Here you can read Judge Greer’s order explaining why he found “clear and convincing evidence” that Terri Schiavo would want to be starved and dehydrated to death. The finding of “clear and convincing evidence” was based in part on a mistake by the judge.
Greer explains in the order why he rejected testimony from Diane Meyer, who corroborated testimony from Terri’s parents that Terri had said Karen Ann Quinlan should be allowed to live. Greer wrote:
A witness [Meyer] called by Respondents testified to similar conversations with Terri Schiavo but stated that they occurred during the summer of 1982. While that witness appeared believable at the offset [sic], the court noted two quotes from the discussion between she [sic] and Terri Schiavo which raise serious questions about the time frame. Both quotes are in the present tense and upon cross-examination, the witness did not alter them. The first quote involved a bad joke and used the verb “is”. [Patterico notes: the joke in question was: “What is the state vegetable of New Jersey?” Answer: Karen Ann Quinlan.] The second quote involved the response from Terri Schiavo which used the word “are”. The court is mystified as to how those present tense verbs would have been used some six years after the death of Karen Ann Quinlin [sic].
In other words, although this witness originally seemed credible, the judge decided that she was not credible largely because he believed that Karen Ann Quinlan had already died in 1982 — while the witness had Terri Schiavo saying Karen Ann Quinlan was alive. But Karen Ann Quinlan died in 1985, not 1976 as Judge Greer appears to have believed.
Based largely on this mistake in dates, Greer rejected the testimony of Meyer in favor of that of Michael Schiavo, his brother, and his sister-in-law, who apparently testified that Schiavo had said she wouldn’t want to be “hooked to a machine” (is a feeding tube a “machine”?).
It’s hard to admit you’re wrong, and when this was pointed out to Judge Greer five years later, he wrote that it made no difference to his credibility analysis when Quinlan had died. As I read the language quoted above, it made a big difference to him. Greer just didn’t want to admit it.