Thank you to the blogger on bloggersforterri for the majority of this text. Added just a few thoughts to it.
This is to remind you that you are the senior law enforcement officer in your jurisdiction. The office of Sheriff was established that way so as to act on behalf of the PEOPLE, as opposed to government.
In the matter of the court ordered execution of Terri Schiavo on Friday, March 18, 2005, you have the solemn duty to be certain that is a LEGAL order.
In Terri's case, under Florida statutes, withholding water (and food) from a conscious, non-vegetative disabled person is a FELONY.
Here are the words of Governor Jeb Bush from his amicus brief on behalf of Terri in October, 2003:
"The Governor submits this memorandum to ensure that the Court consider the critical distinction between removing artificial life support and the deliberate killing of a human being by starvation and dehydration.
"These are two different actions. The first is performed according to state law and is allowed under Florida's constitutional right to privacy."
"The second is prohibited by the right to life enshrined in the Florida and federal Constitutions. . ."
"As Terri's death may be proximately caused not by the removal oflife-prolonging procedures, but the denial of oral sustenance, forbidding the provision of oral sustenance would create an unnecessary conflict with Florida statutory law..."
". . . natural oral feeding is not a life-prolonging procedure under Florida law.
"An incapacitated person retains certain enumerated rights under Section 744.3215, Florida Statutes (2003).
"That section clearly and separately delineates which rights are retained by the ward [Terri] (Section 744.3215(1));
"which rights may be removed by the court (Section 744.3215(4));
"which rights may be delegated to the guardian (Section 744.3215(3)); and "which rights the guardian may not exercise without first obtaining specific authority from the court (Section 744.325(4))."
That text and more from the amicus brief may be quickly viewed at this web site:www.terrisfight.org as well as the newest legislation being proposed, the Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act.
Since Terri is NOT in a "permanent vegetative state", CLEARLY the law is about to be broken regardless of what a judge or appeals board says. They cannot nullify the law.
Sheriff Coats, THE WHOLE WORLD is watching, and the whole world has seen the video clips of a very responsive Terri Schiavo. If Judge Greer's court order makes it impossible for you to view those clips locally, you can see them here: www.terrisfight.org. As we would not want to execute a criminal if the courts had reasonable doubt, how can we allow a person be declared PVS by a Doctor who did not examine this person? How can we allow her to be executed when there are a dozen specialists claiming that she is NOT in PVS? There is more than enough reasonable doubt to question the diagnosis of PVS. As well as enough doubt as to question the reason for her collapse in 1990. Many doctors have stated it was not an electrolyte imbalance. Questions are brought forward regarding her many broken bones. These need to be investigated, not rejected by the court as another "ploy" by her parents to delay her execution.
It is obvious that you and the Florida Department of Children and Families have more than enough justification to act to put Terri under their custody while the many allegations of wrongdoing by Terri's husband Michael Schiavo are investigated. DCF has asked for a very reasonable period of 60 days to delay Terri's execution, and Judge Greer turned them down. If Ms. Schiavo were a minor child instead of a disabled adult, would Michael Schiavo be permitted to remain as her guardian? He does not provide standard rehabilitation, as opposed to heroic measures, to prevent muscle contractures, nor even dental care. How can this be allowed?
YOU **CAN** INTERVENE, and in fact, being a Sheriff, you are REQUIRED to intervene.
Don't allow your jurisdiction to be known best for torturing the disabled to death, Sheriff Coats. Think about how this will play out in your conscience for the rest of your life, and the consequences it may have on other disabled persons whose quality of life may not be up to a certain person’s standards. You are in the unique position of exercising your duty and becoming a hero, or turning away and taking part in a murder.