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Letters from the issue of Thursday, April 10, 2008

Page 2 of 3

Nothing but the facts, Mari: I have enjoyed reading featured articles in New Times, but there are so many misrepresentations of CPS' role in removing the child from this mother's care [in "Mother, Interrupted"] that I now have to rethink articles I have read in the past and wonder how much of them is fact and how much is malicious fiction.
Mari Masatada, via the Internet

Foolish choices: I am not a fan of bureaucracy, nor do I feel that the law is applied equally. However, in the past three New Times cover stories ("Doggy Style," Ray Stern, March 13; "One Drink Wonder," Sarah Fenske, March 20, and "Mother, Interrupted"), I feel you are doing the community a huge disservice.

The people in these stories made poor decisions. Those with weed chance getting arrested. The mother who was driving after dental surgery, on painkillers, with (albeit minimal) alcohol in her system and her child in the car should not have been. The "Mother, Interrupted" showed some rather serious issues, and I for one hope that she gets the help she needs before she gets her child back.

Thanks for protecting the identities of the people involved with the stories, as you have certainly made them targets. I tangentially know about one of the individuals involved. According to all who are close to the situation, the authorities did the best that they could, given an extremely tricky situation. I am not saying that the decisions made were the best possible for all involved in any of these situations. If only that were true. I am saying that I expect more from New Times than glorifying poor decision-making and making victims out of those who were victimized first by their own decisions (although that applies less to the woman whose child was taken).

What I would like to see is an exposé on the authorities without the "victims" being aggrandized. That is what I have come to expect from New Times. Please do not squander your journalistic integrity. You are one of the few places that still has any.
Bill Terrance, via the Internet

What a country: This is absolutely barbaric that CPS can just come in and remove a child from her home with virtually no proof that the parent has done anything wrong.

Any day of the week, you can read about yet another dead child whose life was cut short because CPS did not act in the child's interest or remove a child when there was clear evidence that the child's life was in danger. How many kids are beaten, punched, stomped on, thrown against walls or sinks or bathtubs, drowned like feral cats or stabbed, strangled, shot, hanged and tossed out like yesterday's garbage?

And here is a woman simply doing the best she knew how for a child who obviously had documented eating problems — and for that (and nothing more!) they take her child away?

Just makes me more convinced that child welfare needs to be taken out of government's hands and put under the authority of private companies — so there could be more of a hands-on involvement with children deemed "at risk."

I can't believe CPS can "lose" a child like Rilya Wilson — who has never been found and is presumed dead — but can turn around on a dime to take a child whose parent has committed the simple sin of caring "excessively" for the child.

My first and only child had acid reflux from birth. I took him to the doctor nearly every week, and he was even hospitalized once. It's very upsetting to think that my concern for his misery and discomfort could have been construed as Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy! This country has gone nuts.
Name withheld by request

COURT AND SNARK

You a lawyer, Sol?: Regarding ("The Ghost of Judge Marquardt," Sarah Fenske, March 27): We have it good in our judicial system? Please note the comments I have heard from judges:

• "If I rule in your favor, I would not know what to do next, so I am dismissing the case."

• "We do not have time to read all the pleadings that are given to us, so I am going to rule that you shall not file any more pleadings in this case without getting my approval first."

• "I am going to hold you in contempt because you told me that I caused you harm."

• "I had sinus trouble before, and it was no big deal (to a person who almost died from an infection). Case dismissed."

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