The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has dismissed a case revolving around a court order not to revive a badly injured Augusta infant after the LePage administration said it would not enforce the do-not-resuscitate order, to which the child’s mother objected.

The case was “dismissed as moot” on Thursday, according to a court clerk. The mother, Virginia Trask, of Augusta, had agreed to a do-not-resuscitate order in late December, but changed her mind after the infant unexpectedly was able to breathe on her own after being taken off life support at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Still, the baby is in dire condition, according to court documents.

The baby’s father, Kevin M. Peaslee, 22, is charged with aggravated assault and has pleaded not guilty in connection with violently shaking Aleah Peaslee, now 1. Aleah is in the care of a foster family, although her 18-year-old mother, Trask, retains parental rights.

Aleah is a “spastic quadriplegic,” has “suffered devastating neurological injuries” and “is unable to suck or swallow,” the documents say. She “exhibits a high-pitched ‘neurological cry’ 80-85 percent of the time” and appears to be uncomfortable or in pain during most of her time awake.

After the mother rescinded her approval of plans not to resuscitate the infant, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services pursued and was granted the order on April 24 by Augusta District Court. Trask appealed, and the case appeared to be headed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court for a Sept. 23 hearing.

However, on Sept. 5, after the case made national news, Gov. Paul LePage and Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew said they agreed with Trask that the mother should be able to make do-not-resuscitate decisions, overruling previous efforts by Mayhew’s office and the Maine attorney general’s office.

LePage said he could not support a law that “violates the sanctity of parental rights.” With both sides now on the same side of the legal argument, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court dismissed the case.

Scott Hess, Trask’s attorney, wrote in an email that, even though the administration has sided with his client, “it is disappointing that the mother will not have the opportunity to have the case decided on the legal merits. But we of course respect the decision by the” Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Timothy Feeley, a spokesman for the Maine attorney general’s office, wrote in an email that the office had no comment because the case was being sent back to Augusta District Court for “further consideration.”

Because the case was dismissed, Hess said, the original court order usurping Trask’s parental rights technically remains in effect, although Mayhew has said the order would not be enforced. Hess did not respond to a question asking whether he would seek a formal dismissal of the “do not resuscitate” order.

If Aleah were to need breathing assistance again, Trask may be willing to let the baby die rather than put her back on a respirator, according to court records. However, the filings show Trask is opposed to using extensive pain medication “that would both ease (the baby’s) pain and result in a cascading series of events that would inevitably lead to her death.” The court filings say giving the baby additional pain medication — as recommended by physicians — could prompt a situation in which she would need to be put back on life support.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.