"Suffering the Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune"

As stated in my previous post, on March 25th the judge ruled in favor of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and granted them custody of Justina, with another hearing to challenge that ruling scheduled in May. In that previous post, I shared the deep concern the family has about Justina’s deteriorating physical condition. The family is fighting for this child’s life, literally, they believe and I believe them.

It is pretty clear that the family will be taking further legal action in the days ahead, but let us take some time and examine Judge Joseph Johnston’s ruling, point by point. You can find a scanned copy of that ruling here. I would encourage you to have that document pulled up while you read and refer to it for the full text of Johnston’s comments. I have tried to copy his words exactly, placing ellipses where I skip wording that is not important to understand the text, at least for the purposes of this post. My thoughts are in the purple text.

Warning: You will encounter snark in this post.


The Ruling of Judge Joseph Johnston in the Case of Justina Pelletier (Part 1)

A) Efforts to Return Justina to Connecticut                                                                                                                      {In Which Connecticut Does Not Play Nice}

1. …It was abundantly clear to this court then, as it is now, that the CT DCF should have immediately accepted this case concerning Justina, a life-long resident of CT…

Something we can all agree on! Off on the right foot!

2. MA DCF filed a report of neglect of Justina by her parents with CT DCF…

Whoa! Hold on a minute! Really? Neglect? On what evidence? Here we have been told all along that the Pelletiers were Medically Abusing Justina – you know, too much involvement as opposed to not enough, ‘over-medicalizing’ her. Making her sick, not ignoring her. So, let me get this straight, you can neglect a child by taking them to the doctor and following his advice? Or by disagreeing with one doctor and agreeing with another? How very odd. 

…6 months after this was filed, the MA DCF represented to this court that the CT DCF decided that it would not be taking any action….

Hmm, wonder why that is? Could it possibly be there is no evidence that persuades CT DCF to see neglect?

3. There were efforts by the MA DCF early in this case to place Justina in a program located approx. 20 minutes from her home in CT… Unfortunately, the CT program declined to accept Justina because Mr. Pelletier told them he would sue if Justina was placed there…Other programs refused to accept Justina due to concerns of litigation by Justina’s parents and the confidentiality of other clients…

Ok, so the parents fought what they perceived as wrong-doing by DCF. And your point is, what exactly? Are your ‘programs’ so poorly managed they cannot handle litigation and have no ability to protect the confidentiality of other ‘clients’? Why would they not take a child who was really in need? This is the Pelletier’s fault exactly how?

4. At trial there was extensive psychiatric and medical testimony. Voluminous psychiatric and medical records were entered in evidence… This court has found that Justina suffers from a persistent and severe Somatic Symptom Disorder.

By extensive testimony, you are referring to the single BCH expert who said Justina has Somatoform Disorder, I assume. The other one (also from BCH) who said she has Conversion Disorder, disagreed with the first expert, but that is apparently of no consequence? So you are basing your decision on two experts who did not even agree on her condition.

At the same time you are utterly discounting the non-BCH psychologist who knows and has treated Justina who said she is a little depressed, understandably, because of her chronic health conditions but does not have Somatic Symptom Disorder. And you totally discounted the non-BCH expert testimony of Dr. Korson who said Justina has Mito and not Somatic Symptom Disorder.

Just wanting to understand the ‘voluminous’ evidence you relied on to come to this very selective ‘conclusion’.

5. …On Dec. 20, 2013, this court appointed a Guardian ad litem for Justina…

Oh, how magnanimous of you. And only 10 months into her confinement by Boston Children’s and DCF.

6. Also on Dec. 20, 2013, this court took the highly unusual step of ordering the MA DCF to furnish copies..from the trial to CT DCF…

Ok, I am starting to get the idea you really want this case off your hands. “Why will CT not take this #$%*&!@!$#@*%# case?” 

7. On Dec. 26, 2013, this court requested directly of the CT DCF… that they investigate the…placement of Justina in the conditional custody of her parents. Two weeks later and 11 months after being notified of Justina’s case, this court was informed by the CT DCF that it recently ‘substantiated the parents for neglect’ of Justina and that return of custody of Justina to her parents was not in her best interest.

This being a serious allegation, it deserves a serious review. No joking here…

First, however, I need to know one thing… If Justina had been in the custody of MA DCF for over 10 months at that point, how could the parents possibly be neglecting her? CT DCF hadn’t investigated up to that point, refusing to get involved so what were they investigating in those 2 weeks? What possible evidence were they basing this conclusion on? 

Mat Staver answered this allegation on the Blaze today, saying that this state agency had previously investigated the Pelletiers and found no form of neglect or abuse, but when it was approached by the Massachusetts DCF, it “reiterat[ed] what DCF Massachusetts was saying.”

In my totally non-legal reading of that statement, I take that to mean CT DCF was saying ‘hey, you guys are the ones saying neglect. You deal with it. Leave us out of it.’ Again, this was CT refusing to get involved.  I could be wrong about that understanding, of course. Bottom line,  I don’t consider the word of ANY DCF to be pure as a the driven snow so this doesn’t hold any water at all for me. Especially since Justina had been out of their custody for going on a year at that point.

8. Based on these determinations by the CT DCF…this court had every expectation that the CT DCF would accept this case and file with the CT court. This court ordered a meeting…the purpose was to work towards returning Justina to CT…with the goal of reunification of Justina with her parents and family.

Ok, sounds reasonable.

9. The CT DCF again declined to take any steps to assume responsibility of Justina’s case and declined to file in the CT court.

a) You really want this case off your desk, doncha, Judge?

b) “Dag nab it, CT, why for all that is good and decent in this world, will you not take this case?!?!?!?” Judge, perhaps, at some point, we should consider that CT didn’t want it because there is, in a phrase you should understand, “no ‘there’ there”?

10. At a hearing on Feb. 4, 2014, all parties agreed that this court contact the judge in CT…. The CT court declined to exercise jurisdiction citing that there is no action pending in CT nor is there one contemplated.

Ok, Judge, I know you are looking at any avenue to rid yourself of this case, but can you not take the hint? CONNECTICUT doesn’t think there is a case and they don’t want it.

Seriously, you could just deal with it yourself, like you were appointed to do and paid to do by the people of Massachusetts. You could tell DCF to cool their jets, order an objective, independent MEDICAL evaluation of Justina by some unbiased experts and DO YOUR JOB! You could ensure there is a fair consideration of the evidence, dismissing evidence gathered from that incestuous conflict of interest in which BCH and DCF kiss each other’s butts and the courts smile fondly at them.

Or, you could just have a big ol’ pity party that Connecticut won’t let you pawn your mess off on them.


 Go to Part 2 {In Which There is Much More Whining By Judge Joseph Johnston}

If people wanted


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