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State bid to grab Schiavo foiled by local police - paper

[JURIST] The Miami Herald reported Saturday that state agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement [official website] were actually en route to Terri Schiavo's hospice Thursday to take custody of her and transfer her to a facility where her feeding tube might be reconnected, but turned back after local Pinellas County police [official website] insisted that they would enforce a Florida state judge's order that she not be moved. Sources told the Herald that the agents did not want to get into what would have been a public showdown of two police forces outside the hospice building. State officials, however, denied that they directed any action and a Bush spokesman said state agents were merely following the law and the judge's order. The sequence of events, which the Herald said was confirmed by three different sources, began early Thursday morning after the Florida Department of Children and Families filed an appeal against an injunction issued Wednesday evening to prevent it from taking Terri Schiavo into protective custody [JURIST report]. This created an automatic stay of the order {JURIST report] pending a hearing of the appeal, scheduled for after 11 Thursday morning, although that does not seem to have been immediately realized by state authorities. When state officials eventually seized their opportunity, they ran into local police resistence and a renewed injunction after 11:15. The avoidance of a standoff between state and local officers averted a profound constitutional crisis setting executive and judicial powers directly against each other. The Miami Herald has more [registration required]. Knight Ridder provides additional coverage.

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