Thursday, February 17, 2005

In other words

I find myself too upset to speak my own words today for Terri's plight, so I will quote someone else's: Ken Connor's letter to the Florida Sun-Sentinel (quoted on Terri's Fight Headlines page).

Ken Connor

attorney Tampa

Posted February 1 2005


Accused capital felons in Florida are entitled to independent counsel; competent representation; a jury trial; and upon conviction, an automatic review of their death penalty by the Florida Supreme Court.

Terri Schiavo has never received any of these protections. She has not had the benefit of independent counsel and, indeed, when the decision authorizing her starvation was made, she didn't even have the benefit of a guardian ad litem. Terri never received the benefit of a jury trial, and the Supreme Court refused to review the order authorizing the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration.

Like it or not, convicted murderers Ted Bundy and Danny Rolling received more due-process protections than Terri Schiavo, a person utterly innocent of any wrong-doing. And if Bundy or Rolling had been sentenced to death by starvation and dehydration, their sentences would most assuredly have been set aside as violative of the Constitution's prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.

Terri Schiavo is, admittedly, profoundly handicapped. However, she is still a person entitled to be treated with human dignity and worthy of the full protection of the law. The sad reality, however, is that the Florida courts, in refusing to accord greater due-process protection to Terri Schiavo, have treated her as less than a whole person.

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