High Court Postpones Decision on Wernecke
By Kathryn Garcia Caller-TimesOctober 26, 2005
The Texas Supreme Court postponed a decision on whether to return 13-year-old cancer patient Katie Wernecke to her parents, stating the newly appointed judge first must have an opportunity to examine the case.
The ruling, issued Monday, gave McKinney attorney James Pikl, who is representing Edward and Michele Wernecke, until Nov. 23 to pursue or dismiss an appeal filed Oct. 6. The appeal requests all of Juvenile Judge Carl Lewis' rulings, including her removal from her parents, be reversed because the Werneckes never were found to be medically negligent.
Pikl appealed to the state Supreme Court after the 13th Court of Appeals denied his petition and stated that the Werneckes were found to be medically neglectful when they refused to treat Katie's cancer with the prescribed radiation treatment. Katie's parents have said they are fearful of the treatment's side effects.
Judge Jack Hunter was assigned last week to Katie's case after Lewis stepped aside Oct. 13. Pikl said he might not move forward with the appeal depending on Hunter's decisions. "Depending on what he does, I might have nothing to appeal," Pikl said.
Katie is undergoing chemotherapy at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for her Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes. Following the treatment, Katie will accompany her parents to Kansas to receive alternative intravenous vitamin C treatments.
Assistant County Attorney Tom Stuckey requested at a hearing last week that Edward Wernecke be prohibited from accompanying his daughter and that a state caseworker supervise the trip. He also asked Hunter to order a bond to give the Werneckes an incentive to return.
Hunter will make a decision on Stuckey's requests at a hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Friday.
An Oct. 7 order issued by the Texas Supreme Court ruled in the Werneckes' favor, reversing a Sept 20 order issued by Lewis barring all communication between Katie and Edward Wernecke.
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