Thursday, March 24, 2005

Any Florida Law Enforcement Officer May Protect Terri Schiavo from Starvation and Dehydration

My friends:

It does not take a court order to save Terri Schiavo from dehydration and starvation.

It does not require an order from Governor Jeb Bush or the Florida DCF to place her under protection.

It does not require permission of Terri Schiavo's husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, to give her food and water.

Michael Schiavo's legal guardianship only extends to medical and financial decisions, not basic human rights such as feeding or water
given by mouth, since eating and drinking are basic human rights necessary to survive.

Terri Schiavo has the basic right to eat and drink by mouth if she is capable of doing so. Her consent to live is implicit in her swallowing the food and water and negates any presumption that in the absence of a legal document that she wishes to die.

Her cognitive handicaps are medically and legally irrelevant. Her medical prognosis is irrelevant to her basic himan rights. Whether or not her cognitive abilities will improve are irrelevant to the question of her asic human right to live.

Guardianship cannot include crimes against the person, such as prevention of feeding or drinking. Denial of water and food is not a medical issue. It is beyond the legal scope of a guardianship since it is a basic human-rights issue. No judge's authority extends to denying the basic right to life, except for those convicted of a crime. Being handicapped does not diminish human rights. In fact, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the handicapped are entitled to special protections from attempts to deny them access to basic human necessities.

Nobody is denying that Terri is being denied food and water -- there is no legal controversy on this fact -- so there is no need for a legal finding by Florida DCF in order to protect her human right to be fed or given water by mouth. Police can arrest anyone who has been denying Terri Schiavo food and water by mouth since it is a felony in progress, and no court order is necessary to prevent a felony in progress.

Prevention of giving food and water to someone capable of eating and drinking is contrary to Florida law, and is a felony. This includes actionsby judges who commit a felony under color of authority by issuing an order beyond the scope of their legal authority. It is beyond the power of a judge to order someone to be denied food and water if they are capable of eating and drinking.

Governor Jeb Bush has duty to enforce the law, which is not related to the judge or his court order. The court's jurisdiction only extended to the question of guardianship. No guardian may deny a human being under their charge basic human rights, and to do so is a felony, regardless of a judge's granting a right to make a medical decision regarding a feeding tube's removal. The judge may allow the guardian to remove the gastric feeding tube. The judge may not go beyond this medical question and forbid the patient to be fed and given water by mouth. The medical question of whether or not Terri Schiavo's guardian may remove her feeding tube is the only question the court had the right to rule on. No court has the right to go beyond the medical decision and deny Terri Schiavo her basic human right to eat and drink, if she is able to do so,

Police and citizens have a right and duty to stop the crime of starvation by unlawful imprisonment. Any representative of the police, sheriff, or attorney general can enforce this Florida law without any court order, because there is a felony in progress.

Anyone who attempts to prevent feeding or giving a drink of water or ice chips is committing a felony, and legal force can be used against them and they can be arrested and charged as co-conspirators. This includes any lawyer, bailiff, police officer, sheriff, security guard, or law enforcement officer who is complicit in preventing attempts to feed Terri Schiavo and give her water or ice by mouth.

If anyone is hurt during the attempt to stop the commission of that felony, that may be a compounding felony.

All statutes regarding police failure to protect are irrelevant because the police authority is being used under color of authority to commit a felony crime.

Judge Greer's order to prevent Terri Schiavo from being given food or water by mouth is an illegal abuse of judicial authority, and he may be held personally liable (civilly and criminally) for each act which denies Terri Schiavo food or water.

Judge Greer's authority -- the question the judge had the authority to decide -- extended only to the question of who was rightfully authorized to make medical decisions for Terri Schiavo and specifically whether the gastric tube could legally be removed by order of her legal guardian. Anything preventing her well-being beyond that medical decision is abuse of power under color of authority and is felonious.

If Judge Greer attempts to prevent Terri's rescue, the judge is compounding the felonies and may be arrested for it and may be held criminally and civilly liable.

Because Terri Schiavo's life has been placed in danger by this crime of denying any attempt to give her food or water by mouth, the use of a gastric tube to rehydrate her and give her nutrition until she is stable and may again eat and drink on her own may be done by any duly constituted authority, and does not require the consent of her guardian. In other words, if six days ago when the gastric tube was removed, which was a medical decision within the scope of her legal guardian, hospice personnel and Terri's family had been permitted to attempt to give her food and water orally, no crime would have been committed. Since Terri Schiavo has been placed in danger of death by forbidding her being offered food or water by mouth, a crime is in progress and any medical means to stabilize her are called form including the reinsertion of a gastric feeding tube.

No court order or permission is necessary to save Terri Schiavo. Any sworn state, county, or local law enforcement officer or judicial officer in the State of Florida may stop the felony in progress of denying Terri Schiavo the offer of food and water by mouth, or to reintroduce her feeding tube until she is medically stable and capable of eating and drinking by mouth, and bring whatever legal force necessary to rescue her from those illegally holding her captive in a hospice.

J. Neil Schulman &
Randall Herrst, JD

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