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misc Terri links

Terri needs a divorce

What type of state is Florida

The death issue

Is it  legalized murder.


Governor Jeb Bush,

Dear Gov. Bush,

The following is a copy of a letter I recently sent to your brother George about Terri Schindler Schiavo. I’m sure you are doing all you can, but the President does have some advantages you as governor don’t have. The President controls federal law enforcement agencies. The President can order the investigation, and if appropriate, the prosecution of a state judge who acts improperly. The President can choose among different federal judges like former Attorney General Janet Reno did when she wanted to have the INS pick up Elian Gonzalez.

Your brother could order the FBI to investigate whether the judge has denied Terri(because of her disability) the right to pursue a divorce on the grounds of adultery by allowing her adulterous husband to continue to function as her guardian. He could also attempt to place her in federal protective custody because of evidence, including the statement by Dr. Michael Baden, of possible abusive treatment at the hands of her husband. As part of the investigative process Terri could be sent to a hospital(such as the Rehabilitation Hospital of Chicago) for evaluation to determine her actual condition.

Once in Illinois it would be reasonable to have a local guardian appointed for her. I am not in any way acquainted with Ms. Diane Coleman who is an attorney and the founder of Not Dead Yet the Resistance, but I’m sure she would be willing to serve as Terri’s guardian. Coleman could then seek a divorce on Terri’s behalf.

Your brother has talked a lot about the idea of “compassionate conservative”. Helping Terri would allow him to demonstrate the concept.

President George W. Bush

Dear President Bush,

I didn’t vote for you or Al Gore in 2000 because neither of you gave me a reason to vote for you. I will be voting for you next year because I like the way you have been handling the War on Terror.

The major acts of terrorism have been getting most of the attention. Unfortunately there are other acts of terror here in the U.S. that aren’t receiving enough attention. These acts of terror are directed against people whose medical condition limits their ability to even ask for help.

Patients like Terri Schindler Schiavo have been marked for painful death by starvation and dehydration because brain injuries prevent them from controlling the muscles involved in speech. Many doctors describe such patients as “vegetables” because the doctors believe the inability to speak means the patients aren’t aware of their surroundings and cannot think.

These doctors believe this way in spite of statements by former “vegetables” like Kate Adamson that even though they could not communicate they were very aware of what was going on around them. Adamson barely escaped a painful death by starvation at the hands of her doctors.

Doctors continue to evaluate the condition of a patient’s brain by relying on the patient’s ability to control muscles even though modern science has developed equipment that allows doctors to directly determine whether the brain is functioning or not. An electroencephalograph(EEG) can detect brain waves the best indication of whether the brain is alive or not. Functional Magnetic Resolution Imaging(fMRI) can determine which areas of the brain are active during different activities. Scientists have even developed equipment that allows patients with brain injuries or paralyzing disorders like ALS to communicate with a computer using brain waves.

The federal government has a duty under the Constitution to protect the lives of those whose medical conditions limit their ability to act on their own behalf as well as those of us who are able bodied. Government can protect the able bodied by stopping terrorists and criminals. Protecting those with physical limitations requires limiting the actions of doctors and judges who would prefer that such individuals “die and reduce the surplus population.”

The federal government needs to adopt such provisions as:

(1) require that patients with brain injuries or disorders be evaluated by using EEG and fMRI. An effort should be made to allow patients to “voice” their wishes using their brain waves;

(2) patients should not be considered to be in a persistent state without first attempting treatment over a period and determining if the patient improves with the treatment;

(3) if a patient has not expressed wishes about continuing to live because very serious injuries all adult relatives(spouse, parents and adult children) should be consulted rather than just the spouse;

(4) relatives of a married patient who cannot act on her own behalf should to able to seek a divorce for the patient if the spouse engages in adultery or other actions that would allow someone to seek a divorce;

(5) when courts award damages for the purpose of treatment and rehabilitation the money should have to be spent for such purposes. In the event a patient dies before all money is spent the money should go to government to be used for other patients with similar conditions who lack funds for treatment and rehabilitation;

 The case of Terri Schindler Schiavo in Florida is particularly disturbing. Respected forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden has suggested that her condition might have resulted from physical abuse by her husband. Local law enforcement has been uninterested in investigating that possibility. Her husband has been allowed to function as her guardian even though he has been living with another woman and has had children by her. Sara Green Mele, MS, CCC-SLP, a speech pathologist with the highly rated Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, claims that Terri could benefit from their program, but the judge continues to claim that Terri cannot be helped.

Like most governors, your brother lacks adequate control over law enforcement to deal with the situation. I realize that the FBI is very busy right now, but someone needs to investigate this situation to determine if the law is being followed and her rights are being protected.

Another disturbing thing about the situation Terri and others with a similar condition is that the top terrorist of the 20th Century, Adolf Hitler began his rein of terror by killing those he considered “mentally unfit.”

I’ve never met Terri or her family. However, she reminds me of a couple of women who are in the same sheltered workshop as my younger brother who has Down Syndrome, except that they are more animated than she is..

Science is on the verge of being able to help those with significant brain damage to live more normal lives through use of computers and other electronic equipment. Scientists are beginning to use adult stem cells to help treat damaged brains. Terri and others like her deserve the opportunity to benefit from these technological breakthroughs.

Dear President Bush,

In your State of the Union message you mentioned the difficulty some people have benefitting from new medical technology. Florida Cerebral Palsy patient Terri Schindler Schiavo is one such individual.

Many advances have been made in treating brain damage. Terri cannot benefit from these new treatments because the Florida courts allow her husband Michael, who is living with another woman to whom he is engaged, to deny her such treatment. In fact, the Florida courts see nothing wrong with allowing him to starve her to death. We wouldn’t even starve Saddam Hussein to death. The judge ignores the likelihood that a man who wishes to marry another woman might want his wife dead and would lie to get a judge to kill her for him.

The judges in this case provide another example of how the courts in this country are out of control. The judges ignore the opinions of highly regarded doctors who claim Terri can be helped. The judges also believe they can ignore any attempt by the Florida legislature to change the law from what the judges want it to be. These Florida judges are among those you describe who “insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people.”

Two of the leading experts in the field of treating brain damage, Dr. William Hammesfahr and Dr. William Maxfield, who have published numerous articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, disagree with the claim by her husband that she is in a so-called “persistent vegetative state”(PVS).( ) They believe new treatments can help her So does Sara Green Mele a speech pathologist with the top rated Rehabilitation Hospital of Chicago.

Terri doesn’t even qualify as PVS under the definition of Florida law.

Your brother Jeb is trying to help, but his options as governor are more limited than the options you have as President. He is limited to challenging autocratic judges through the courts. He has no guarantee that the case can reach the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary, before his current term of office is over. More importantly, Terri cannot get the treatment she needs until the issue is resolved by the courts. 

Among other options you have law enforcement authority that your brother lacks. You have the authority, and obligation, to protect the rights of American citizens from abridgment by state courts. 

In Afghanistan women are the property of their husbands and can be killed by their husbands. That is not supposed to be the case in the United States. Here a woman does not become the “property” of her husband just because she marries. She is supposed to have the right to divorce an unfaithful husband instead of allowing him to have complete control over her life.

Terri Schindler Schiavo has been denied that right by Florida courts. Florida judges have allowed her husband Michael to continue to function as her guardian even though he is living with a woman to whom he is engaged to and whose children he has fathered. Terri is denied that right because her disability, cerebral palsy, prevents her from speaking or writing on her own behalf.

There are various reasons you could give for intervening on Terri’s behalf. For example, federal law prohibits the states from denying rights to the disabled. The judge’s continued support for Michael Schiavo in spite of many of the facts could indicate the judge has been bribed. Considering the substantial body of federal law, there may be other laws that could have been violated.

You do not need to establish that anyone is guilty of anything illegal. You only need to establish sufficient cause to remove Terri from her husband’s custody while the matter is being investigated. There are statements that Michael has tried to deny treatment for his wife and may have tried to kill her. That should be sufficient to persuade a federal judge that the federal government should be able to place Terri in protective custody while the case is being investigated.

If Janet Reno could get a federal magistrate to authorize the “arrest” of Elian Gonzalez as a “dangerous illegal alien”, you should be able to find a judge who would authorize moving Terri to a hospital where she can be examined and treated until it can be determined if action against anyone is justified. The best situation would be to move Terri to a hospital in another state where a local judge could assign another guardian who could seek a divorce on Terri’s behalf.

Perhaps a congressional committee would be interested in investigating whether Congress should pass new legislation such as defining when a person might be considered brain dead. Scientists have developed the ability to detect brain activity by monitoring brain waves. Dr. Niels Birbaumer has even developed a method that allows people who cannot otherwise direct their bodies to communicate with the outside world to use brain waves to do so.


Moving Terri to a hospital where she can be treated would allow Congress to evaluate possible deficiencies in state standards. Congress should also look at the highly questionable practice of starving people to death when those people cannot communicate their wishes.

You talk a lot about “compassionate conservatism”. One way for you to demonstrate the concept would be to act to help Terri Schindler Schiavo. 

You are doing a great job with the War on Terror. You need to do something about those individuals who are being terrorized here at home because they cannot communicate their condition to others.

For more information about Terri Schindler Schiavo see her website at My website contains links to many other sites dealing with her situation:

P.S. I believe the issue of homosexual marriage can dealt with faster using legislation. Laws authorizing marriage often include privileges not available to those who are unmarried. For example, a married taxpayer can claim a spouse as a dependent without having to prove the spouse is financially dependent on the taxpayer. Married people cannot be required to testify against each other in a criminal trial. Such privileges would appear to violate the 14th Amendment unless this legal status serves a valid state interest. 

Providing special benefits or privileges to heterosexual couples does serve a state interest by encouraging heterosexuals to form permanent unions and produce children to provide future workers for society. Homosexual couples cannot produce children without the assistance of someone outside the couple. 

Congress should pass legislation stating defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman and prohibiting any state from establishing any other form of union between members of the same sex that includes any special benefits or privileges. States could authorize unions not based on any sexual considerations among two, or more people, for such purposes as owning property or being allowed to make medical decisions for a legal partner, provided such unions do not include any benefits not available to others.

Among benefits that could be available to married couples is allowing states or private businesses to provide health insurance coverage for a spouse without having to provide benefits of comparable value to other employees. Insurance benefits for dependent children would also be legal. However, federal law should prohibit providing such insurance coverage to so-called domestic partners unless the state or company provides insurance coverage to any co-resident of an employee(including an 80-year-old grandparent) and provides benefits of comparable value to all single employees who live alone. 

Mr. Jay Sekulow

Re: Terri Schiavo and Homosexual marriage

American Center for Law and Justice

P.O. Box 64429

Virginia Beach, VA 23467

Dear Sekulow,

I understand you are involved in the Terri Schiavo case. The only hope she has is to get her case into the federal courts. The Florida judges involved in the case seem to be the stereotypical old style southern judges who don’t understand the concepts of law and justice(assuming that Michael Schiavo doesn’t have them on his payroll). They are the type of southern judges who 40 years ago would have seen nothing wrong with ignoring claims that a white person had murdered a black person. They may not have the hangups on racial issues that southern judges once had, but they lack a sense of justice. Once they have made up their minds they aren’t going to let the facts of the case or changes in the law alter their opinions.

My relevant background is as an historian and political scientist rather than a lawyer.Http://

In the event you don’t know the URL’s to some of the people referenced below I have links at

I’ll have to leave it up to you to place the following suggestion in the form preferred by the courts. I’ll probably make some points that are already obvious to you, but I want to place the suggestions in context. I would rather tell you something you already know then not tell you something you don’t know.

The preferable way to handle the case would be to get a federal judge to order that Terri be removed from her husband’s control before Michael knows about the case so that he cannot harm her. You could use statements by former nurses that he might have tried to harm her as well as his failure to provide her family with medical reports to demonstrate the need to remove her from his control while the case is being decided.

You might want to remind the judge that if, as Michael alleges, Terri is “brain dead” then any effort to treat her cannot “prolong her suffering”. However, if she is still aware of her surroundings, then efforts to treat her can only help her. Keeping her in virtual solitary confinement as Michael has been doing “prolongs her suffereing.” The unscientific term “persistent vegetative state” is based on ignorance, particularly the old fallacy that someone who cannot communicate is “dumb”. People who have recovered from this condition like Kate Adamson say they were aware of what was going on around them but simply could not get their bodies to communicate.

Terri should be moved to a facility where she could be evaluated and treated while the courts are deciding the case, preferably outside Florida. Treatment by a speech pathologist should be a top priority If she can regain the ability to communicate she can tell the court her wishes and eliminate any question about her condition. You should try to contact those researchers who are working on equipment that allows people who cannot communicate using their bodies to communicate using brain waves, such as Niels Birbaumer of the University of Tubingen. This procedure allows a patient to use a particular brain wave called the slow cortical response to indicate a “yes” or “no” response.

Getting Terri out of Florida might allow a strategy of getting a judge in the state she moves to to appoint a guardian for Terri from that state. That guardian might then ask local courts to grant a divorce. 

If you cannot persuade the federal courts to act without notifying Michael you should warn those who are caring for Terri that failure to provide proper care could potentially subject them to lawsuits for malpractice, etc. after a federal court ruling finding that her rights had been denied by the State of Florida. If the Florida courts have violated Terri’s rights, any directives the courts have issued lack legal validity.

You should also warn Michael, the judges and health care providers that if the federal courts eventually uphold your lawsuit, any action they might take that would lead to her death would be without appropriate legal authorization. Anyone causing her death could be charged with murder next year, 10 years from now or even 30 years from now as recently happened to a man involved in a fatal church bombing back in the 60's.

If the federal courts take the case and put Terri in protective custody, the family might offer Michael the option of agreeing to an immediate divorce in exchange for no further attempts to force him to pay alimony or even to repay the money that should have been used for Terri’s treatment.

At a time when Americans are dying to help Afghani and Iraqi women secure rights like the right to divorce, Florida courts are denying such a right to Terri Schiavo simply because she cannot communicate. Afghani law has traditionally treated women as the property of their husbands to be disposed of as their husbands saw fit. American isn’t supposed to function that way. In America a woman is supposed to have the right to divorce an unfaithful husband regardless of what her physical condition might be.

The State of Florida through its courts has arbitrarily violated Terri’s right to divorce an unfaithful husband and should be liable for damages. The courts have deliberately ignored the statements by leading doctors in the field of brain rehabilitation, such as Dr. William Hammesfahr, that modern treatments can help her. 

You should point out that in the physical sciences in general the opinions of some scientists, including those who practice medicine, are considered more likely to be valid than others. One way scientists establish a reputation for knowing more than others is by publishing articles in peer reviewed scientific journals as Dr. Hammesfahr has done. Ordinary doctors often lack the knowledge to know what conditions can be improved with the newest treatments and what conditions cannot. There are Hawkeye Pierce type doctors who attempt to help people and then there are Frank Burns type doctors who don’t bother.

It should be possible to use the federal courts to rectify that situation. 

The standard practice in suits against local and state governments is to sue the government official and the government itself. The suit against government alleges that the official acted in accord with government policy. Government may escape liability by showing that the official acted contrary to government policy. The State of Florida would likely take this approach by detailing how the judges have ignored state laws, particularly if Gov. Jeb Bush can affect the state strategy. 

In the event of a problem in gaining acceptance for a suit against a judge you could point out the way southern judges once treated black people, particularly allowing white to escape punishment for crimes against blacks. Judges, including federal judges, can be prosecuted for taking bribes to decide a case. They should also be susceptible to suits involving a denial of rights even if no money is used to influence the decision.


I’m not sure whether there could be a problem with establishing that parents/siblings have standing to sue on Terri’s behalf. In the event there is, you might show that American society doesn’t follow the standards of those societies in which the wife leaves her family to become part of the husband’s family with the husband gaining sole control over her. This situation occurs in some Islamic countries and in India. The more extreme form of this situation the husband may kill the wife without fear of retaliation. In India at one time the wife might be killed if her husband died.

In American society a woman doesn’t cease being part of her biological family just because she marries. She may return to her family temporarily or permanently if problems occur in the marriage. A common theme in popular culture as represented through television is the threat of the wife to “go home to mother” when having a dispute with her husband. A wife seeks the protection of her family in the event of trouble with her husband. She expects her family to look after her interest.

An American couple might live with one or both parents of either the husband or the wife. In my own family at one time or another each of my parents’ mothers lived with us. 

American television shows have featured both situations. On “December Bride” the couple lived with the wife’s mother. On “The Waltons” the family lived with the husband’s parents. The “Addams Family” lived with the husband’s mother. The “Munsters” lived with the wife’s father. Jed Clampett’s mother-in-law(Granny) continued living with him after his wife died, “Beverly Hillbillies”. The Huxtables(“The Bill Cosby Show”) had their daughter and her husband living with them for a time.

Between the time of the event that caused Terri’s current condition and the ruling on the malpractice case, Terri and Michael lived with her parents. This action indicated that Michael recognized that Terri’s parents still were part of her life and had an interest in her health.

On the other hand, we know that a married woman is more likely to be killed by her husband than by a stranger. Such an action often occurs when a husband who is sexually involved with another woman doesn’t want to deal with a divorce that would force him to share property with his wife or pay her alimony.

There are claims that Terri was considering divorce before she ended up in the hospital. There is evidence, according to Dr. Michael Baden(a leading forensic pathologist), that she had been abused. There is evidence that she might have been strangled. I believe if Terri were to die in her current condition that it would be possible for a future prosecutor to persuade a jury that Michael was responsible for her death. 

I’m don’t know whether he attacked her or not, but the evidence can be interpreted to support that thesis. Successful prosecution requires the prosecutor to show means, motive and opportunity. The prosecution could site the possibility of Michael wanting to avoid a divorce as motive. He was with Terri at the time(opportunity) and is physically strong enough to be able to physically injure her(means).

I hope these suggestions will be useful to you.

May 28, 2004


Assistant Attorney General R. Alexander Acosta

Civil Rights Division

U. S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20530


Dear Assistant Attorney General Acosta,

I was glad to hear the Department of Justice is investigating the murder of Emmitt Till to determine if there is sufficient evidence to prosecute any of the perpetrators of the crime who might still be alive. Till's family was denied their right to have his killer punished because of the corrupt southern court system that existed at that time. I hope you will consider dealing with a similar miscarriage of justice by another southern court before the person whose rights have been denied dies because her rights have been denied.


Terri Schiavo is a Florida cerebral palsy patient whose unfaithful husband has somehow persuaded the Florida courts to have her starved to death. She is only alive now because Governor Jeb Bush has managed to use his limited authority to prevent the courts from killing her.


American law is supposed to guarantee every woman the right to divorce an unfaithful husband regardless of whether she can communicate her wishes or not. Even when the state of New York had the fewest grounds for divorce it still treated adultery as grounds for divorce. Avioding a divorce is a common motive for murdering a spouse. Thus, the courts should never allow the husband of a woman who has grounds for divorce to control whether she lives of dies.


Some of the leaders in treating people with brain damage claim that Terri can benefit from modern treatments. World-reknowned neurologist Dr. William Hammesfahr, who has published numerous articles in peer reviewed scientific journals, claims that she can be helped ( ) Sara Green Mele, a speech language patholigist with the highly rated Rehabilitation Hospital of Chicago, also states that Terri can be helped ( ).

I have links to other information about Terri at


The Florida judges involved in this case may not be as racist as southern judges once were, but they share the same lack of understanding of what the concepts of law and justice mean. They seem to believe that Florida operates under Muslim law and a woman who marries becomes the property of her husband who can dispose of her as he sees fit.


The 14th Amendment's "equal protection clause" should guarantee Terri the same right to divorce an unfaithful husband as a woman who can communicate her wishes. The Florida Courts should have ended her marriage with Michael as soon as he began living with another woman. The continued denial of her rights and the threat to her life should justify federal intervention either with a civil suit or a criminal investigation to determine if there is an improper relationship between Michael Schiavo and the judges who continue to rule in his favor.


Terri's family reports that Michael keeps her in a darkened room without any kind of music or other sounds. In other words he is using sensory deprivation on her. Isn't that one of the type treatments that President George W. Bush recently said our troops cannot subject foreign prisoners in Iraq to?


The killers of Emmitt Till were allowed to avoid punishment because of a corrupt court system. The Florida court system's treatment of Terri Schiavo is also corrupt and the DOJ should investigate her case before the courts are allowed to kill her.


I'm not an attorney and don't know the most appropriate law or regulation that should be used to allow the federal government to remove Terri from state custody. Perhaps you could find a law that would allow suing the state of Florida in a way that would allow the governor rather than the state attorney general to act on the state's behalf. I believe Florida Governor Jeb Bush would take advantage of such a case to shift control of Terri's fate out of the Florida courts. Maybe you could find some justification to "take Terri into custody" as a "material witness."


Several months ago I emailed Terri's family to suggest that they see if maybe someone who can read lips could visit Terri in the event that Terri can move her lips but cannot add the other necessary actions including arranging the interior of the mouth while exhaling air. On their most recent visit her family reports that she was laughing and trying to talk. 


I recently have wondered if Terri could communicate using facial expressions. Her family says that she smiles when they visit. So perhaps she could use a smile to indicate "yes" and a frown or blank expression to indicate "no". If Terri can make a sound, she could use one sound for "yes" and two sounds for "no".


If you do have someone interview her, you should take along one of her parents or a sibling so she will feel more comfortable.


Forensic patholigist Dr. Michael Baden says that a bone scan of Terri indicates she might have been abused prior to her admission to the hospital with brain damage. There is also evidence she might have been strangled, an action which could cause brain damage by temporily stopping blood flow to her brain. If she were to die in her current condition, I believe a future prosecutor could use that as evidence that Terri's husband Michael caused the condition that resulted in her death and thus murdered her. If the Florida courts order Terri's death and her right to a divorce has been violated, a future prosecutor could claim that the court order was not legally valid and anyone who caused Terri's death could be prosecuted for murder at any time in the future.


The murderers of Emmitt Till could not be prosecuted at the time because of the courts and public sentiment. Changes in the courts and public sentiment mean that any of those killers who are still alive couild now be successfully prosecuted as was recently the case with a man responsible for murdering little girls in a church bombing in the 60's. Similar future changes in the courts and public sentiment could allow prosecution of anyone causing Terri's death 10 or 20 or even 50 years from now.


You can prevent the need for a delayed prosecution of someone for Terri's death by acting to place her in a facility where she can receive the treatment she should be provided.


Incidentally, in general I believe the Department of Justice is being run more effectively under the current administration than under the previous administration.