March 18, 2005

Judge George Greer Refuses to Honor Subpoenas Issued by the U.S. Congress and Orders Terri Schiavo's Feeding Tube Removed


Orlando, FL - Moments ago, Judge George Greer refused to honor subpoenas issued by the United States House of Representatives. The House Government Reform Committee issued subpoenas for Terri Schiavo, her husband Michael, the hospital administrator, and two of the patient's attending physicians. The subpoenas require the recipients to appear at the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast in Pinellas Park on March 28 at 10 a.m., as part of an official investigation by the House of Representatives into the Schiavo case.

The subpoenas require the feeding tubes to remain intact. The subpoenas state: "No things including those things reflecting data, information, or records called for by this request shall be destroyed, modified, transferred, disconnected, discontinued, or otherwise made inaccessible to the Committee." The subpoena more specifically states, "This request is continuing in nature and applies to any newly deployed things required for the continued hydration and nutrition of Theresa Schiavo."

When the subpoenas were issued, Judge Greer was not available to respond. Another state court judge in the same county then blocked the removal of the feeding tubes until Judge Greer could be located. Moments ago Judge Greer stated: "I have had no cogent reason why the [Congressional] committee should intervene." There is no indication when the feeding tube will now be removed. Prior to the subpoenas from the U.S. House, Judge Greer had ordered the removal of the feeding tube at 1:00 p.m. today.

Legislation in Florida which would have prohibited a guardian from allowing a person in a "persistent vegetative state" to die by withholding food and water, unless that person had written instructions asking not to be kept alive with artificial feedings, passed overwhelmingly in the Florida House 78-37, but suffered defeat in the Senate by 21-16. The Florida Senate adjourned at 10 a.m. this morning and will not reconvene until Tuesday.

Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated: "I cannot understand why Judge Greer will not honor the subpoenas issued from the U.S. House. Terry Schiavo should be afforded every protection. Death by dehydration and starvation is slow, painful, and inhumane. I urge the Florida Senate to immediately take up a bill to protect Terri Schiavo from suffering an inhumane death by starvation and dehydration. I don't know how, in good conscience, the Florida Senators who voted against a bill that would prevent death by starvation could enjoy eating their next meal. This injustice must be rectified. We should not starve Terri Schiavo to death. When we devalue her life, all life is devalued."

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