Decision delayed in Justina Pelletier case

This afternoon, with the airing of the popular Dr. Phil show, Justina Pelletier’s case gained national attention.

That comes as a small consolation for the anguish endured by the Pelletier family at the hands of Boston Children’s Hospital, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, and judge Joseph Johnston.

Rev. Patrick Mahoney – who heads the Christian Defense Coalition – accompanied the Pelletier family to Los Angeles for the taping of the Dr. Phil show last week. Rev. Mahoney said on his Facebook page that the message was “clear and simple. Parents know what is best for their children better than government agencies or courts!” He had hoped that the show being aired on the day of the latest hearing on the case would have had maximum impact.

By now, the case has been covered by a wide variety of sources, including National Public Radio, Boston Globe, FOX News, People Magazine. The Blaze, as well as the United Kingdom’s The Mail, which carried an extensive interview with Justina’s parents.

In a posting on the Liberty Voice web site, Penny Swift reported on recent efforts at obtaining relief from the legislature:

Jim Lyons and Marc Lombardo both Republican state representatives headed a campaign to persuade the Massachusetts House of Representatives to force the DCF to release Justina from state custody. They had 16 Republican and seven Democrat signatures but reportedly lost the battle on Wednesday when Democrat David Linsky sent the matter to a Rules Committee. He said this was standard procedure and argued that there was, in any case, a court case pending.

“I think my record shows that I am no fan of the current DCF but we all have to respect a pending court case,” Linsky said. “The Legislature can’t step in because that would be a violation of the separation of powers.”

Meanwhile Lombardo said it was time Justina was released from DCF custody “where she is dying.” Instead she should be allowed to “go home to her family in Connecticut.”

The Blaze was among the first to report on the results of today’s court hearing. “A juvenile court judge on Monday afternoon made no ruling in the case of the Connecticut teen at the center of a high-profile custody and medical diagnosis battle. The judge instead said that he would make a ruling by Friday, Mat Staver with Liberty Counsel announced outside of the Boston courthouse Monday afternoon, calling it ‘another kicking of the can.'” wrote Liz Klimas.

“After the latest hearing at the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse, Staver said that Judge Joseph Johnson would be ruling on Justina’s custody by Friday. All options are on the table, including custody going back to her parents as part of a conditional plan, custody being transferred to Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families or custody remaining with Massachusetts DCF.”

The Courant reported that: “The Pelletiers’ attorneys and the Justina’s court-appointed attorney, Nancy Hathaway, agree that she should go home to the Pelletiers, Staver said, but that Massachusetts Department of Children and Families is opposed.”

Staver also said the judge would rule on the family’s request to have him as an official lawyer on the case, which is something that DCF opposes.

As I pen these words, the news is just now trickling out from multiple other media sources. I’ll borrow more from Liz Klimas, who has so far done a wonderful job of covering these events.

“Neither Lou nor Linda Pelletier spoke with the press after the hearing, but their eldest daughter Jessica said ‘we just want our sister home’ and noted that they are still hopeful,” Klimas explained.

I, too, am still hopeful that justice will ultimately prevail for the family. Unfortunately, we’ll all have to wait until Friday to find out.