Questions about Schiavo timeline


A second open letter to Ms. Kathy Cerminara and Kenneth Goodman or to anyone who can provide reliable information on Mr. Schiavo:

Dear Ms. Cerminara and Mr. Goodman or to whom it may concern:

Cordial greetings.

On March 24, 2005, I presented a timeline that indicated that Mr. Schiavo behaved well before the malpractice suit, but after he was awarded the money, his behavior seemed to change. I also said that if a representative of Mr. Schiavo knew of a better timeline, he or she should provide one.

A reader of American Thinker led us to your timeline, published under the name of the University of Miami, which was filled with links to legal papers and court documents.  You wrote that on February 14, 1993, the Schindlers wanted the settlement money 'for themselves,' but I see now that you changed the wording to be more objective. This is positive, because you did not link to any court papers on that date that would indicate that the Schindlers wanted to keep the money 'for themselves.'

However, I did not write an open letter to you as a means for you to make corrections. Rather, I and many readers of American Thinker need some information, which I enumerated.

Here is a new list of questions and queries:

(1) On November 1992, you say that a trust fund was set up to take care of Terri. This is good. However, since this case has become a major public issue, Mr. Schiavo or the trustee of the fund owes the public a full accounting of every receipt and 'paid in full' documents from all the hospitals and rehab and therapy centers, along with every withdrawal from the fund. Then we can tally up the expenditures and every dime that has gone out of the fund. Is it true that the documents have been sealed under a court order? Do you know of a link that would clarify that matter?

(2) Why does Mr. Schiavo (or the trustee) need to provide them? Because Mr. Schiavo is living with another woman and refuses to divorce his wife, for some unknown reason. The odd claims bandied about in the chattering classes in the media that Mr. Schiavo ought to be her guardian, thereby preserving the sanctity of marriage is wrong—he is living in a perpetual state of adultery, so any 'sanctity' is negated. He should not even be in the picture, though Florida law takes no notice of his ongoing adultery.

(3) And as for Terri's 'wish' that she would not want to live in this condition, Mr. Schiavo should provide any documents demonstrating this. If they do not exist, then his words are mere hearsay, and his words and Terri's brother's words and her parents words cancel each other out. In that case, it is better to err on the side of life. What does the law say about conflicting hearsay evidence? What does the law say about giving the benefit of such strong doubts to death row murderers? Do you have any insight as to why we do not extend this benefit to Terri?

(4) Finally, you have many links to legal papers in your timeline, but none to the terms of the trust fund. After Terri dies, I assume the money goes back to the court for a review. After that, what happens to the money? If you do not have the terms of the fund in front of you, then according to your best lawyerly guess, where will the money go? To the entire family? To a charity? To Mr. Schiavo, the legal guardian?

Thank you for your prompt reply. I know that as professors, you value an exchange of ideas and teaching.

I and the many readers of American Thinker need clarity on these matters, and since you are so knowledgeable about this case, maybe you can help us.


James M. Arlandson