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The state-of-the-art in what is best for children of divorce. Every parent, judge and family law attorney must view this video to save their children from the ravages of divorce.
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Public Access to Judicial Proceeding Case Law

Wednesday, February 08, 2006





2.     A story on Fathers 4 Justice

3.     A long discussion on DSS latest screw up that almost cost a girl her life including columns, the case itself, and other news stories. THE NEAR DEATH OF HALEIGH POUTRE AT THE HANDS OF DSS





(Click here , or here, to learn what is “Tao Te Ching.”)




You can speak to your children of life,but your words are not life itself.You can show them what you see,but your showing and their seeing are forever different things.


You cannot speak to them of Divinity Itself.But you can share with themthe millions of manifestations of this Reality

arrayed before them every moment.Since these manifestations have their origin in the Tao,

the visible will reveal the invisible to them.


Don’t mistake your desire to talk for their readiness to listen.Far more important are the wordless truths they learn from you.If you take delight in the ordinary wonders of life,they will feel the depth of your pleasure

and learn to experience joy.If you walk with them in the darkness of life’s mysteries

you will open the gate to understanding.They will learn to see in the darknessand not be afraid.


Go for a slow and mindful walk.Show them every little thing that catches youreye.

Notice every little thing that catches theirs.Don’t look for lessons or seek to teach great things.

Just notice.The lesson will teach itself.



RINALDO’S NOTES: There is an old adage in writing fiction, “Show, don’t tell.” Perhaps these Words of Life from the Tao Te Ching teaches us so much in teaching about God and Life. These “wordless truths they learn from you” are important in a child’s development.  It is from time spent with children that “the visible will reveal the invisible to them.”  That is why it is so important that fathers are given time to spend with their children—experiencing the world, being observant, noticing what catches their eyes, and delighting in the ordinary wonders of life.  Your children learn love by being loved.  They learn the Great Truths by experiencing the everyday wonders. “Don’t look for lessons or seek to teach great things.”




ITEM 2: A story on Fathers 4 Justice


Fathers4Justice: The Inside Story
Men's News Daily - Guerneville,CA,USA



ITEM 3: A long discussion on DSS latest screw up that almost cost a girl her life including columns, the case itself, and other news stories.




The Boston Herald blasts the Department of Social Services in this article in today’s paper.




DSS hides behind kids
By Boston Herald editorial staff
Wednesday, February 8, 2006


Trust us, the Department of Social Services keeps saying, whether the case is that of a brain-injured child or children left alone by their dysfunctional mother.


Trust us, we’re the DSS and we’re here to help.


Well, now we know that the agency that was supposed to protect Haleigh Poutre neglected her as badly as her adoptive parents, allowing her to suffer months of horrible abuse. And now we know that the agency that was supposed to protect her wanted to remove her from life support just six days after she was admitted to a hospital with brain damage.


Now hapless Commissioner Harry Spence thinks she’s just a miracle child, breathing on her own, picking up toys on command. But last Sept. 19, his agency asked for court permission to remove her from her ventilator and feeding tube. We know this now only because of the court-ordered release of a redacted brief.


What else don’t we know about this case? Even Haleigh’s biological mother was forced by DSS to sign a gag order in order to see the child. The agency continually hides behind its supposed need to protect the privacy of the children it serves, when time after time it is merely covering up its own incompetence.


We’re the DSS and we’re here to help.






“Sharlene” is just a pseudonym.  (Click on case name to see full case.) I HAVE RESORED THE GIRL’S PROPER NAME WHEREVER THE NAME “SHARLENE” APPEARED





NOTABLE QUOTES:  “On October 5, after a closed evidentiary hearing, which the petitioner's counsel attended, but in which he was not allowed to participate, a judge allowed an emergency motion filed jointly by the department (DSS) and Haleigh Poutre's counsel (joint emergency motion), requesting an order that the child's health care providers withdraw all life support measures currently in place and make no attempt to resuscitate her on the occurrence of cardiac or respiratory arrest (DNR order).”


RINALDO’S NOTES: Without friends like this, who needs enemies? Notice how these appointed lawyers work in cahoots with DSS and the court system?


NOTABLE QUOTE: “On October 5, after a closed evidentiary hearing, which the petitioner's counsel attended, but in which he was not allowed to participate, a judge allowed an emergency motion filed jointly by the department and Haleigh Poutre's counsel (joint emergency motion), requesting an order that the child's health care providers withdraw all life support measures currently in place and make no attempt to resuscitate her on the occurrence of cardiac or respiratory arrest (DNR order). The judge further ordered that his written decision allowing the joint emergency motion be impounded and released only to the department, Baystate, Haleigh Poutre's counsel, and Haleigh Poutre's GAL. The petitioner challenged the impoundment order and, after an evidentiary hearing on October 17, the judge modified that order to provide that his decision be made available only to persons connected with the case, including the petitioner, but not to the general public.”


RINALDO’S NOTES: This way, we can never know just how much this judge messed up. As Justice Spina said in the concurrence: “If the order to withdraw life support is made, it is expected that the child will not live to suffer any stigma.”


AND SOME NOT SO PROPHETIC WORDS: “One physician, the director of Baystate's pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), testified that Haleigh Poutre suffered from a "shear" injury to her brain stem that caused a disruption of nerve fibers in that portion of her brain and resulted in irreparable brain damage. He testified that, after Haleigh Poutre's admission to Baystate, her intracranial pressure increased due to a stroke of the entire right side, and most of the left side, of her brain. He further testified that Haleigh Poutre is in an irreversible coma. The physician explained that, when an injury occurs to the upper brain there are other parts of the upper brain that may be able to take over the function in time. With an injury to a brain stem, however, there is no chance of recovering cognitive or sensate functioning. The physician testified that, "short of developing the technique for a complete brain transplant, there is no hope that medical treatment will be discovered in the foreseeable future which could reverse [Haleigh Poutre's] condition."


COURT: On October 5, the judge entered a written decision, in which he made findings of fact and concluded that "[Haleigh Poutre's] dignity and quality of life would be most respected by withdrawing both the ventilator and the feeding tube along with the issuance of a [DNR] order, with great sadness I so issue this day." The judge also ordered that his written decision not be released to anyone except Haleigh Poutre's counsel, her GAL, the department, and Baystate.

RINALDO’S NOTES: Hey, thanks Judge.  Cause I know you really are worried about this little girl’s privacy when you were about to put her 16 feet under the ground.


COURT: “As counsel for Haleigh Poutre's siblings notes, "After the media circus surrounding the plight of this child subsides . . . her siblings will be left to endure the pain of its aftermath. All three of these children are entitled to the protection [of confidentiality ordered by the] court," as required by statute and rule.”


RINALDO’S NOTES: Whose performing in the circus—the courts or the media?  Isn’t it important we at least know what is going on?


COURT: “We do not depart from our cases that recognize a common-law right of access to the records of judicial proceedings, see Boston Herald, Inc. v. Sharpe, 432 Mass. 593, 605 (2000); Commonwealth v. Blondin, 324 Mass. 564, 569 (1949), cert. denied, 339 U.S. 984 (1950); Cowley v. Pulsifer, 137 Mass. 392, 394 (1884), nor disagree with a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, cited by the petitioner, holding that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution may encompass a public right of access to records submitted in connection with criminal cases. See Globe Newspaper Co. v. Pokaski, 868 F.2d 497 (1st Cir. 1989). These decisions, however, did not involve Juvenile Court records, which, by law, are confidential. We conclude that the judge properly ruled that the findings and order of the October 5 hearing should remain unavailable to the general public.”


WORDS THAT ALMOST KILLED HALEIGH: “A few final observations are in order. Some describe this as a case about death. It should more correctly be described as a case about a young girl who has suffered tremendously from acts of violence and cruelty and who now will be permitted to pass away with dignity. Haleigh Poutre's memory will remind us, time and again, that we, as a society, need to do more to aid children who are neglected and abused, and thereby denied the care and nurturing they so desperately want and need. If Haleigh Poutre's case helps other children to escape their misery, her short life will not have been in vain.”


Judge Spina’s CONCURRENCE:  “SPINA, J. (concurring, with whom Cowin, J., joins). I agree with the court's opinion. I write separately to call attention to an issue that was not raised by the parties but has a significant impact on the public interest. The issue is whether a judicial hearing on a petition to withdraw life support systems from a child should be closed to the public simply because it takes place in the context of a care and protection proceeding.


The Supreme Judicial Court Guidelines on the Public's Right of Access to Judicial Proceedings and Records (2000) begins with the following two sentences: "Judicial proceedings should not be shrouded in secrecy. Access fosters informed public discussion of governmental affairs." The guidelines then quote Cowley v. Pulsifer, 137 Mass. 392, 394 (1884) (Holmes, J.), where the court said, "It is desirable that the trial of causes should take place under the public eye, not because the controversies of one citizen with another are of public concern, but because it is of the highest moment that those who administer justice should always act under the sense of public responsibility, and that every citizen should be able to satisfy himself with his own eyes as to the mode in which a public duty is performed." This principle is especially apt in cases that will result, irreversibly, in a loss of life.”

JUSTICE SPINA: “More important is the need for assurance that those seeking to terminate life in fact have the best interests of the child at heart and that the child's best interests are being served. The public is entitled to know that those seeking the orders are not trying to conceal foul play, or that the expense of maintaining life is not driving the request. Although there is not a hint of these concerns in this case, the best way to ensure that those involved in the petition are in fact working toward the best interests of the child is to open the hearing to public scrutiny.”


RINALDO’S NOTES: As well intended as the court might have been, they got it wrong, and that is a concern about judgment.


JUSTICE SPINA: “The need for open proceedings is particularly compelling where an agency of the executive branch of government seeks to persuade the judicial branch of government to withdraw life support. Decisions of this gravity, made with this concentration of government involvement, should be made in public. Withdrawal of life support does not arise solely in the context of a care and protection proceeding. It may arise on a petition of a hospital in the Probate and Family Court or the Superior Court. See, e.g., Matter of Rena, 46 Mass. App. Ct. 335 (1999). Such a hearing would be open to the public unless closed after findings are made conformably with the Uniform Rules on Impoundment Procedure (2005). There is no reason to treat these hearings differently simply because the Department of Social Services is involved.”

RINALDO’S NOTES: Kudos to Justice Spina on the public’s right to know.

JUSTICE SPINA INVITES RE-EXAMINATION BY LEGISLATURE: “When care and protection proceedings were first closed to the public by St. 1954, c. 646, § 1, this issue probably had not been anticipated. The most extreme case to arise in the twenty- four years that followed involved an order to provide life- sustaining medical treatment contrary to the parents' wishes. See Custody of a Minor, 375 Mass. 733 (1978). Medical advances have changed the landscape but the statute remains unchanged. The issue warrants reexamination by the Legislature.”


A TROUBLING FOOTNOTE: “(2) The biological father has been absent from Haleigh Poutre's life and has no role in this case.”  Why?  Why after all the abuse this girl suffered, didn’t DSS try to place this child in her biological father’s home?






Woman Claims DSS Failed To Disclose Girl's Condition
Boston Channel.com,  USA - 1 hour ago
NewsCenter 5's Pam Cross reported that Haleigh Poutre was hospitalized in September 2005 with brain damage stemming from severe abuse. ...


“BOSTON -- A woman whose daughter was hospitalized with severe brain injuries said Wednesday that the Massachusetts Department of Social Services did not disclose all the details about her 11-year-old's condition before she signed a Do Not Resuscitate order.”


You can click on link of video as well.


Biological mother of brain-injured girl seeks role in case

Eyewitness News, Fox 12

“Avrett [Haleigh Poultre’s biological mother] says the Department of Social Services has repeatedly rebuffed her attempts to become involved in deciding how best to care for Haleigh.”


RINALDO’S NOTES: Well, at least DSS will clear air.


 FURTHER QUOTE: “DSS spokesman Michael MacCormack declined to comment.”


RINALDO’S NOTES:  Strike that last remark.


Biological mother seeks role in deciding care of brain-injured ...
WFSB, CT - 2 hours ago
BROCKTON, Mass. -- The biological mother of an adopted, brain-injured girl whose struggle on life support sparked a legal battle ...


Group hits DSS lawyer in girl's case
Boston Globe - United States
By Patricia Wen, Globe Staff | February 8, 2006. An advocacy group for foster children has filed a complaint with the state Board ...
See all stories on this topic

“An advocacy group for foster children has filed a complaint with the state Board of Bar Overseers against the chief lawyer for the Department of Social Services, accusing her of improper conduct in the end-of-life case involving Haleigh Poutre.


Susan Molina, executive director of the Yellow Ribbon Kids Club, said yesterday that she filed a complaint against DSS lawyer Virginia Peel, saying Peel had not told the Supreme Judicial Court that Haleigh, 11, was starting to breathe on her own and was showing increased responsiveness.

That lack of communication, Molina said, caused the judges to issue a ruling on Jan. 17 backing the agency's desire to pull the child's ventilator and feeding tube.

''The courts are deliberating the life or death of a child, and they didn't know her condition had changed," said Molina, who asked last month for the resignation of the DSS commissioner, Harry Spence.

A DSS spokeswoman, Denise Monteiro, described the complaint against Peel as frivolous.

Daniel Crane, bar counsel of the Board of Bar Overseers, said he is prohibited from confirming any complaints.

Molina, whose group is based in Whitman, said she does not have proof of when Peel knew that the girl's condition had changed. DSS officials have said that only on Jan. 18, a day after the SJC ruling, did they get notice from doctors about the improved condition.

Wendy Murphy, a lawyer for Allison Avrett, the girl's biological mother, who gave up custody of the girl about four years ago, has scheduled a press conference for this afternoon in Brockton to announce Avrett's efforts to secure a legal voice in the girl's care.”


Biological mother seeks role in deciding care of brain-injured ...
Boston Globe, United States - 2 hours ago
By Mark Pratt, Associated Press Writer | February 8, 2006. BROCKTON, Mass. --The biological mother of an adopted, brain-injured girl ...


QUOTE: “Although Haleigh's doctors said she would not recover from her vegetative state, neurologists and ethicists have said it can take up to a year to determine if a severely brain-injured patient will have any chance of recovery”


Bid to end life support was quick Boston Globe

By Patricia Wen, Globe Staff  |  February 7, 2006


“The day after the Supreme Judicial Court ruled Jan. 17 that the agency could withdraw life support, DSS said Haleigh was breathing on her own and responding to commands and moved her Jan. 26 to a rehabilitation hospital in Brighton. Doctors there say her condition is stable, and they are conducting tests to evaluate her chances for recovery.

In the brief filed with the Supreme Judicial Court, which was made public at the request of lawyers representing the Globe and the The Republican in Springfield, the agency outlined its reasons for seeking a court order on Sept. 19 to end the girl's life.”

Documents detail diagnosis of girl in 'right to die' case

The SPRINGFIELD Republican

Tuesday, February 07, 2006



NOTABLE QUOTE: “SPRINGFIELD - Within a week of her hospitalization from alleged beatings, 11-year-old Haleigh Poutre suffered a massive stroke and "had no hope of recovery," according to court papers released by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court yesterday.

The legal brief filed by the state Department of Social Services also showed that the agency sought an order to remove the Westfield girl from life support five days after gaining custody of her on Sept. 13.

The documents were released by the court following legal arguments from The Republican, which argued that the life or death decision before the court should supersede laws calling for the impoundment of juvenile records.”

“Since the court upheld the agency's right to remove her from life support, the girl has shown enough improvement to be moved to Franciscan Hospital for Children, a rehabilitation center in Boston. A day after the court's Jan. 17 decision, DSS said the girl had shown some improvements, including at times breathing without a ventilator, while other reports described her as seemingly following commands to move her hand and following objects with her eyes.”

MA State Government Asked To Take Girl Off Life Support
All Headline News

Not Dead Yet Seeks Probe of Haleigh Poutre Case
North Country Gazette, NY - Feb 5, 2006

“Not Dead Yet, the national disability rights group, is calling for an investigation into what they characterize as the "shoddy medicine" that led to a court order for the removal of life-support from 11-year-old Haleigh Poutre just days after her admission to Massachusetts' Baystate Medical Center with a severe brain injury. She is now responsive and interactive four months after being declared "virtually brain dead" and in an "irreversible coma."


Poutre's mother ran home day care
The Republican, MA - Feb 4, 2006
 “WESTFIELD - The late Holli A. Strickland ran a state-approved day care center in her home in 2001 even as complaints that her adoptive daughter, Haleigh Poutre, was abused and neglected began trickling into the state Department of Social Services.”



OUR VIEW: The tragedy of Haleigh Poutre
The Patriot Ledger, MA - Feb 1, 2006
By The Patriot Ledger. The case of Haleigh Poutre is one of the worst to emerge from the Department of Social Services in years. ...


Haleigh Poutre is Conscious but not Safe
ProLife Blogs - Feb 2, 2006
Haleigh Poutre was given a death sentence by doctors who said she was "virtually brain dead" and in a "hopeless" state of "persistent vegetation".