I was silent. I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists. I was silent. I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me. There was no one left to speak for me." (Martin Niemoller, given credit for a quotation in The Harper Religious and Inspirational Quotation Companion, ed. Margaret Pepper (New York: Harper &Row, 1989), 429 -as cited on page 44, note 17, of Religious Cleansing in the American Republic, by Keith A. Fornier, Copyright 1993, by Liberty, Life, and Family Publications.