Many citizens Decry Weaknesses in Florida’s “Terri’s Law;” Lakeland Resident Tries Untested Legal Approaches re Terri Schiavo in Florida Supreme Court to Seek Compromise.

Share Article

Many citizens demand enforcement of State and Federal laws regarding abuse of both the elderly and disabled. They are speaking out against bias or lack of coverage in the press. 23 Outraged citizens give statements and sign with full contact information to validate it's not a mere "online petition" re Terri Schiavo case.

While many parties fight over the hastily-passed “Terri’s Law” in Florida’s Supreme Court, the only court filings in recent months to offer any protection to the person of “Terri Schiavo” are being filed by Terri’s family’s attorney, Pat Anderson, and Lakeland resident, Gordon Watts; Even were Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, to win his court case, a clause in “Terri’s Law” gives any future governor the right to remove Theresa Schiavo’s feeding tube. Further, this law “expired” 15 days after passage, which results in the governor’s inability to issue any “stay” in the future to any other citizen, as was done with Schiavo.

Biologist, Gordon Watts, A.S., B.S., editor of the online publication “The Register,” has filed a request in Florida’s Supreme Court, seeking acceptance of a brief, in support of Michael Schiavo’s petition to avoid implementation of public law 03-418, the disputed “Terri’s Law.” Watts, who previously supported the hastily-enacted law, has made a reversal in his position due to the law’s ineffectiveness to protect, as well as the fact the dispute over “Terri’s Law” has detracted much-needed focus from actual abuses. The 3 Watts briefs are posted at The Register website and posted online at the Florida Supreme Court:

Many other citizens who support Watts’ efforts, have spoken out against the shortcomings of “Terri’s Law,” and have consented to providing statements with full contact data, in response to claims that Watts was alone in his complaints. (Excerpts)

1) “Terri's Law diverts public attention away from the crimes Michael Schiavo…” Lisa Ruby, Webmaster 224 Reservoir St. North Attleboro, MA 02760 (508) 643-3285

2) “While many people are glad that Governor Bush has brought needed attention to the problems surrounding felony abuse of Terri Schiavo many, Floridians and Americans, myself included, have now come to the conclusion that the fight over 'Terri's Law', had created a distraction, diverting much needed focus to enforce the many felony abuse laws in Florida, and to protect the vulnerable victims…” Doug Guillory, Hc 1 Box 490 Gainesville, MO 65655

3) “…Theresa (an innocent disabled)…was not afforded and it was not demanded that she be afforded her retained rights to rehabilitation and therapy…While not against 'Terri's Law' per se, I am of the opinion that the Florida Legislature and the Florida Governor did not do enough…” Juan V. Schoch, Computer Field Engineer 630 Tomlinson Terrace Lake Mary, FL 32746 (407) 925-4141 (Juan’s Press Release)

4 and 5) “…Judge Greer has limited medical knowledge. He ought to follow Florida Statutes, and stop legislating and practicing medicine from the bench…” (Joint statement) Joanne Kane, RN, Registered Nurse Karen Ward, RN, Registered Nurse 459 Golfview Drive Naples, FL 34110 (239) 566-1573

6) “Terri's Law wasn't necessary. Existing laws are in place…” Sheila Fogarty 506 E. Douglas St. Elkhorn, Nebraska 68022 (402) 289-9662

7) “Just because he is a 'judge' does not make him right…” Sylvia Scott 6560-82nd Ave. N. Pinellas Park, Fl 33781

8) “As a citizen of The United States of America and a nurse, with over twenty-three years of experience, I have closely followed the Terri Schiavo case has been denied antibiotics several times for what could have been life threatening for someone in a debilitated state of health. She has been denied socialization and contact with others, including her own family…” Donna J. Blosser, RN, Registered Nurse 1617 King St. South Charleston, West Virginia 25303 (304) 543-0481

9) “Whether or not Terri's Law is followed is immaterial; Terri Schindler-Schiavo is being abused because she is not getting rehabilitation. I had a severe brain stem injury in 75 and have since graduated from grade school, high school, and college. I have a BA in journalism, French, and English and a liberal arts degree. I had good rehabilitation therapy. If we do not protect Terri, who is next?” Catherine Elaine Critz, BA, Traumatic Brain Injury survivor 122 Avalon Creve Coeur, Illinois 61610-4013 (309) 698-9451

10) “'The Governor may revoke the stay upon a finding that a change in the condition of the patient warrants revocation.' (Selection from Terri's Law)…'Terri's Law' diverts attention away from the crimes Michael Schiavo, a neglectful…husband…” Dr. Dee Rohe, Acupuncture Physician, Hon. Dr. of Div. 10170 S.W. 199th St. Miami, FL 33157-8625 (305) 232-6182 ; (305) 238-5298

11) “…Terri is kept as a caged animal…” Janet Goulet, Journal Webmaster Middleburg, Florida

12) “…I want to say that never in this country do we starve and dehydrate people to death. That is a long, painful process and absolutely barbaric. We don’t do it to murderers; we don’t do it to POW's: Why would we do it to disabled people?” Angie Harsh, Child Therapist Hagerstown, MD (301) 790-0241

13) “…I have been very concerned about this case for several reasons, first, because I am a nurse, and am all too familiar with Futile Care Policy, which seems to be sweeping our nation…With the high misdiagnosis rate for PVS, of 43%, I would think would be mandated by the court…” Julia K. Endsley, RN, Registered Nurse 4253 Hwy. 64 W. #11 Henderson, TX 75652 or alternatively: or

14) “My interest in this case is to support a patient's right to seek and receive life preserving and life improving treatment. Physicians commonly take the oath of Hippocrates in the process of receiving their medical degree. That oath promises to save life and promote health…” Dr. Russ Hills, Ph.D., Author, "THE PRO$PERITY CULT" 145 Gregory Ln. S.E. Salem, Oregon 97302-5006

15) “... abuse of this disabled woman, with the permission of Law Enforcement, Political leaders, and Nursing Home and Healthcare Officials is criminal…” Devorah Hoger, Psychology researcher, Author, “Mark of the Beast” © Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19148 (215) 708-2287

16) “#1 Terri’s Law is not strong enough to save Terri Schiavo, and #2, no one can participate in what under these circumstances would constitute a judicial homicide, and at the same time retain a claim to property, liberty, or life…” Robert J. More, Truck Driver 2008 South Blue Island Chicago, IL 60608 (312) 455-8385

17) “…As a Texas nurse, I feel that, while Governor John Ellis "Jeb" Bush did a great thing in getting 'Terri's Law' passed, this is insufficient. Giving the governor the power to revoke the stay in case of change of condition is equal to granting him permission to 1) practice medicine & 2) be an accomplice to murder. 'Terri's Law' also diverts attention away from the crimes committed against Terri Schindler Schiavo including abuse, neglect, & malpractice.” Vanessa J. Webb, LVN, Licensed Vocational Nurse 180 Van Zant County Road 2117 Canton, TX 75103 (903) 848-9322

18) “… left no written instructions that she would want to be starved to death…Thomas Jefferson said 'The care of human life and not its destruction is the first and only object of good government'.” Joyce Buskirk 25391 BeJoal St. Barstow, CA 92311-3411 (760) 253-2297

19) “I…have followed this case and extensively researched everything I can find regarding Terri Schindler-Schiavo for over a year…not that I am saying I believe is unconstitutional. I just do not believe that ignoring existing state and federal laws which would protect Terri, if they were upheld, -while passing Terri's Law at the last minute -was the best measure to take…At least five (5) expert attorneys wrote letters to Governor Bush emphatically informing him that he already had the power to stop Terri's dehydration and starvation and to begin an investigation into the alleged abuses of this vulnerable, disabled adult. Governor Bush chose to totally ignore and disregard everything about which they had advised him...” Melissa Roxanne Stanley, Online Researcher 925 Hunters Creek Dr. # 202 DeLand, FL 32720 (386) 734-7049 (Yahoo Group: Save Terri's Life; Owner: Melissa Stanley)

20) “I feel that Terrie's Law takes away power from other laws that might be better used in situations like the one that she in presently in. I hope that you will reconsider the use of this law, and use some of the other felony statutes that apply…” Virgil Fritz, Biologist 10848 Taylor May Rd. Mantua, Ohio, 44255-9516 Home Phone, (440) 543-6531 ; Cell Phone, (440) 289 0801

21) “When there are laws that protect disabled people, and a disabled person, such as Terri Schiavo, is a victim of abuse, the right thing to simply do would be to follow the laws, no matter what a judge says. If a law says it, there shouldn’t even have to be a judge.” Robert F. Watts, Owner, “Bobby Watts Speed Shop” 833 North Lake Parker Avenue Lakeland, FL 33801-2044 (863) 686-3411 ; (863) 687-6141

22) “When considering what to do with a disabled woman like Terri Schiavo, people should ask themselves how they or their loved ones would want to be treated. Even if some disabled person would be better off dead, I don’t think anyone would want their method of being killed to be slowly starved or dehydrated over a prolonged period.” Anne M. Watts, Supermarket Cashier 2046 Pleasant Acres Drive Plant City, FL 33566-7511 (813) 754-7889 (home) ; (813) 789-1654 (cell)

Biologist and Chemist, Gordon W. Watts, who is filing suit in the state’s Supreme Court, weighs in:

23) “When I first heard about the planned starvation, a ‘purported’ assisted suicide of disabled Clearwater resident, Theresa Schiavo, I couldn’t believe they’d allow that, after all the hoopla over “Dr. Death,” Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s recent failed attempts. As well, we all recall how Clearwater, Fla. Rock band, “Hell on Earth” also attempted a “staged suicide,” –and, like Kevorkian, promptly got run out on a rail by the local police, the state’s attorney general, and others –and stopped in their tracks cold. Of course, citizens routinely are charged with very serious crimes, be it wardens letting a suicidal criminal starve himself, or the occasional horror stories we hear about how someone starved their granny or crippled brother. And, everyone knows better than to starve a dog or you’ll be facing big jail time! So, I was stunned into silence when I heard that city police were not only allowing this, but also enforcing it: When I inquired about this, the local police "guarding" the facility told me that, were she to moan for water, and I give her a little (should I have visited her), I’d promptly get arrested, jailed, and charged. This, they said, was to protect her from choking to death, as I recall.

Besides being illogical (deprivation of water for a few days is usually fatal, so what harm would there be in trying?), this was also illegal, a crime under chapter 825.102(3) of state law, which makes it a felony to deprive the elderly or disabled of food or needed medical care, including, I would guess, water. They said there was a ‘court order’ or something. So, I did a little research, and discovered the court order only dealt with a feeding tube, not standard food or water, and, even if it had, we all know that a judge can’t order something illegal –or else a judge could simply say ‘Yeah, you all can rob a bank and shoot up some people’. So, naïvely, like Forest Gump, I simply asked the authorities (police and then courts) to comply with the law. What I discovered is that the courts routinely deny the ‘little person’, even if he is right, unless he/she get clout from the likes of big news media –and the news media doesn’t expose corruption in the court and give coverage –unless either I’m a “rich and powerful” celebrity –or, if I “win big” in court. (So, the little guy is in ‘catch-22’, so to speak.) This is not right, and I speak out against bias in the news media:

When I jumped in to save the “drowning” Theresa Schiavo after authorities followed the example of other oppressive countries’ “state police,” I did not expect the "bystanders" in the press to make fun of me, but that is just what they did. Normally, if the lifeguard is going under and needing help, as is here (I barely have time to look for a job, much less work one, and court fees are piling up), you expect the bystanders to call 911 (the functional equivalent of doing news coverage), or jumping in and helping the rescue attempt (the functional equivalent of helping my court petitions). The news media is biased: The Tampa Tribune is probably best local paper and has published a letter of mine, but is racially biased: (#1) After I saw an excellent story on a Black couple who were denied entry into a hotel based presumably on race (“Travelers Say Motel Lied About Being Full” By JOSHUA B. GOOD,; Oct 17, 2002 - Tampa Tribune), I recalled that I had encountered similar treatment –except that I had documentation of the police actually admitting that my race (Native American) wasn’t welcome because of offensive "attire" (a small feather), and I had even gone to court, but the Tribune refused to do news coverage, even after I spoke to news managers and Gil Thelen, their publisher. My skin was the wrong color: The Tribune was prejudiced. (#2) Also, Florida routinely has elections problems, and I saw some stories to that effect: Tampa Tribune, Nov. 09, 2002:“Ambler Still Faces Election Challenge” ... Tampa Tribune, Oct. 25, 2002: “Suit Tries To Oust GOP Candidate" WFTS-TV-Channel 28 also did a story. While these voters did not get far with their suit and gave up, they were covered in the local press. However, my case went further: all the way to the Fla. Supreme Ct., yet it got less coverage: Local media was prejudiced against the “small” people. Then, (#3) I asked local media for news coverage, and Rick Barry of the Tribune said I would have to win big in court for Terri Schiavo before I got any help from the media. They were prejudiced again against little people, as others get news attention for doing nothing but talking about the case: (#4) George Tragos, the “Manual Noriega” criminal defense attorney got on FOX News for merely talking about the Schiavo case (but not actually doing anything it, like filing court papers). However, I actually took action, yet got ignored by press. The Tribune is talented and well-equipped, so it has no reason to yell at me when I call on the phone to give a news tip about, say, a pending Supreme Court case. (#5) The most pressing case of media bias has been the constant hum that Governor Bush was "empowered" by 'Terri's Law' to act, when, in fact, this is a misstatement -and constitutes clear media bias: The laws in place already enable, if not mandate, the authorities to act.

(#6) Although not a major point, the AP also has gotten it wrong, as Attorney Matt Conigliaro of the Carlton Fields law firm points out:

"You may recall from this earlier post that I've questioned the accuracy of a line found in recent AP stories on the Schiavo case...I thought the news service goofed in reporting that the Second District granted a motion by Michael Schiavo's attorneys to send the case to the Florida Supreme Court...I am happy to say I was correct...I have finally seen a copy of that order -- it is attached at the end of this document -- and it clearly shows that the court raised the issue, not Michael Schiavo. If only the AP read this blog..." (Thursday, June 10, 2004 entry)


While exposing press bias, prejudice, inaccuracies, or "news blackouts" may not go over well with the news media, and such a press release is a little long, it is justified because so many persons contributed quotes (at my request) to speak out about lack of enforcement of the many state and federal laws -and because and the truth must be told about press bias –or blackout, as it were: We Americans are under a censor of press, by catch-22: No justice in court without media pressure; and, no press coverage without that elusive “big win” in court. Will the “little man” ever get a fair shake anywhere in contemporary America? The answer is “yes” if this news release goes out and exposes the truth.

Our fine State and Federal Laws are veritable promises made to the people to uphold certain guidelines and standards, but have become 'broken' promises! Because of this, citizens will not be afforded the protections necessary to maintain our freedoms and liberties, most prominent of which is life itself, a gift we can not give ourselves, and which is resultantly precious, and you might be the next victim of this type:

“Marjorie Nighbert signed an “advance directive” before she was hospitalized for a stroke in 1996. This document stated that she desired no “heroic measures.” Based on this, her family requested that her feeding tube be removed. When Ms. Nighbert begged for food, the courts deemed her 'not medically competent to ask for such a treatment,' and the hospital physically restrained her in bed so that she could not pilfer food from other patients. She died ten days later.” Source:

This reminds me of the incident up in New York a few years back, as reported by Newsday:

Kitty Genovese, a local bartender, was stalked and fatally attacked on her way home from work, and when she cried for help, at least thirty-eight (38) neighbors stood by and did nothing, and did not even call the police. The attack, which took roughly thirty-five minutes, went unchallenged, except by one man, who yelled "Leave that girl alone" before turning in. The nation was shocked at this: Why wouldn't anyone step in and help her, or even lift a finger to call the police?! Genovese died hours after the stabbing because bystanders refused to summon help. The March 13, 1964 attack of Catherine Genovese, 28, who had been returning from her job as manager of a bar in Hollis, New York, made national headlines and shocked the nation.

Psychologists, dubbing this the "bystander effect" or "Genovese effect," explained that, in large groups (such as many news media outlets considering covering my efforts), everyone thought that "everyone else" was going to help -and no one did anything. (Will the news media, likewise, allow me to go down for the count, without so much as a peep?) Marjorie Nighbert and Katherine Genovese are good reminders of our failures -and the dangers that await us, should we not learn from history.

Therefore, I want a fair day in court –which may only be possible if I get a fair day in the court of public opinion: It can’t hurt the press to at least try. Please see below for links to the unedited version of the quotes of the concerned citizens above –edited for length and grammar here.”

Gordon Wayne Watts, A.S., B.S., Online Editor 821 Alicia Road Lakeland, FL 33801-2113 (863) 688 9880 ; Electronic Technologist, Biologist, Chemist, Online Editor, and civil rights activist; A.S., United Electronics Institute, class of 1988, Electronics Technology (UEI now DBA Florida Metropolitan University, 3924 Coconut Palm Dr. Tampa) B.S., The Florida State University, class of 2000, Biological and Chemical Science, double major, Honors: Golden Key Nat. Hon. Society

Note: This Press Release contained quotes of individuals, which, in many cases, were edited/shortened for length; The complete quotes -along with additional contact info on these citizens -and the text (with sources) for "Terri's Law" is provided at the following links:


All rights reserved © The Register

Previous release:

Untested Legal Approaches:

Related releases of others:

Imbalanced reporting on Schiavo:

Florida Pinellas Pasco Judicial Race:

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website