Translation of U.S. Federal District Court Judge James Whittemore’s Decision

by JHS, Esq.

The text of Judge Whittemore’s second denial of Bob and Mary Schindler’s request to have their daughter, Terri Schiavo’s, feeding tube reinserted can be read here. (I would post it in its entirety, but it is 11 pages long.)

Note the last paragraph of the ruling:

Finally, the court would be remiss if it did not once again convey its appreciation for the difficulties and heartbreak the parties have endured throughout this lengthy process. The civility with which this delicate matter has been presented by counsel is a credit to their professionalism and dedication to their respective clients, and Terri.

As a lawyer, I understand what motivated Judge Whittemore’s remarks. I’m sure he just wanted the world to know that he recognizes the humanity of this case, even though he was constrained to weigh only the legal considerations.

Note to Judge Whittemore: Nobody ever said it was going to be an easy job.

But from Florida comes a more thorough translation of his ruling. This was forwarded to me by a friend of the author, who wishes to remain anonymous. The person who sent it to me said the author should be identified simply as “my brilliant friend, the smartest lawyer on the planet.”

So, from “the smartest lawyer on the planet,” here is what the Federal District Court really said about the Schiavo matter.

Evidentiary errors are a matter of state law.

Translation: Evidentiary errors which cause the intentional taking of a life are a matter of . . . , um, . . . not my job.

Reasoning: Nope, those pesky evidentiary errors could have been taken care of by the state. They’re killing her, not me, no way, that’s not a federal thingy, nosiree. I only have to be responsible for those good federal evidentiary errors and I’m not gonna have any of those because I’m not taking any evidence. Not now. Not until after she’s dead. Then, all I have to find on my de novo review is that she’s dead. It’s moot. No other evidence, no evidentiary errors. Whew.

CCEPDX March 27, 2005 at 1:35 am

Excuse the slang and lack of civility and professionalism, but the civility and professionalism stuff chaps my hide. Why do lawyers, judges and media people talk about these things when they are perpetrating grave injustices?

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