Judges deny Schiavo parents again
Schindlers to Governor Bush: 'Please do something'
PINELLAS PARK, Florida (CNN) -- A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday night against the parents of Terri Schiavo, who are in a desperate race to prolong the life of their brain-damaged daughter.
The judges ruled against reinserting the tube that supplies Schiavo with nutrients and hydration. The Atlanta, Georgia-based court had been asked to decide whether Schiavo's due process, religious and other rights are being violated.
Schiavo's feeding tube was removed a week ago, and her parents -- Mary and Bob Schindler -- have experienced a series of legal setbacks since then.
After the federal panel's decision Friday night, the Schindlers appealed to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to intervene, calling what happened "judicial homicide."
"Governor Bush, you have the power to save my daughter," Mary Schindler said. "Please, please do something."
Schiavo's father was more forceful.
"[Bush] has put Terri through a week of hell and our family through a week of hell by not acting," Bob Schindler said. "He has to come up to the plate."
In a separate, emergency motion, on which a Florida state judge is expected to rule by noon Saturday, the Schindlers contend that their daughter has expressed the wish to live.
"She managed to articulate the first two vowel sounds, first articulating AHHHHHHH and then virtually screaming WAAAAAAAA," the motion said.
The incident happened in the presence of Schiavo's sister, Suzanne Vitadamo, and an aunt, according to the motion.
At the emergency hearing Friday afternoon, the parents' lawyer, David Gibbs, asked 6th Circuit Judge George Greer to consider allowing Schiavo a minimal amount of intravenous fluids while new information is examined.
Greer agreed to consider that request but denied Gibbs' request for a different judge.
The emergency hearing was conducted via conference call.
Schiavo's father said she is showing increasing signs of "starvation and dehydration."
"I told her we're still fighting for her. And she shouldn't give up, because we're not. But I think the people who are anxious to let her die are getting their wish," Bob Schindler told reporters outside the hospice where Schiavo lives.
George Felos, the attorney for Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband and guardian, called the parents' new emergency motion an "abuse of the court process" and said it is "crossing the line."
He questioned how the parents could have had the evidence they had and not acted upon it until now -- when their legal options are running out.
"It is absolutely inconceivable to me or to anyone that Mr. and Mrs. Schindler, who have repeatedly brought every possible shred of evidence and every allegation no matter how bizarre or remote to this court for consideration, have purported evidence that Mrs. Schiavo is talking and expressing," Felos said.
Schiavo has been hospitalized, bedridden and unable to speak or feed herself since 1990, when she suffered heart failure linked to an eating disorder. The courts have consistently agreed with doctors hired by her husband and appointed by the court that the 41-year-old woman is in a persistent vegetative state.
The parents have dealt with each legal setback with appeals. Earlier pleas to the U.S. Supreme Court and to federal courts in Tampa and Atlanta have been denied. Attempts by Bush, state officials, even the governor's brother, President Bush, on behalf of the parents have been answered and rebuffed.
Greer, the judge whose decision on the Schindler's emergency motion is expected Saturday, ordered the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube last Friday. He also rejected a request to hear new testimony from a doctor who disagrees with the prevailing diagnosis that Schiavo is in a "persistent vegetative state." Greer also barred state authorities from taking Schiavo into their custody. (Full story)
The years-long fight has pitted Terri Schiavo's husband against her parents. Michael Schiavo has argued that his wife had said, before her illness, that she would not want to continue living if she were in such a condition.
The Schindlers argue that their daughter never made such a right-to-die declaration and that she would not want to be, in their words, "starved to death."
Schiavo's feeding tube has been removed twice before: for two days in 2001 and six days in 2003.
Differing descriptions of Schiavo
Felos, the attorney for Schiavo's husband, said Michael Schiavo is at his wife's bedside, where he has been since shortly after her feeding tube was removed last Friday.
Felos told CNN that Terri Schiavo appears "peaceful" and "is in her dying process." She is going through what "millions go through during their death process," he said.
Michael Schiavo's brother, Brian, also said his sister-in-law appeared "peaceful."
"She's lying there. Sometimes her mouth is agape," he said. "She's not too different from when I saw her the day before."
Brian Schiavo said she appears "withdrawn," but "she is not in pain."
At least 10 protesters, including three children, were arrested at Schiavo's hospice Friday. They are expected to face trespassing charges.
Meanwhile, FBI agents have arrested a North Carolina man on suspicion of soliciting offers over the internet to kill Michael Schiavo and Greer. Richard Alan Meywes of Fairview is accused of offering $250,000 for the killing of Schiavo and another $50,000 for the "the elimination of the judge who ruled against Terry."
Meywes was arrested without incident at his home around 5 p.m. Friday on charges of solicitation of murder and transmission of a threatening communication via interstate commerce, authorities said.
If convicted, Meywes could face up to 15 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines. He is expected to make an initial court appearance Monday in U.S. District Court in Asheville, North Carolina. (Full story)
Greer has been under 24-hour protection by two U.S. marshals due to increased threats against his life by those unhappy with his handling of the Schiavo case.
On Thursday, police arrested an Illinois man they said robbed a gun store in Seminole, Florida, as part of an attempt to "rescue Terri Schiavo."
Michael W. Mitchell, 20, faces charges of attempted armed robbery, aggravated assault and criminal mischief, said Marianne Pasha, spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
CNN's Ted Barrett, Bob Franken, Joe Johns, Bill Mears and John Zarrella contributed to this report.
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