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March 30, 2014

Your view: Letters to the editor

Getting to the bottom of the Justina Pelletier case

To the editor:

The case of Justina Pelletier raises more very serious concerns regarding decision-making at the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. While it is not possible for a Legislative body to interject itself into ongoing civil and criminal litigation, we do have the responsibility and power to investigate and provide oversight. This task is ongoing in the House of Representatives and will take some time if it is to be done correctly, requiring many current DCF employees to testify under oath.

It appears that after Justina was locked in a psychiatric unit at Boston Children’s Hospital against her will, her health did not improve.

While the Pelletier family may have acted irrationally and belligerently against Boston Children’s Hospital, DCF and our courts, one must keep in mind that they have been very much dropped through a log chipper.

If these concerns are substantiated, then I will be asking the following questions regarding current law:

■ Is the term “reasonable suspicion” too low a bar to allow the state to seize custody of a sick child?

■ Should medical caregivers under the direction of DCF receive liability protection through sovereign immunity?

■ Should child custody hearings in which the state is an adversary against parents or family be closed to the public without a finding that secrecy is necessary to reasonably protect the minor?

These are indeed tough questions that must be publicly discussed in order prevent recurrence of the disturbing circumstances presented by this case.

Linda Dean Campbell

State representative

Methuen

North Andover voters can preserve a piece of our past

To the editor:

On Monday evening, North Andover’s selectmen will review Warrant Article 20 for North Andover’s May Town meeting. It asks the legislature of North Andover — Town Meeting — to acquire 20 acres of the Berry Street Farm property containing an historic home built in 1824, beautiful field views of open spaces and conservation land and one of the oldest and most remarkable cemeteries in America.

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