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May 10, 2005

Ross and Schiavo ironic parallels

As terrifically covered at The Connecticut Law Blog (CLB), the legal wranglings in the Michael Ross case are perhaps entering a final chapter now that the Connectucut Supreme Court has ruled that Ross is competent to decide to waive his appeals and accept his death sentence.  (This Hartford Courant article reviews all the basics, and CLB has links and a summary of the ruling.)

The latest developments in the Ross case — particularly this news that courts have now turned back efforts by Ross' sister and father to intervene, and this AP story reporting that four doctors have filled a complaint raising "medical and ethical questions surrounding the planned execution" of Ross — spotlights interesting parallels between the Ross case and the Terry Schiavo case.  In both, a lot of "outsiders" (in the form of family members and others) are expending a lot of time and energy to prevent a death that seems sought by the person who is to die (and who would not have such a fantastic life even if kept alive).

To his credit, Norm Pattis at Crime & Federalism, who says in this post the Ross case "has become a farce," has been consistently critical the Ross wranglings and the Schiavo wranglings.  But I wonder if many others who supported or lamented all the legal histrionics the Schiavo case have the same reactions and feelings about the legal histrionics in the Ross case.

May 10, 2005 at 01:54 PM | Permalink


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Since the Ross "farce" is now in it's second tour of duty, having been bisected by the Schaivo situation - I've thought about the parallells between the two last month.

I was all for letting Schaivo get her (according to her husband) wish and I am completely against Ross' execution. Almost everybody has told me that those are incompatible positions.

To me, there are some basic differences In a death penalty case, we are considering the right of the state to execute an individual. In the Schaivo case, we were considering the authority of the state/government to intervene in what is inherently an extremely private matter. I don't want the state executing someone as much as I don't want the state telling a family that they cannot honor the wishes of the dying.

Also, at the time Ross I was just wrapping up - there were some doubts as to the adequacy of that first hearing (Norm might disagree), however, the Florida Courts had litigated the Schaivo matter some 27 times. Therein rose another discrepancy.

Now, however, having had another lengthy competency adjudication and having had all available material reviewed, I think it might be time to lay Michael Ross to rest. I will still be opposed to the death penalty, but I'm afraid Mr. Ross will indeed get his wish.

Posted by: Gideon | May 10, 2005 2:49:25 PM

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