Apologies, please

Remember all those charges of “abuse” directed at Michael Schiavo? Bogus, says the very same Florida agency that, on Jeb’s orders tried at the last minute to take custody of Terri Schiavo.

Maya Bell of the Orlando Sentinel reports that the charges of abuse directed against Michael Schiavo were investigated and discredited by the very same agency of the Florida executive branch that tried to seize custody of Terri Schiavo at the last minute:

In the four years after Michael Schiavo won the right to remove his wife’s feeding tube, the state’s social welfare agency investigated 89 complaints of abuse but never found that he or anybody else harmed Terri Schiavo, records released late Friday show.

The state Department of Children and Families repeatedly concluded that Michael Schiavo ensured his wife’s physical and medical needs were met, provided proper therapy for her and had no control over her money. They also found no evidence that he beat or strangled her, as his detractors have repeatedly charged.

The 45 pages of confidential abuse reports made public by court order show that despite the litany of complaints, investigators never found that Terri Schiavo had been abused.

So when Jeb Bush demanded that DCF investigate charges of abuse, he must have known that the charges had already been investigated and found to be baseless. I wonder if anyone will have the nerve to challenge him on that? And the formal court filing by DCF in March, demanding still more time to investigate on the basis of a rash of anonymous charges, looks more than a little bit fishy.

I’m listening for the retractions and apoligies due to Michael Schiavo from all the people who tried to make his personal tragedy into a front in the culture wars. How about you, Nat Hentoff? You used to be a reporter. What does a reporter do when he turns out to have misled his readers, and in the process damaged the reputation of an innocent man?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com