In Re: Cassandra C., Ctd.

Two quick updates to the preceding post concerning the appeal in In re: Cassandra C.  First, Cassandra’s attorneys filed their reply brief today.  The filing of that brief, which responds to the legal arguments the Department of Children and Families made in its brief, concludes the written briefs portion of the appeal.  Second, the oral argument in the Supreme Court at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 8 will be televised (I assume by CT-N).

I plan to attend the oral argument on Thursday and hope to have a post-argument post later that day.  Stay tuned.


Can A Minor Refuse Lifesaving Medical Treatment? A Discussion Of In Re: Cassandra C.

Governor Malloy recently reappointed former state Supreme Court Justice Joette Katz as Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”), reflecting his faith in her ability to run the critically important, but much maligned, agency. And, by accepting that reappointment, Katz revealed that she is either a saint or a glutton for punishment.

The punishment may continue (undeservedly so in my humble opinion) as the public learns more about a case that the Connecticut Supreme Court will hear, on an expedited/emergency basis, this Thursday, January 8.  The case, In re Cassandra C., involves a now 17-year-old girl who was diagnosed last September with cancer, specifically, high-risk Hodgkin’s lymphoma. (Several media entities reported on the case over the past few days. However, the existence of the expedited appeal has been reflected on the Supreme Court’s electronic docket since mid-December.)

As Cassandra’s attorneys acknowledge in their appellate brief, “[t]he uncontroverted testimony of several medical professionals indicated that Cassandra’s disease, if treated with chemotherapy, presented an 85% chance of survival, but if left untreated, presented a near certainty of death within two years.” See Joint Brief of Respondent Mother and Minor Child (“Joint Br.”) at 2 (emphasis supplied). The problem is Cassandra apparently doesn’t want the chemotherapy that will almost certainly cure her. She apparently prefers virtually certain death. And Cassandra’s mother won’t consent on her behalf. Neither Cassandra’s nor her mother’s objections to the treatment are religiously-based.  See Brief of Petitioner-Appellee (“DCF Br.”) at 18. They just don’t want the life-saving treatment.

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That’s One Hell Of An Accusation Hubie

Hartford attorney Hubert “Hubie” Santos is one of the most respected criminal defense attorneys in the State of Connecticut.  Rightly so. When he makes a representation in open court about a fact that he believes to be true, people listen. Judges listen.  And the media reports what he says.

The Hartford Courant reports today that in a hearing before Superior Court Judge Julia Dewey on Monday, Attorney Santos accused Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz of intentionally interfering in a criminal prosecution by using her power to have a prosecutor removed from the case.  Santos said:

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Debating The “Jane Doe” Case Without The Facts

I finally blew a gasket when actor/playwright Harvey Fierstein, of all people, decided that he knew enough about the facts of Connecticut’s Jane Doe case to write an op-ed in the New York Times. The troubling story of Jane Doe has been the subject of many articles, editorials and op-eds over the past several weeks.  Jane Doe is the transgender teen that the Department of Children and Families (DCF) asked a judge for permission to transfer to the York Correctional Institution for Women in Niantic because of her alleged history of physical violence towards other girls and DCF staff.

The transfer of a youth to an adult correctional facility–especially when the youth has not been convicted of a crime–is a very serious and newsworthy issue. It not only warrants, but demands, public attention and debate. Read the rest of this entry »