by Sharon Rondeau
The rally will run from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT. The state house is located on Beacon Hill, first settled in the 1620s by British colonials. Family advocate Rev. Patrick Mahoney is co-host of the event.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts seized custody of Justina when two doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital, one of whom had received his license only seven months before, accused her parents of medical child abuse by means of having sought unnecessary medical treatments. Justina had previously been treated by Tufts Medical Center, which is considered one of the best in the world, and diagnosed with mitochondrial disease. The BCH doctors determined after only a few minutes that Justina’s medical problems were self-induced by somatoform disorder and petitioned the Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) to take custody.
Massachusetts DCF has specifically been accused of using “dirty tricks” to “take children from families and keep them in foster care.” In what appears to be a dated article, PBS reported that “In the 1970s Congress began to examine the toll that foster care was taking on children and their families. Leading scholars criticized the child welfare system for unnecessarily removing children from their homes and leaving them to languish in foster care.3 Hearings on Capitol Hill revealed that federal policy created financial incentives for state child welfare authorities to prefer placing children in foster care over keeping families in tact.4″
After Justina’s father, Lou, defied a judge-imposed gag order several months ago, Justina’s plight became national and international news, focusing on the “child protective” industry, which has been accused by victims in virtually all states of stealing children for profit and other motives.
Justina turned 16 today. On May 5, a family court judge ruled that Justina would be transferred to a facility in her home state of Connecticut but at least 75 minutes from her family’s home in West Hartford, a decision Lou called “unacceptable.”
Liberty Counsel is assisting the Pelletiers with a habeas corpus petition and likely state and federal civil rights lawsuits. LC’s Mat Staver, who has personally provided legal counsel to the family, maintains that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick could act at any time to reunite Justina with her family. On Wednesday, Staver wrote:
“Justina should be returned home for her birthday!
“The Liberty Counsel legal team filed a habeas corpus petition with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court asking for the immediate release of Justina from her unlawful detention.
“The fact is, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and the DCF could take action TODAY and send Justina home by simply informing the court that they agree with the petition.”
Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Mark Fisher has pledged to “Release Justina Pelletior [sic] his first day in office.” Patrick, who is term-limited and also a friend of Obama’s being “touted” as a presidential candidate, told the Rev. Patrick Mahoney that “Whether you believe it or not, the court has jurisdiction, not us.”
Before becoming ill with the flu in February of last year, Justina was participating in competitive figure-skating. She is now confined to a wheelchair, has a receding hairline, and has reportedly been in pain which has gone untreated by Massachusetts DCF. She is currently housed in a psychiatric wing of the JRI Susan Wayne Center for Excellence in Thompson, CT, in the northeast corner of the state.
Justina reportedly now has “more privileges.”
A petition to “free Justina” is here.