Schiavo Judge Has 76% Reversal Rate Outside Rule of Terri’s Law
How does a judge whose appealed decisions get reversed 76% of the time get an award for “all his contributions on the bench” ----like a “lifetime achievement award for actors”?
Only by his compatriots in law.
How can a judge who is overturned by the Second District Court of Appeals of Florida in 21 of the 29 cases in which decisions were issued be cited by the St. Petersburg Bar Association for “grace and professionalism”, for following the rule of law and his “judicial independence”----even when he was overturned for improper admittance of hearsay testimony?
George W. Greer, Pinellas County probate court judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit was first elected to the bench in 1992 and then reelected in 1998 and 2004 although records obtained from Florida’s Division of Elections indicate he didn’t legally qualify for office and therefore should not have appeared on the ballot.
In the one decision of Greer appealed to the Florida Supreme Court in 1994, he was reversed in that one too bringing his record of appeals from 1994 to May, 2004 to 32 decisions appealed resulting in only four of Greer’s determinations being affirmed, 21 reversed and remanded and 3 petitions dismissed without review.
According to court records, from 1994 until May, 2004, Greer’s decisions outside the well-known right-to-life Schiavo case were appealed 32 times. The 2nd DCA dismissed the petitions for appeal without rendering a decision in three of cases but of the 29 cases in which it did render a decision, the lower court decision of George Greer was reversed 22 times. PDF RECORD
The appellate court held that Greer failed to hold required hearings, made unconstitutional rulings, acted outside of his jurisdiction, admitted inadmissible hearsay and committed numerous procedural errors.
And there is the Schiavo case.
Greer has been the judge in the contentious guardianship case of Terri Schindler-Schiavo since 1998, granting her estranged husband Michael Schiavo his long sought after petition to stop her assisted feeding, ordering that her feeding tube be removed on March 18. She died on March 31 of starvation and dehydration.
Greer based his death order on inadmissible hearsay evidence of Michael Schiavo, a sudden remembrance 10 years after his wife’s incapacitation and after he had received nearly $2 million in an insurance settlement that his wife had said she wouldn’t want to be kept alive by artificial means.
However, at the time she purportedly made her verbal declaration outside of any witnesses, feeding tubes were not an “artificial means” of life support and were not considered medical treatment----until Schiavo’s attorney, George Felos, chairman of the Hospice of Florida Suncoast, and his fellow board member, Gus Bilkaris, a member of the Florida House, helped to change the law just prior to the January, 2000 trial in the guardianship case which resulted in Greer ruling that there was “clear and convincing” evidence based on hearsay testimony that Terri Schiavo should die.
Time after time Greer ruled against Mary and Bob Schindler, Terri’s parents who tried valiantly to save their daughter’s life, to take her home and care for the brain damaged woman who collapsed at age 26 on Feb. 25, 1990, in mysterious circumstances at her home with only her husband present.
Greer’s unprecedented rulings in the Schiavo case were characterized by Schindlers’ attorney, Patricia Fields Anderson, as the Rule of Terri’s Case. ”If following a legal procedure will likely result in Terri dying, it will be adhered to”, Anderson said. “But if a procedure could make that outcome more difficult to attain, it will not be followed." SEE CHART [word doc]
Anderson served as Schindler’s lead attorney for three and a half years, from April, 2001 until September, 2004.
In 2000, the year of Greer’s death order in the Schiavo case, of the nine decisions of Greer’s appealed to the 2nd DCA, seven of his decisions were reversed and remanded for new trial. One was affirmed and in the other case, the petition was dismissed without review. 6-11-05