De Novo Review

by JHS, Esq.

www.dictionary.com defines “de novo” this way:

* Over again, anew
* As if for the first time
* From the beginning
* Allowing independent appellate determination of issues (as of fact or law)
* Allowing complete retrial upon new evidence

And, interestingly, the entry for “de novo” includes the following:

“NOTE: A de novo review is an in-depth review. Decisions of federal administrative agencies are generally subject to de novo review in the U.S. District Courts, and some lower state court decisions are subject to de novo review at the next level.”

With that definition in mind, every rational, law-abiding citizen of the United States should be outraged by what is happening in Florida to Terri Schiavo and her family.

As usual, my pal Wesley J. Smith’s said it succinctly and cogently in his blog this morning:

When Congress directed the federal courts to take a fresh look at the Schiavo case, it was to be “de novo,” that is, to relook at the evidence with a fresh eye. Yet, Judge James D. Whittemore looks to have been more of a rubber stamp.

For example, the federal courts were to determine whether the clear and convincing evidence standard had been applied to determining Terri’s desires. Remember, all we have are hearsay statements from Michael, his brother, and his brother’s wife. Also, Michael told conflicting stories to different courts. When he wanted $, he told a
malpractice jury Terri would live a normal lifespan. When he wanted Terri
dead, he said she urged him not to live in her present circumstances.

Yet, rather than look at the evidence itself–which is what a de novo review is supposed to do– Judge Whittemore states, “The state judge applied the heightened clear and convincing evidence standard in determining her intentions, as permitted by Cruzan and in accordance with [statute # omitted].”

UNBELIEVABLE. Judge Greer stated he applied the standard so I find he applied the standard. That is not a de novo review! The sense of profound injustice in Schiavo only continues to grow.

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