Fla. appeals court won’t reopen Schiavo case

/ Source: The Associated Press

An appeals court Wednesday denied a request from the parents of a severely brain-damaged woman for a new trial in the long-running right-to-die case, according to the court clerk’s office.

The 2nd District Court of Appeals issued the denial without a written opinion; the decision upheld a ruling by a lower court judge.

Attorney George Felos said once the court issues a formal decision in 15 days, Michael Schiavo may again be able to order the removal of the feeding tube that helps keep his 41-year-old wife alive.

Terri Schiavo collapsed from a chemical imbalance due to an eating disorder 14 years ago and left no written end-of-life directive.

Michael Schiavo’s former in-laws, Bob and Mary Schindler, argued for a new trial, saying if their daughter did not want to be kept alive artificially — as her husband contends — she would have changed her mind, given recent statements by Pope John Paul II.

The pope has said a person in a persistent vegetative state has the right to nutrition and hydration, and to withhold them would be a sin.

Attorney David Gibbs III, who filed the appeal, could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, other lawyers for the Schindlers filed a friend of the court brief Wednesday in support of Gov. Jeb Bush’s request that the U.S. Supreme Court intervene in the case.

“This is a case that certainly deserves consideration by the Supreme Court and we are supporting the governor’s office,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice of Washington.

The center argues the court should grant Bush’s request for review of a Florida Supreme Court decision that declared unconstitutional an October 2003 statute known as “Terri’s Law.”

The law allowed the governor to order Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube replaced after her husband, with a judge’s approval, had it removed. The state Supreme Court struck down the law on grounds that Bush violated the separation of powers.