Skip to comments.Professor Appointed to Probe Schiavo Case
Posted on 10/31/2003 8:16:51 PM PST by Future Useless Eater
Saturday November 1, 2003 1:01 AM
By VICKIE CHACHERE
Associated Press Writer
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A judge appointed a University of South Florida professor on Friday to independently investigate the case of a severely brain-damaged woman at the center of a right-to-die battle.
Jay Wolfson, an expert on health care financing, will report to Gov. Jeb Bush and recommend whether the stay the governor enacted to keep Terri Schiavo alive should be allowed to remain.
Schiavo suffered severe brain damage when her heart stopped due to a chemical imbalance and has been in a persistent vegetative state for more than a decade. Doctors have said there is no hope for her recovery.
Her husband, Michael Schiavo, has fought to have her feeding tube removed, saying his wife did not want to be kept alive artificially.
Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, dispute that claim and have fought to keep their daughter alive, saying they believe she could be rehabilitated.
Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was removed for six days in October before the Florida Legislature and Gov. Jeb Bush enacted a special law to have it reinserted. The law also required a guardian to be appointed.
George Felos, the attorney for Michael Schiavo, and the American Civil Liberties Union filed briefs this week challenging the constitutionality of the governor's action. The state is expected to respond on Monday.
The judge said that if the law is found to be unconstitutional, Wolfson is to cease his work.
The Schindlers had objected to Wolfson's appointment, claiming comments he made to a television station indicated he was biased against the newly enacted law. The judge said he found no evidence of bias.
Wolfson did not return calls seeking comment.
The judge ordered Wolfson to report to the governor in 30 days, but said the deadline could be extended if needed.
Richard Pearse knows a lot and sided with Terri's family then Felos and Greer quashed the information illegally.
Pearse needs to be interviewed by Greta, Sean or Geraldo! He could really raise some red flags on this deal. Mr. and Mrs Schindler: you should ask him to join you if you are allowed equal time on LKL...
Richard L. Pearse Jr, Attorney at Law
Florida Bar No. 282723
Previous Guardian Ad Litem for Terri Schiavo
Will PM you all my information on Richard Pearse Jr, the attorney that was appointed to be Guardian ad litem for Terri several years ago. Attorney Pearse, (he offices in Clearwater) who was recommended to the Court's by George Felos, wrote a 10 page brief for the Court after his independent evaluation and effectively sided with Terri's Family against Michael.
Felos then got Legally Blind Judge Greer to ignore the entire report and presentation by licensed Attorney Pearse! in the 2000 trial(1)
Attorney Pearse got pissed and told Greer either to let him do his job or be excused as Guardian ad litem. Greer excused Pearse on George Felos advice, and a new Guardian ad litem was NEVER reappointed for Terri, again at Felos recommendation to the Court.
Terri has gone for years without a Guardian ad litem to protect her interest against Michael and Felos and Legally Blind Judge Greer has allowed it! Attorney Pearse has to protect his license to practice law before the Florida Board and Attorney Pearse has to follow the law. That is why he asked to be excused from the case when Judge Greer was effectively letting George Felos act as Judge in this case, in my humble opinion! The whole thing is just one more giant sham in Judge Greer's court room and in this case, in my humble opinion.
(1) It is reported, Judge Greer cannot legally drive a car because of his lack of eye sight for Goss sakes. How does the Judge read all these very detailed court offered documents, by expert witnesses, in order to render proper Judicial process and decisions. - NO, in order to make a Judicial decision to effectively execute a severly disabled person by starvation, in my humble opinion.
Part II (This is from a colleague)
I am on a short schedule today, but here is some of the information I pieced together, from a substantial amount received from another forum member for review, regarding Richard Pearse, Attorney at Law who was Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) for Terri Schiavo at one time. Late tonight I will address all this information in full Ed
In Short - WHAT IS GOING ON HERE ?!:
Everyone is talking about a new appointed GAL, when the previous GAL's findings were totally ignored. What is this, a "fish until you win" venture on the part of George Felos and his client Michael Schiavo!?
GAL Richard L Pearse, Jr., Attorney at Law was suddenly dismissed after filing his report in which he stated that it was his opinion that:
(1). Michael Schiavo was not a suitable guardian due to his standing to gain financially and
(2). The possibility of rehabilitation for Terri was too great to advocate any kind of Exit Protocol.
George Felos is the one who asked for a GAL in the first place! Felos doesn't like what he hears so he gets Judge Greer, who is legally blind per news reports, to totally quash this experts testimony. THIS IS CRAZY!
ATTORNEY PEARSE NEEDS TO BE CONTACTED IMMEDIATELY HE IS EASY TO CONTACT PER BELOW:
October 24, 2003 News Article
An independent guardian has not served in the Schiavo case since 1999, when Clearwater attorney Richard Pearse Jr. issued a report recommending Michael Schiavo not be allowed to disconnect Terri Schiavo's feeding tube among a number of other matters.
PEARSE SAID IN AN INTERVIEW LAST WEEK HE MADE THAT DETERMINATION BECAUSE MICHAEL SCHIAVO STOOD TO BENEFIT FINANCIALLY FROM HIS WIFE'S DEATH BY INHERITING ABOUT $750,000 IN A MEDICAL TRUST FUND.
HERE'S SOME PIECED TOGETHER INFO: - Some information is repetitive
RICHARD, L PEARSE, JR - FLORIDA ATTORNEY AT LAW,
GUARDIAN AD LITEM FOR TERRI SCHIAVO - AT ONE POINT IN THIS LITIGATION
In June 1998, soon after Michael asked the court for permission to remove Terri's feeding tube, the court appointed Richard L. Pearse, Jr. Attorney at Law as Terri's Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). Pearse's job was to investigate the facts of Terri's case and represent her interests in court. He issued a 10-page report in Dec. 1998 on his finding, and also in January 2000 testified on his findings before Judge Greer.
Ironically, at the beginning of the case in 1998, it was Attorney George Felos who requested an independent guardian for Terri Schiavo and recommended Richard Pearse Jr, Attorney at Law.
At a January 2000 trial, Pearse concluded that he had not found clear and convincing evidence that Terri would have rejected life support. He said she should be kept alive and questioned Michael's Schiavo's credibility.
Pearse urged in no uncertain terms that the petition for removing the feeding tube be denied. He made it clear that he did not believe Schiavo's sudden recollection of Terri's wishes.
Pearse stated "Regarding the pending petition filed by Mr.Michael Schiavo to withdraw the gastric feeding tube which sustains the ward (Terri), (ward = Terri throughout) Mr. Schiavo claims that the ward (Terri) told him after their marriage that she would not want to be kept alive artificially,"
Pearse wrote, "Mr. Schiavo indicated strongly to me (Attorney Pearse) that his petition to withdraw life support has nothing to do with the money held in the guardianship estate, which he would inherit upon the ward's (Terri's) death as her sole heir-in-law."
Pearce continued: "The only direct evidence probative of the issue of the ward's (Terri's) intent is Mr. Schiavo's hearsay testimony regarding removal the ward's feeding tube which would inevitably result in her death" However, his credibility is necessarily adversely affected by the obvious financial benefit to him in the event of her death while still married to him. Her death also permits him to "get on" with his life, as Mr. Schiavo stated during questioning."
Per Attorney Pearse's Report - "Since there is no corroborative evidence of the ward's (Terri's) intentions, and since the only witness claiming to have such evidence is the one person who will realize a direct and substantial financial benefit from the ward's death, the undersigned guardian ad litem is of the opinion that the evidence of the ward's (Terri's) intentions developed by the investigation, DOES NOT MEET THE CLEAR AND CONVINCING STANDARD."< In his report, Pearse said Michael Schiavo was not a credible witness to his wife's end-of-life wishes because he waited years before coming forward with the claim that she wanted to die. Pearse also noted that Michael Schiavo would benefit financially from her death and be able to "move on with his life" in Mr Schiavo's words.
Pearse stated that after Michael Schiavo received the malpractice settlement, "HE HAS A CHANGE OF HEART CONCERNING FURTHER TREATMENT OF HIS WIFE,". Pearse, noting that Schiavo would benefit financially if his wife died, recommended that the feeding tube remain.
That Michael Schiavo's attitude and actions changed as soon as the money from the malpractice suit was in the bank was not lost in Pearse's Expert Court Appointed Review. (News Report Comment)
Per Attorney Pearse - "From that point forward, the ward's husband has isolated the ward from her parents, has on at least one occasion refused to consent for the ward to be treated for an infection, and, ultimately, four years later, has filed the instant petition for the withdrawal of life support on the basis of evidence apparently known only to him which could have been asserted at any time during the ward's illness," he said.
Attorney Pearse said he was "troubled by the fact that Michael waited until 1998 to petition to remove the feeding tube, even though he claims to have known her wishes all along, and that he waited until he won a malpractice suit based on a professed desire to take care of her into old age".
Pearse continued: As her husband, Michael would inherit what is left of her malpractice award, originally $700,000, which is held in a trust fund administered by the court. Accounting of the fund is sealed. BUT MICHAEL'S LAWYER, GEORGE FELOS, SAID MOST OF IT HAS BEEN SPENT ON LEGAL FEES ASSOCIATED WITH THE CUSTODY DISPUTE.
Pearse also said he did not find Joan and Scott Schiavo's testimony credible.<<<<<<<<<<<<<
* * INTERESTING - By the time the case came to trial in Jan. 2000, Michael Schiavo had found two witnesses to corroborate his version of Terri's wishes: Scott Schiavo, his brother, and Joan Schiavo, a sister-in-law. When Pearse initially became involved in 1998 Michael had NO OTHER WITNESSES TO HIS STORY * * .
Pearse stated "One of the interesting and ironic aspects of this case is that all of the parties have portrayed themselves as representing her interests," he said. "It's always desirable that a person in Terri's position have an independent representative who has no particular interest in the case other than Terri." (THIS IS STANDARD JUDICIAL PROCEDURE IN CASES LIKE THIS PARTICULARLY WITH THE LACK OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN FAMILY MEMBERS. Ed)
Pearse recommended that a guardian ad litem (not necessarily himself) be appointed to protect Terri's interests on a go-forward basis.
Charging Pearse was "biased", Felos promptly had Pearse removed as guardian ad litem. No one was appointed in his place by Judge Greer.
GEORGE FELOS RECOMMENDED A GUARDIAN AD LITEM IN THE FIRST PLACE. FELOS DIDN'T LIKE WHAT THE EXPERT WITNESS ATTORNEY PEARSE HAD TO SAY, THEN HAD JUDGE GREER REMOVE PEARSE AND NULLIFY THIS EXPERT WITNESSES TESTIMONY IS THIS DUE PROCESS AND PROPER ETHICAL STANDARDS REQUIRED OF A FLORIDA JUDGE ?! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE! - ED
Greer accepted their testimony as "creditable and reliable." .......(This is inferior to "clear and convincing" required in Attorney Pearse's expert report, and clearly would have been the prudent requirement under Florida Law for the Judge to require in these unusual circumstances - Ed.
Judge Greer also dismissed the criticism that "Michael Schiavo has not acted in good faith by waiting eight plus years" to file his petition. "THAT ASSERTION HARDLY SEEMS WORTHY OF COMMENT," GREER SAID.
GREER RULED IN MICHAEL SCHIAVO'S FAVOR.
Other Added Info:
Pearse stated in this report - "Since there is no corroborative evidence of the ward's (Terri's) intentions, and since the only witness claiming to have such evidence is the one person who will realize a direct and substantial financial benefit from the ward's death, the undersigned guardian ad litem is of the opinion that the evidence of the ward's intentions developed by the investigation, DOES NOT MEET THE CLEAR AND CONVINCING STANDARD."<< THESE ARE VERY IMPORTANT LEGAL WORDS - ED
The Schindlers had contacted a woman Michael dated in 1991 who told them Michael had confessed to her he did not know what Terri would want. Although the woman refused to sign an affidavit, it bought the Schindlers some time.
And with it, they found Trudy Capone.
A former co-worker of Michael's, Capone signed an affidavit on May 9, 2001, stating "Michael confided in me all the time about Terri ...He said to me many times that he had no idea what her wishes were."
Attorney Patricia Anderson, who began representing the Schindlers in 2001, said the failure to replace Pearse has hindered the parents' case because Michael Schiavo, as Terri's legal guardian, controls her medical care and even her visitors.
The parents' hands are tied in terms of what evidence they could present," she said, "because they didn't have access to Terri. They're not even permitted to know if she's been running a temperature. If a guardian ad litem had been appointed, it would have been a different story."
Seriously, I am praying that Jay Wolfson and others involved here understand that compassion and love trump 'health care financing'. I pray that all concerned will look at this with fresh EYES and ears, minds and hearts.
"Promise you won't leave me, will you, Mommy?"
Terri is not in a coma -- degree of brain damage is unsure.
After the CA treatment, she was to have been taken to Shands, Gainesville for followup treatment -- this was not done. WHY was Michael allowed to make a 180º change in Terris treatment -- and WHY is it so strange that her family should want to return to that treatment plan?
From St. Petersburg Times...dated Feb. 17, 1991 (1 year after Terri's collapse.) -- article found by 4Godsoloved..Hegave:
This city has proclaimed today Terri Schiavo day. ...She underwent surgery, performed by Dr. Yoshio Hosobuchi of the University of California at San Francisco in December, to implant a stimulator in her brain.
The brain stimulator implant was a success, said her husband, Mike. Mrs. Schiavo is slowly emerging from the coma at the Mediplex Medical Center, a neurological care center in Bradenton, he said. She will undergo at least a year of speech, occupational and physical therapy.
"She always liked to be fussed with," Kaye says of her eldest daughter, who was 16 when she begged her mother: "Promise you won't leave me, will you, Mommy?" before losing consciousness in the hospital . . .
I might have agreed with you but Greer is said to have used his 'poor' eyesight many times as an excuse to not review videsos or other evidence from the family.
morally blind? ...oh come on now! You should study the record a little closer, and not just listen to the husband's lawyer's version.
WHAT HAS CHANGED since this photo was taken of Terri & Michael in 1990?? Has the greater St. Pete area forgotten that Terri used to look like this?
So Michael won his money, got his honey.
Why does the St. Pete Times not ask WHY Terri would be in WORSE shape today than she was 13 yrs ago?? (source: 1/25/00 story by Anita Kumar -- http://www.sptimes.com/News/012500/TampaBay/Deciding_the_fate_of_.shtml)
Yes, I'm shouting. Where's the logic here?
credit syriacus for finding this article. May our work have meaning and help for Terri -- but others have been working for years w/same frustrations. Why is justice so blind to Terri's parents all these years?
YEAH, Michael -- it took you FOUR HOURS to get this one good pxr of you and Terri to use in that 92 trial? RIGHT . . .
Thanks for pointing that out. Terri is even better off than Kaye O'Bara of Miami Gardens. Terry can already swallow her own secretions! She does so in videos.
But Kaye O'Bara has to occasionally have her mouth or nose suctioned out or else she would choke to death.
And Terry DOES exhibit signs of cognition. She does respond, and She can point to where she is hurting and say "PAI(n)".
There are even audio .mp3 files from 12 months ago, of her trying to speak with her father.
These are not available at the moment because the server where they are stored still thinks it is October. Could someone save those files ELSEWHERE as soon as they are back online? These files have been unavailable for days because they were too popular and the webpage containing them exceeded its monthly bandwidth!
These are at http://www.friendsofterri.org/audio.html
Actually it is the server at www.zimp.org that is still blocking the files.