Sunday, March 20, 2005
The Hangin' Judge
Want to know more about the judge in the Terri Schiavo case. Then read this story.
A balding man whose voice has no trace of his native Brooklyn, he travels to unwind and jogs to stay fit. He has run two marathons, though the last was 20 years ago. Friends say his eyesight is awful. It's so bad, in fact, that he doesn't drive.
And Greer, vilified by many religious protesters, is a church regular. He also is a conservative Republican in a state whose conservative Republican governor tried to overturn one of Greer's orders.
"George is the religious right," said lawyer David Kurland, a longtime friend.
Friends say Greer's intellect is perfectly formed to withstand the very tempest he now faces. Always calm, not prone to mood swings or flares of temper, unerringly polite, he is not easily ruffled, they say.
But the criticisms sting, friends say. His relationship with his church, for example, has changed.
Former roommate of the Doors' Jim Morrison, too.
Greer said he is sometimes baffled by the more hateful criticism. He said his faith has not been shaken.
"What's so exasperating is that my faith is based on forgiveness because that's what God did," Greer said. "When I see people in my faith being extremely judgmental, it's very disconcerting."
But he follows the law, he said. "There are no Ten Commandments out there," he said, pointing to his outer office.
"My oath is to follow the law, and if I can't follow the law, I need to step down," he said.
Critics who condemn him in the religious press, he said, "have nothing to do with my relationship with God. They can't affect it."
He followed the law once before and a woman died because of it, too, at the hands of her estranged husband.
One of the lowest points in Greer's career as a judge came in 1998, when he denied an injunction for a wife seeking protection from her husband. He note d that the woman had not liste d any acts of violence by the man.
Days later, the husband stabbed her to death.
Greer said he followed the law, and the woman's co-workers protested outside the courthouse.
"As a judge, there's always the fear that you're going to miss something and somebody is going to get hurt," Greer said. "It happens in all cases. When you make those kind of decisions, there's very little you can do to be 100 percent certain because you never have 100 percent of the facts."
Makes you feel sorry for him, doesn't it?
You do have to wonder about people who feel good at their job or continue to work in a field when they have been responsible for the death of innocent people. You expect that doctors or nurses might make mistakes, but when judges let monsters loose or fail to regard testimony of threats as serious, shouldn't there be some consequences?
And yet, the fellow was re-elected. (Of course, no one pays attention to judicial elections very often.)
The fact is, though, that this judge has willfully disregarded facts, medical evidence, and eyewitness testimony about Terri's condition. He has denied Terri herself the chance to silently testify to her own condition.
It is not God or the law he is following. It is his own willful intransigence and arrogance that informs him.
posted by Mark Butterworth |