Greer Denies Release of DCF Records
By The Empire Journal
Florida’s death judge George W. Greer finally issued a ruling siding with Florida’s Department of Children and Families in the Terri Schiavo case but it didn’t help Terri who died Thursday after 13 days without food and water by order of Greer.
The Pinellas County probate court judge Friday denied a request from a Florida newspaper for summaries of alleged previous investigations conducted by DCF in the Schiavo case concerning alleged abuse of the disabled woman who had sustained serious brain damage as the result of suspicious circumstances in 1990.
Her estranged husband, Michael Schiavo, had petitioned Greer to sanction her death because he claimed she had no chance of recovery and that she wouldn’t want to be kept alive by a feeding tube which Greer ordered removed.
Greer ruled that the previous records belonged to DCF who opposed their release because they said it would interfere with their alleged ongoing investigation in the Schiavo case. He said that Michael Schiavo could have access but that the records weren’t accessible to the public.
Last month, DCF had filed a motion before Greer to intervene in the case because they had received a complaint alleging 30 counts of abuse and neglect of Terri.
DCF had sought a 60-day stay of Greer’s death order in order to allow the agency to complete their investigation, saying that the termination of Terri’s life would hamper the investigation of the allegations, “many of which have previously gone uninvestigated”, according to DCF.
Last week, DCF and Gov. Jeb Bush were rejected by Greer in their efforts to take Terri into protective custody. Although empowered to take vulnerable adults into protective custody without court order if there is threat of imminent serious physical injury or death, instead of doing do, DCF first asked Greer who once again denied the agency their right to engage in their statutorily mandated duties.
DCF had already asked for financial records in the case to be unsealed so that they could investigate alleged claims of exploitation of Terri but Greer refused that too, continuing his consistent obstruction of justice in the matter and refusal to allow a criminal investigation to proceed.
Although in the past, Schiavo and his euthanasia attorney, George Felos had refused to acknowledge that there had been prior abuse allegations, with the entry of DCF into the case, Felos then claimed that there had been 89 prior complaints which had been investigated and determined unfounded which prompted the newspaper to seek review of the previous complaints. Felos claims that he’d like to release those complaints but couldn’t because of confidentially concerns.
Schiavo has denied abusing his wife. However, family and friends have said that she had indicated that she was unhappy in the marriage and had been talking about getting a divorce prior to sustaining her incapacitating injuries. Some friends of Terri say that they saw bruises on her prior to her sudden collapse and a bone scan revealed a previous broken femur and other fractures.
Felos claims the fractures resulted from osteoporosis and medication complications from her incapacitation. However, the bone scan was taken 13 months after her collapse rendering osteoporosis in a year’s time unlikely.
Greer’s decision to deny the release of the summaries came the day after Terri died of thirst and starvation and the day after a DCF reply was due in their appeal of Greer’s denial of their motion to intervene. DCF had appealed Greer’s prior denial to the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Lakeland. Agreeing that there were issues warranting appeal of Greer’s refusal to allow DCF to intervene in the case, but denying their request for a 60-day stay of the death order, DCA set March 23 as the date for the initial brief to be filed, with March 28 being the date for Felos to answer. DCF’s rely brief was due March 31.
DCF had sought a stay in order to allow the agency to complete their investigation, saying that the termination of Terri’s life would hamper the investigation of the allegations, “many of which have previously gone uninvestigated”, according to DCF.
Despite the agency’s statutory mandate to investigate, Greer refused their request for a stay pending completion of the investigation, saying that “intervention is allowed only if the interests of justice so required and the the intervenor stands to lose or gain invaluable rights dependent on the outcome of the case”,