Judge Postpones Decision Again in Justina Pelletier’s Parents’ Custody Request

National   Steven Ertelt   Mar 21, 2014   |   4:53PM    Washington, DC

Earlier this week a judge made the parents of Justina Pelletier wait until Friday for an answer in their lawsuit as they attempt to regain custody of their daughter. Now they’re going to have to wait until next Tuesday.

Justina’s parents and their pro-life attorneys appeared in court today along with DCF officials. Officials with Liberty Counsel, the pro-life law firm assisting the Pelletiers, informed LifeNews of the additional delay.

justinapelletier6“Today, Judge Joseph Johnston postponed the ruling on the custody of Justina Pelletier, who has been held by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families for 14 months. The judge will issue a ruling on Tuesday,” the group said. “After 14 months of separation and torment, we need to get Justina home as soon as possible. It is where she wants to be. It is where she belongs.”

“In all my years in practice, I have never seen a more barbaric overreach by a state agency,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Please pray that Judge Johnston returns Justina to her family that loves her.”

“After 14 months of separation and torment, we need to get Justina home as soon as possible,” he told LifeNews.

“It is where she wants to be. It is where she belongs.”

Fourteen months ago, Justina, now fifteen years old, was legally kidnapped by Massachusetts DCF after her parents took her to Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) to see Dr. Flores, a physician who had treated Justina before at Tufts Medical Center for gastrointestinal problems.

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

In January of 2013, before she was admitted to the ER at BCH, Justina was involved in ice-skating competitions and was in a private school under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for a learning disability. Now, she is weak and in a wheelchair. Without any education, she has fallen at least two years behind her classmates. DCF has allowed the parents 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 to photograph their daughter. Last month, DCF even filed a motion to hold Lou Pelletier in contempt of court for speaking to the national media.

Pelletier, the teen at the center of a legal battle between the Pelletier family and Boston Children’s Hospital over custody and proper medical treatment, spoke out publicly about her ordeal for the first time last week. Lou and Linda Pelletier from West Hartford, Conn., appeared in court several times, fighting for a resolution to regain custody and medical care of their 15-year-old daughter.

The case is drawing national attention, as Boston Children’s Hospital filed a “medical child abuse” complaint against Justina’s parents last year, leading the state to take custody of her and hospitalize her for almost a year.

A judge had previously sentenced the Connecticut teenager, who has been caught in a yearlong custody fight between her parents and Massachusetts child protection officials, to a new foster care program in Massachusetts. The ruling triggered an anguished response from her parents when it was announced by a juvenile court judge and pro-life advocates were also up in arms.

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Pelletier has only been allowed one, one hour supervised visit per week with her mom and dad and they have not been permitted to take photographs of their daughter. But, following new legal pressure asserted by Liberty Counsel and intense media scrutiny, DCF permitted the most recent visitation to be unsupervised. Rev. Pat Mahoney, a nationally known pro-life activist, accompanied Lou and Linda Pelletier to visit Justina.

Justina is now speaking out and her words are being heard. Justina told her parents and Rev. Mahoney, “I feel like a prisoner.”

She also asked, “Why can’t I go home with my parents?”