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We’re Taking Justina Pelletier Case to a Higher Court

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(Editor’s note: The Pelletier family was able to get this brief video of Justina Pelletier saying, “I want to go home now.” Click to view JustinaClip)

Because of the focused legal work of the Liberty Counsel legal team, we are praying that Justina Pelletier is a step closer to being free to return to her home and family.

Yesterday, Linda and Lou Pelletier filed a Habeas Corpus pleading with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The Petition is filed to a single Justice of the court. The detailed Petition and Memorandum of Law requests that Justina be released from the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) and be returned to the custody of her parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier.

On March 25, 2014, Suffolk Juvenile Judge Joseph Johnston ruled that the custody of Justina will remain with Massachusetts DCF. Massachusetts DCF has no right to hold Justina captive. This is unacceptable. Justina needs to return home.

The Petition argues that DCF has no authority to hold Justina and that DCF’s actions violate the constitutionally protected rights of parents. Among other things, the Petition also argues that the requirement to issue detailed written findings of fact and conclusions of law justifying DCF’s intervention has never been met. Never has the juvenile court issued such required findings of fact or conclusions of law.

This case comes down to the simple fact that new doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), who had no experience with Justina, came up with a different diagnosis than her expert treating physicians at Tufts Medical Center.

The state cannot take children from their parents when the parents make reasonable choices for their medical care. This case is outrageous.

The psychological experiment of Boston Children’s Hospital, under the sanction of DCF, has miserably failed.

For fourteen months, DCF has refused to provide adequate medical care, refused to allow Justina access to a clergy or communion, and even refused to provide any meaningful education for her.

Justina has gone from a figure-skating competitor to being in a wheelchair. Without any education, she has fallen at least two years behind her classmates. DCF has limited the parents to only one hour per week to visit their daughter, but always with a DCF worker or workers present. DCF has prevented the parents from taking a cell phone in to photograph their daughter.

David vs. Goliath.

Lou Pelletier, Justina’s father, has called this egregious state overreach a case of David vs. Goliath. The idea of a medical facility removing a child from a loving family – a family in which there is no history or evidence of abuse of any kind – is a chilling thought.

They understandably call it a “parent-ectomy.”

Tufts Medical Center, through months of testing and analysis, diagnosed Justina with Mitochondrial Disease, which requires a regimen of medical treatments. The Pelletiers carefully adhered to that regimen for their daughter’s sake.

Boston Children’s Hospital, which had no history in treating Justina, determined in a matter of hours that she suffered from Somatic Symptom Disorder – a psychological disorder in which a person has physical symptoms that involve more than one part of the body, but no physical cause can be readily determined.

In Justina’s case, this is a highly disputed conflict of medical analyses. Yet once the DCH and Massachusetts juvenile court system got involved, the judge clearly sided – I believe incorrectly – with Boston Children’s Hospital’s (BCH) point of view.

But neither diagnosis warrants removing Justina from the care of her parents and home.

Can you imagine any scenario in which you would passively allow your child to be removed from your care when a state agency has erroneously deemed your parenting to be “medically abusive” (whatever that means) – for carefully following your highly qualified doctor’s orders?

If you were in the Pelletiers’ shoes, you would doubtless wage an aggressive legal fight to obtain justice. That’s why we undertook this challenging and important case.

That’s why my legal team has been diligently working on this case.  We believe this is a battle worth fighting on behalf of the Pelletiers and parents nationwide.

(Liberty Counsel does not charge the Pelletiers, or any client, for legal representation. The support of Liberty Counsel’s legal representation comes via financial contributions from supporters. If you’d like to contribute to the Pelletiers’ legal case, Please click here.)

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