Massachusetts judge awards custody of Justina Pelletier to the state

Massachusetts judge awards custody of Justina Pelletier to the state

A lawyer supporting the family of Justina Pelletier hit back at the reasoning presented in a leaked court ruling by a Boston judge who on Tuesday awarded permanent custody of the Connecticut teen to the Massachusetts agency that has had temporary custody for more than a year after her parents disagreed over a hospital’s medical diagnosis.

The document signed by Suffolk County Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Johnston, who for months has presided over several hearings regarding the Pelletier case, explains his reason for changing the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families’ temporary custody of Justina to permanent custody Tuesday.

Citing evidence presented by the Massachusetts DCF, Connecticut DCF and a guardian ad litem, who conducted an investigation on what was in Justina’s best interest, Johnston wrote “the placement of Justina in conditional custody of her parents is not in her best interest at this time. Therefore, I grant MA DCF custody of Justina.”

The 15-year-old was removed from her parents’ custody in February 2013 following accusations of medical child abuse. Lou and Linda Pelletier  had been treating Justina for mitochondrial disease, but when they brought her to Boston Children’s Hospital with the flu, doctors there said she had somatoform disorder, a psychiatric disorder, instead. The commonwealth stepped in when the hospital raised concerns after the Pelletiers disagreed with the new treatment plan, which would shift to treatment for somatoform. Lou and Linda Pelletier have been fighting to regain custody ever since, appearing in court many times and arguing that they had been treating their daughter for mitochondrial disease at the direction of a doctor. …

Johnston also included that he thinks Lou and Linda Pelletier should be “psychologically and clinically evaluated,” noting that it must be coordinated through Connecticut’s DCF.

Pelletier family spokesman Rev. Patrick Mahoney told TheBlaze Tuesday evening that he thinks the case “clearly appears to be the strong-arming of the Pelletiers who refuse to go along with Boston Children’s and what DCF has ordered. They are being punished and they are the canary in the coal mine.

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