April 5, 2004

(Clearwater, FL) – The American Center for Law and Justice, specializing in constitutional law, today filed a Notice of Appeal stating that it will appeal to the Second District Court of Appeal a March 11th decision denying a motion to intervene on behalf of Robert and Mary Schindler – the parents of Terri Schindler Schiavo – to permit the parents to become directly involved in defending “Terri’s Law” – legislation that cleared the way for Florida Governor Jeb Bush to restore life-saving measures to Terri Schindler Schiavo.

“We will once again appeal a legally flawed decision that excludes the parents of Terri Schindler Schiavo from direct involvement in defending a law that is keeping their daughter alive,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, which represents the Schindlers in the state case. “The appeals court has overturned the circuit court judge on this very issue before and we are hopeful that the appeals court will reach that conclusion once again. Terri’s parents have sound legal reasons for intervening directly in this case and we are now preparing briefs to be filed with the appeals court on this critical issue.”

On March 4th, the ACLJ filed a renewed motion in Florida court on behalf of the Schindlers asking the court to abide by the February 13th findings of the 2nd District Court of Appeal, which concluded Pinellas Circuit Court Judge W. Douglas Baird did not follow judicial rules when he denied an ACLJ motion to intervene on behalf of the Schindlers in November 2003. The appeals court ruled that Judge Baird’s order be reversed and sent the case back to him “for further proceedings.” On March 11th – seven days after the renewed motion was filed – Judge Baird once again denied the motion to intervene.

The ACLJ contends that the Schindlers must be permitted to intervene in the case – to take a direct and active role in defending “Terri’s Law” – a law that is at the center of keeping their daughter alive. Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo, wants Terri’s feeding and hydration tubes removed. He filed suit challenging the constitutionality of “Terri’s Law” and has the support of the ACLU.

The ACLJ is representing the Schindlers in Schiavo v. Bush – the legal challenge to the constitutionality of the actions of the Governor and state legislature. Patricia Fields Anderson, an attorney in St. Petersburg, serves as ACLJ local counsel in Schiavo v. Bush and represents Terri’s parents in all other aspects of the Schiavo case.

The American Center for Law and Justice specializes in constitutional law and the protection of human life. Based in Washington, D.C., the ACLJ web site address is www.aclj.org. First published here.

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