Justina Pelletier is coming home.
A Massachusetts judge ordered the 16-year-old Connecticut girl, who was taken from her family by child welfare advocates more than a year ago, to be returned to her mother and father effective Wednesday. The ruling caps a long-running medical custody dispute that began when two highly-respected Boston hospitals clashed over the girl’s diagnosis. The case sparked national outrage, and led Lou and Linda Pelletier, of West Hartford, Conn., to wage a bitter legal battle.
“To hear the news is overwhelming,” Lou Pelletier told FoxNews.com moments after learning of the ruling. “Now we can certainly begin the healing process.”
The case began when the girl’s parents disagreed with a psychiatric diagnosis given by Boston Children’s Hospital and said they wanted their daughter returned to her original physician at Tufts Medical Center, who had previously treated Justina for mitochondrial disease, a group of rare genetic disorders affecting cellular energy production. The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families moved in, claiming Justina was the victim of “medical child abuse.”
Mat Staver, of the Liberty Counsel, which battled the Bay State bureaucracy on behalf of the Pelletiers, said the ruling handed down by Massachusetts juvenile court Judge Joseph Johnston was well-deserved.
“We are thrilled that Justina will finally be returning home,” Staver said in a statement. “The family looks forward to putting this 16-month nightmare behind them. Justina and her family now begins the process of healing both physically, emotionally, and spiritually.”
In May, Justina was moved from Massachusetts to a facility in Thompson, Conn., allowing her parents to visit with their daughter, but doing little to dampen their determination to win her back for good. In a 45-second, videotaped plea, first posted on a Facebook support page last week, Justina is seen sitting in a chair and pleading plaintively with Johnston.
“All I really want is to be with my family and friends,” the girl says, her voice faltering at times. “You can do it. You’re the one that’s judging this. Please let me go home.”
The judge granted the girl’s wish, after the Massachusetts DCF filed a motion agreeing that the teenager should be returned to her family. Alec Loftus, a spokesman for Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz, confirmed to FoxNews.com last week that the agency was no longer planning to fight the case.
The emotional toll on Justina and her family is one that cannot be measured, Staver said. She has missed out on two years of education, Staver said, and went from becoming a competitive figure skater to being confined in a wheelchair.
Lou Pelletier said he knows his daughter will need time and love from her family to overcome her ordeal.
“She’s coming home tomorrow,” he said. “I think she will want to get adjusted.
“Think of it like a prisoner of war who has been held captive for 16 months,” he continued. “There will be an adjustment period.”
Three #Occupy activists were arrested and held on terrorism conspiracy charges in Chicago in May 2012. The three leftists tried to make Molotov cocktails for attacks during the NATO Summit.
Brian Church, 20, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Jared Chase, 24, of Keene, N.H., and Brent Vincent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla, are the so-called “NATO 3.” According to prosecutors, the three are self-proclaimed anarchists and members of “Black Bloc,” a band of protesters who typically mask their faces to avoid identification. They were arrested prior to the start of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago. (Chicago Tribune)
Calling Harry Reid -
The three #Occupy terrorists were sentenced this week to prison terms ranging from 5 to 8 years.
The Chicago Tribune reported:
Three out-of-state men were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 5 to 8 years in prison today for making crude Molotov cocktails in the days before the NATO summit in Chicago in May 2012.
Jared Chase was sentenced to 8 years, Brent Betterly to 6 years and Brian Church to 5 years.
Prosecutors had sought 14-year terms for each of the so-called NATO 3, raising the specter of the Boston Marathon bombings during their arguments at the sentencing hearing.
The three were convicted in February of possessing incendiary devices but were acquitted of more serious terrorism charges, a fact stressed by their attorneys.
Chase’s attorney, Thomas Anthony Durkin, contended that prosecutors didn’t seem to understand they lost the terrorism case and were trying to “salvage a lousy, rotten case” with stiff prison sentences.
“They still don’t get that the whole world is laughing at them,” Durkin told Judge Thaddeus Wilson.
But in handing down the sentences, Wilson said the three may not have been “the three Musketeers” but they weren’t “the three stooges” either.
A 48-page sentencing memo by Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Jack Blakey, who heads the office’s special prosecutions bureau, said the trio have displayed a “defiant refusal to take responsibility for their conduct.”
Addressing the judge before he imposed sentence, Church took offense to the prosecution comparisons to the Boston Marathon bombings.
“I do love my country,” he said. “To be compared to an atrocity hurts, your honor. It rips my heart apart.”
Betterly apologized and said that anarchism isn’t synonymous with terrorism.
“We weren’t serious about much of what was said” in conversations secretly recorded by two undercover Chicago police officers who had infiltrated their group, said Betterly, who nonetheless insisted he was not ducking responsibility.
Rebel Pundit has video of the three #Occupy terrorists in Chicago.
Former McGruff the Crime Dog actor, John R. Morales, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison following his guilty plea three years after police seized 1,000 marijuana plants, 27 weapons – including a grenade launcher, and 9,000 rounds of ammunition from his home.
The man who played the famous “Take a bit out of crime” dog was arrested in 2011 after Galveston police and drug-sniffing dogs pulled over the McGruff actor for speeding, the Houston Chronicle reports. Authorities found diagrams of two indoor pot-growing operations sitting on the front seat, and multiple pot seeds stored in the trunk of his Infinity.
Police raided Morales’ home and found the multitude of marijuana plants, ammunition and weapons, which included a grenade launcher, according to court documents obtained by News Fix Now.
On Monday, the now 41-year-old former actor pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Morales insisted that he was nonviolent, but U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore stated that, “Everything I read about you makes you seem like a scary person.”
McGruff the Crime Dog is a cartoon bloodhound that was created by global advertising company Saatchi & Saatchi and the Ad Council in the early 1980s for the National Crime Prevention Council used by U.S. police in spreading crime awareness. The dog is often played by actors wearing the character’s rain-coat costume as McGruff visits schools, does commercials and engages children through educational videos.
The beard Maj. Nidal Hasan had been growing in the years after the massacre prompted delays to his court-martial because it violated Army grooming regulations.
The Army psychiatrist sentenced to death for the Fort Hood shooting rampage has been forcibly shaved, an Army spokesman said Tuesday.
Maj. Nidal Hasan began growing a beard in the years after the November 2009 shooting that left 13 dead and 30 wounded. The beard prompted delays to his court-martial because it violated Army grooming regulations. He was convicted of all charges last month at his court-martial at the Central Texas Army post and sentenced to death.
Now, Hasan is an inmate at the U.S. Detention Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., home to the military death row. Lt. Col. S. Justin Platt, an Army spokesman, said in a statement Tuesday that Hasan had been shaved. He did not specify when or provide details, however.
Officials at Fort Leavenworth previously had said Hasan would be subject to Army regulations.
Hasan dispensed with all criminal defense counsel and represented himself during his trial. A message left with John Galligan, Hasan’s first criminal defense attorney who still represents him in civil matters, was not returned.
Hasan said he grew the beard because his Muslim faith required it and was not meant as a show of disrespect. However, Col. Gregory Gross, the original judge presiding over Hasan’s court-martial, ordered Hasan to be clean-shaven or be forcibly shaved before his trial.
The dispute over that decision led to appeals that delayed the trial by more than three months before the appeals court ousted the judge. The appeals court ruled that Gross did not appear impartial while presiding over Hasan’s case and that the command, not a judge, is responsible for enforcing military grooming standards.
Col. Tara Osborn, assigned to replace Gross as the judge presiding over the case, allowed Hasan to keep the beard for the course of the trial last month. However, she warned that although she would not hold the breach of grooming regulations against the 42-year-old American-born Muslim, the military jurors might.
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday after being convicted of espionage and other charges in connection with a massive leak of classified material.
He also received a dishonorable discharge, will forfeit his pay and benefits and was reduced in rank.
Manning faced a maximum of 90 years in prison after his conviction last month on charges of espionage, theft and fraud.
Manning was convicted of one of the largest leaks of classified material in U.S. history and was at the center of a growing debate over government secrecy.
Supporters of Manning consider him a whistleblower whose exposures served the public interest. The American Civil Liberties Union criticized his sentencing.
The government said Manning was a traitor who hurt the country.
The judge in the case, Army Col. Denise Lind, announced the sentence in a military courtroom in Fort Meade, Md.
Prosecutors urged the judge to sentence Manning to 60 years as a deterrent to others who might be tempted to leak secret documents.
“He betrayed the United States, and for that betrayal, he deserves to spend the majority of his remaining life in confinement,” Capt. Joe Morrow had said during the sentencing hearing.
Manning’s defense had urged the military to sentence Manning, who served as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, to no more than 25 years in prison.
Manning leaked secret documents, which included battlefield reports and State Department cables, to WikiLeaks, which posted them on the Internet.
The U.S. government said his actions jeopardized U.S. interests and exposed informants and sources to danger. Manning’s defense painted him as a misguided idealist who opposed the war in Iraq.
“He had pure intentions at the time that he committed his offenses,” defense attorney David Coombs said during the sentencing hearing. “At that time, Pfc. Manning really, truly, genuinely believed that this information could make a difference.”
Manning’s defense attempted to “play up the human aspect” of Manning by highlighting mental health issues, said Phil Cave, a former military lawyer now in private practice
Defense witnesses testified about Manning’s “gender-identity disorder,” which contributed to the mental stress he was under.
During the sentencing hearing Manning had apologized for hurting the United States.
Under military law, the sentence will be automatically appealed. He would probably be eligible for parole after he served one-third of his sentence.
Eugene Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School, said he thought the sentence “was a bit on the high side,” but that defense attorneys had a tough case.