Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Facts continue to erode overhyped statistic on YFZ teen moms

Have those watching the civil litigation over the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup (see The Common Room for blow by blow coverage) noticed that, of the 26 "disputed minors" that made up the bulk of alleged teen moms, every time one goes to court, CPS admits they're really an adult?

I'd already concluded the statistic was "phony," a slanted calculation resulting from a concerted DFPS PR campaign, and slowly but surely that early assessment is bearing out.

We're up to five now who were misclassified adults, while none of the "disputed" women so far has turned out to actually be underage.

If this pattern continues and all the disputed minors turn out to be telling the truth when they claimed to be adults, that would leave the number of alleged teen moms on the YFZ Ranch at between 2 and 5 out of 27 girls, a lower percentage than you'd find among the general public in Texas.

More on disputed minors from Brooke Adams at The Plural Life here and here.

UPDATE: A commenter points to a liveblog from the San Angelo Standard Times reporting five more "disputed" minors were deemed adults today. Can't tell how this figure jibes with earlier counts, but for those keeping score at home, the tally is approaching nine or ten to zip in favor of the FLDS women's word vs. CPS' "eyeball test" for determining "disputed" ages.

NUTHER UPDATE: Brooke Adams reports that we're down to 17 "disputed" moms (from 26) after yesterday's hearings, and that one woman CPS claimed was a minor (using its eyeball test) turned out to be 27 years old.

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

Live from Courthouse is reporting another 5 just this afternoon. What does that make the total? 9? or more?

TxBluesMan said...

Maybe so, but several were sexually assaulted and / or in bigamous relationships.

Fortunately, the state will be able to charge Merilyn with Bigamy as she was 17 at the time of the entry into the Bishop's Records, where she is shown as the 6th wife.

The state can then graciously offer her the opportunity to cooperate in the prosecution of the sex offenders in return for dropping the charges against her...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"several were sexually assaulted and / or in bigamous relationships."

Sayin' it don't make it so, bluesy!

From what I've seen, the case you're describing is the only actual fire so far discovered for all this smoke, and it's far from clear whether it's something Texas could prosecute, for a variety of reasons that have been thoroughly debated in previous comment strings.

What we see here is a phony statistic put out, but then when it's debunked, those who were hyping it far and wide two weeks ago say it doesn't really matter and try to shift focus. OTOH, AP recently said that "If most of them turn out to be adults, it could deal a severe blow to the state's claim of widespread sexual abuse at the compound in Eldorado." I think that's a more neutral and accurate assessment. They tried to play cutesy with statistics, and it could well come back to bite them.

Fred said...

Will the DNA and age calculations overcome the girl's, uh, woman's refusal to testify? Will the DNA be admissible?

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

It think it's either 9 or 10- unless they were counting the elusive 'Sarah' in the under-aged mothers, which would make it now 10 or 11.

HEre's another interesting point- Crimmins said that they had 20 girls who were or who had been mothers- that was not to say they were currently pregnant, but they had been pregnant while under-aged.

Angie Voss submitted 20 names to the court to prove her case of 'pervasive' under-aged pregnancy.

Of those 20- one of them was Louisa Jessop, and it looks like the state just gave her two extra children to prove its case. She was never an under-aged mother.

So that leaves 19.

One of them is from the 1990s.

That leaves 18.

Was one of them the missing Sarah? I don't know, but she was still on the court's list up until yesterday.

The other women who were declared adults before today- they were all already on the state's list. So they don't net the state any 'new' cases- just the same old ones.
And the fact that they were all already on the state's list with correct birth years, indicates somebody in CPS knew full well that they were adults when they chose to classify them as minors and deny them the right to an attorney.

So the numbers on the state's side have thus far gone down, while the numbers on CPS' side have gone up.

Insisting that Merilyn can be part of a sexual assault of a minor charge doesn't really change anything- she was already on the state's list as mother who conceived at 14 or 15 (when, in fact, she was 16).

The number of minors who gave birth has still gone down, while the number of minors females in custody has dropped sharply.

The fact remains that the state has been dishonest with its numbers, and in two days of hearings their inflated numbers of minor mothers in custody have dropped by over a third. And so far, whenver it's been possible to compare a CPS statement with an FLDS statement with any sort of independent verification, CPS comes out as dishonest.

Anonymous said...

The State has paid one heck of a price to find out what was going on at the UFZ Ranch. -- Nothing out of the ordinary!

Now the State wants to perform psychiatric tests on the mothers. Will tests be valid and unbiased? Will the mothers be able to present their own "expert" test results?

This is truly a world class mess. Texas - Don't mess with citizens rights!

Anonymous said...

Do explain to me how the state could charge Merilyn with bigamy?
Merilyn is most likely not legally married at all. So, most likely, she doesn't have one legal husband, let alone two.

Anonymous said...

By the way, even if Merilyn was legally married to some guy with six wives (which is most likely not the case), how would that make her a bigamist? If some guy in a mainstream society kept getting married without getting divorced, he would be a bigamist, not his wives. No one would obviously be charging his wives with bigamy.

Anonymous said...

Merilyn doesn't have a state recognized marriage (she couldn't have an informal marriage then--too young), (maybe) files taxes as a single (definitely not married) person, doesn't continuously cohabit with him, she ordinarily represents herself as single on legal documents, etc. Her significant other may even provide reasonable child support. She'd probably be stupid to accept any such offer as it would give CPS a reason to terminate her rights at any time as well as eliminating her support moneys. Now if Texas had a laws against fornication and adultry, the story would be different, these FLDSers are really fornicators and adulterers and conviction would be fairly easy.

I wonder if the FLDS ever read the part of the bible where St. Paul states people who do that (fornicate/commit adultery) will never inherit the kingdom?

Anonymous said...

I am all for TX getting a law on fornication and adultry.
However, TX better build a lot more prisons, as I am pretty sure a lot of Texans (who don't belong to FLDS) are going to end up there if they are guilty of fornication or adultry. The more the merrier, I say.

Anonymous said...

Y'all need to read the exact law that Hilderbrand got passedIt is now against the law for anyone passing themselves off as married when they aren't and they can be charged. Doesn't matter if they are legally married or not. As someone said earlier, a man introducing his mistress as his wife in a restaurant could be charged under this law. It is a new law. You need to read it!

Secondly, how bright of a move is it on the part of the state of Texas simulataneously to say that the raid is necessary for the liberation of girls who are raped and assaulted and at the same time charge them as criminals for the very marriage they are supposedly the victims of?

In what alternate universe does that make sense?

TxBluesMan said...

Anon 6:01,

It is a felony to marry, purport to marry, or to hold out the appearance of being married to someone that is already married.

In other words, she can be charged since Keate was already married and she held out the appearance of being married to him.

It doesn't matter whether she was legally married or not, if it was an informal marriage or not, she was over 17 and held out the appearance of being married - which is an offense.

Look it up - Texas Penal Code Sec 25.01(a)(2).

She wouldn't have to roll over on Keates, she could take her chances with a West Texas jury....

But with juries sending bigamists to prison for up to 15 years recently, does she really want to take the chance? Since he did not show up for court... he is not contesting the state's actions, and it will be more difficult for him to appeal or regain custody.

The mother being in prison is a sure way not to reunite with your kids, and they can charge Keates with Bigamy without her testimony.

Anonymous said...

Oh right. The new law passed after FLDS moved into TX. Is TX then going to argue that these young women are victims while charging them with bigamy at the same time?
Aren't these young women are the very same CPS claims they went in there to save?

Don said...

The more it comes out that the state has no cases the more it looks like it doesn't matter. The state has all the judges, the AG, Big Chief Happy Hair, et al, on their side. The hearings are a sad joke. Coerce people into signing something that says you won't do it anymore, even though you haven't been doing it anyway? WTF? Akin to "have you stopped beating your wife yet". CPS hasn't followed the law one time. The service plans are not legal. They are all alike. A local talk show host where I live referred to it as a "Stalinist Reeducation Camp". Where did the government get the right to demand anything? What is happening here? They are going to get away with this crap. Even if they fail to prove one single case of abuse, it doesn't look as if it will matter. We the people should have stopped this fascist crap somehow years ago before it got out of hand. Somebody, please, what can we do?

Anonymous said...

By the way, I know of a woman who has a fondness for a famous singer. I think she never met the guy in person. But she is so infatuated, she likes to refer to herself as his "wife." If she was living in TX, I suppose TX could put her in prison for years?
LOL.
I wonder if that law was taken up to the supreme court, what would the supreme court say?

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

Did you realize that the State nonsuited the case for "Sarah's" child. I was there when they did it. In it's attempt to preserve the delusion, CPS argued through its attorney that they weren't taking the position that the child doesn't exist.

It was a farce.

Headmistress, you would have enjoyed my expert witness's testimony on homeschooling.

Anonymous said...

jerri lynn ward-

Maybe you would know the answer to my question. Why is CPS being allowed to address education in their service plans?

Aren't educational concerns handled by the school district, not CPS?

Pinkycatcher said...

Texas is finding ways to pay for it

Anonymous said...

txblues, I htought you took your ball and ran home to your own blog already. You'd still getting an ass whoopin with your failed logic and misstatement of facts here. Maybe if you head to the CPS or DA blogs you'll find people who don't point out all of your errors or examine your bald faced lies with a critical eye.

Anonymous said...

What kind of verification is used to determine if the Utah birth certificates are real or not? They're not certificates that were originated by an FLDS institution, are they?

I'd also like to know what kind of conversations are going on between CPS workers and FLDS. What a caseworker considers abuse (maybe things like intense physical punishment, withholding food, violation of child labor laws) may seem perfectly normal and non-abusive to a FLDS. Do FLDS followers understand what "abuse" means? I know people keep saying CPS is punishing them for their "beliefs" alone, but FLDS may think they're not abusive at all, when by any standard outside their world, they are. CPS and FLDS can argue until the cows come home, but if FLDS parents and kids don't understand what a legal definition of abuse is, they will not be seen as truthful by CPS if kids were in fact being abused. Unintentional or intentional ignorance isn't going to help them.

Anonymous said...

You are arguing about Utah birth certificates despite the fact that CPS admitted that a number of women they held as minors were in fact adults. So, your argument doesn't hold water. Regarding witholding food-take a look at the photos and videos of these children. Do they look like food was withheld from them? Hello?
Those supposedly abused children look quite clean, and very well taken care of. Mental health workers that observed these kids after they were removed by CPS described those kids as well adjusted, well behaved, and well socialized.

kbp said...

Anon 9:49

The CPS has not presented any evidence of the abuse you describe beyond the possible number of bone fractures that are in line with the national average.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I asked what the verification process for the certificates was, not whether or not CPS considered people adults. And if food was withheld occasionally as a punishment, of course kids wouldn't look like wraiths. And looking at photos proves nothing anyway. A kid can look like a healthy 5 year old when they are in fact a malnourished 7 or 8 year old. Hello?

Can anyone answer my question?

Anonymous said...

Whatever the verification process was, obviously it was good enough for CPS.
They had to admit some of the women they held as minors were in fact adults.
As for withholding food, even CPS hasn't made that claim.
The FLDS mothers make special food for their kids, including baking bread for them.
By the way, how are you feeding your kids? I hope you are not witholding food from them. Anyone can accuse anybody of anything, without a shred of proof.

Anonymous said...

The most common form of verification of Utah birth certificates is probably the one being used for the verification process. That would be to check the certificate against the states registry. While it might be possible for someone to forge a birth certificate, it's highly unlikely that everyone forged theirs just in case CPS might come knocking at the door one day. Looking for a smoking gun in the form of a forged document is indicative of believing the states case is flawed, which is quite possible considering the fact that investigations are still ongoing. By this point in time, CPS should have gained all of the evidence they required, or they're not going to find it. Something they should have considered before acting on their instincts. They certainly could never be hired by a roadside circus as the person guessing someone's age by looking at them. The circus would go broke.

As for FLDS members knowing the definition of abuse, I'm pretty sure if they didn't know it before, they know it now. It's happening to their children. CPS on the other hand appears in need of a refresher course, because they've certainly missed the mark on that one too.

Anonymous said...

I highly doubt CPS will get FLDS to admit to abuse if there was any. Even Elizabeth Smart didn't accept help when she could, and she cried for her abusers and feared for their safety. The sway of authority and learned obedience are powerful things.


MSNBC Dateline/March 14, 2003

Police identify Elizabeth Smart; she is returned to her family

They survived for months on handouts and dumb luck: Brian Mitchell, his wife and the young girl we now know was Elizabeth Smart. How he managed to elude police for so long is a question many people are still asking. But this week, with an unexpected phone call, his luck ran out. Now the remarkable, final moments of the search, as told by the two police officers who made the rescue and the arrests.

It's a peculiar sight: All three people were seen walking along the suburban shopping strip clad in dirty white robes, the women hidden behind veils.

The three had been traveling throughout the West for months, in effect hiding in plain sight, and no one had paid them much attention. But now, this passing motorist is convinced the people she's seen walking are the same ones she saw on "America's Most Wanted." The veil is about to be lifted.

Operator: "Does he have a robe on?"

Caller: "He has, like, quite a bit of something on. They are carrying sleeping bags, and he's got a big bushy beard."

The 911 operator relays the information to police officer Karen Jones, on patrol in suburban Sandy, Utah, just south of Salt Lake City.

"I didn't know who I was going to go talk to, but once I saw him, it clicked that this was big," says Jones. "This was somebody that I really needed to talk to."

Jones is convinced the strange man is Emmanuel, but he gives his name as Peter Marshal. And then there's the mystery of who the two veiled women are.

"I explained that I just needed to detain them for a couple minutes and find out who they were," says Jones. "They said they didn't have any worldly possessions. They've given up all earthly things, that they were messengers of the Lord Jesus Christ and they were going wherever the Lord led them."

Just Brian Mitchell was talking, says Jones. As for the women, "they just stood there quietly and just watched me."

Within seconds, three other squad cars are on the scene to find out just who these pilgrims are. Officer Troy Rasmussen says he thinks he recognizes one of them.

"I said, well, that girl looks like Elizabeth Smart, the missing teenager," says Rasmussen. "She was obviously in a disguise. She had on a gray wig. She had on sunglasses. She had a T-shirt on her head, kinda like a cap, folded back like a veil-type thing. Obviously in a disguise."

After nine months held in thrall to the man who snatched her out of her bed, Elizabeth Smart was once again within reach of safety. She could end the ordeal just by saying her name. But even now she hesitates.

"I turned to the youngest one and asked her name, and she gave me Augustine Marshall and her date of birth," says Jones.

Was it really Elizabeth? Rasmussen strongly suspects it is the girl, but he can't get through whatever wall it was that Emmanuel had built between the teenager and her former life.

"She was being evasive," says Rasmussen. "She told me she was 18 and had to rethink her date of birth to match that age. I could tell she was uncomfortable. I pulled her away from the other individual, out of earshot, and I had a few questions for her... I asked her to remove her sunglasses, and she said she wouldn't do that. and I asked why, and she said she had some eye surgery in San Diego .... I asked her why she was wearing a wig. She became angry. Told me that was personal, none of my business."

So she is not - by no means - grabbing the officers and asking for help.

"No sir," says Rasmussen.

"Not at all," says Jones.

"She is not telling us the truth," says Rasmussen.

The cops try every trick they know to break through to the girl they believe is the missing teenager, but the masquerade continues.

They asked the girl if the two adults with her were her parents.

"She said yes, they were," says Rasmussen. "I asked some questions about where she was born and so forth, where her mother was born. She said well that's my stepmother and that's my father."

And when they asked where her stepmother was born, she didn't have an answer, nor for her father.

"At that point, our suspicions were hitting home," says Rasmussen.

During the next 45 minutes, the police press their case with the girl, trying to draw her back to her old life.

"I just pulled her aside and said let's do some girl talk," says Jones. "She asked me about this girl, Elizabeth Smart. Never said she was Elizabeth, never came out and said I am Elizabeth Smart. She was asking me questions about who this girl was and why we thought she was this girl. I proceeded to tell her that she's been missing for a long time and we need to find her.... She referred to her as the girl who ran away."

Finally, she can't resist any longer.

"And I basically said, you know, Elizabeth, a lot of people have been looking for you. Your family is concerned," says Rasmussen. "If you are in danger, you are safe now. We are here to help. I looked down at her chest, and I could see her heart pounding, and I could tell she was upset, at which point I knew it was her. And I pulled her away and said we are here to help you. Just tell us, and this ordeal can be over. At that point, she put her head down, and I could see over the rim of her glasses, her eyes welled up with tears and I knew it was her."

As for the Mitchells' demeanor, it was starting to change.

"A little bit of fear, like, 'oh, crap,'" says Rasmussen. "Like maybe we're in a little bit of trouble here now, we've told this story and we've gotten away with it and now it's not being believed."

There have been so many chances before, so many close encounters, so many false leads. This time the police want to be absolutely certain this isn't one final false lead after nine months of fruitless search.

"I was sure, but I wanted to be double sure," says Rasmussen.

He says the last thing he wanted to do at that moment is sound the alarm that they found her unless they were sure.

"I just didn't want to give false hope to the parents, to the family," says Rasmussen.

So police do one final test. They get out one of the flyers printed all those months before. They held up the missing-person flyer to her face.

"It was a match," says Rasmussen. "It was a match. Her nose and she was a little bit fuller, but there was no doubt. And she knew we knew. You could tell by her body language that she was saying, 'Thank God this is over.'"

Elizabeth is put into the squad car and taken to the police station. But first, police say, she has a question about her captors.

"The first question out of her mouth was, 'What's gonna happen to them? Are they going to be OK?'" says Jones. "Didn't want them in trouble, didn't want them to be hurt.... She started crying and cried all the way to the department."

Anonymous said...

TXbluesman: check out the Utah courts for decisions on laws like this. Texas, for all intents, took the language from Utah. The Utah courts have held that the state needs to do more than prove that one appeared or were said to be married, the state needs to show they actually cohabited - not just stayed overnight every once in a while, or filed official [tax, loan, grant] forms saying they were married, had official marriage licenses, etc. Guys/gals who just say their date (prostitute) is their wife haven't purported. Filling out those bishop's records isn't an official record (actually it may be protected under clergy-penitent privilege rules. Even mainline LDS must confess to their bishop on request or face loss of temple privilege.)

kbp said...

Even asking the question about verification is silly.

Voss told us the documents were likely forged, so we'd need DNA testing.

That's how they did it, the DNA "age" testing is completed!

or

They used the records already in their hands when all were grabbed into custody...

after Walthers got as many samples as she could so all could look for a crime!

Anonymous said...

Oh for crying out loud. Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her parents.
And she denied who she was in his presence, sure, but once she was separated from him, it was another story.

Anonymous said...

By the way, in many cases, children who aren't abused will come up with all kind of stories of abuse if they are asked leading questions.
Some people have been falsely convicted of child abuse that way.

Anonymous said...

Google "Lying for the Lord," something Brigham Young taught to early Mormon adherents.

"I have many a time, in this stand, dared the world to produce as mean devils as we can; we can beat them at anything. We have the greatest and smoothest liars in the world, the cunningest and most adroit thieves, and any other shade of character that you can mention.

"We can pick out Elders in Israel right here who can beat the world at gambling, who can handle the cards, cut and shuffle them with the smartest rogue on the face of God's foot-stool. I can produce Elders here who can shave their smartest shavers, and take their money from them. We can beat the world at any game.

"We can beat them, because we have men here that live in the light of the Lord, that have the Holy Priesthood, and hold the keys of the kingdom of God."

-- BRIGHAM YOUNG 2nd LDS Prophet Journal of Discourses, Volume 4

lowery.shirley said...

www.txvoices@yahoogroups.
com/
I have set up a working forum for those who are completely outraged by the State's handling of this. First we must gather forces so please join and pass the word on.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, yes, she was kidnapped, and yet she didn't run away when she could, and she felt sorry for her kidnapper/rapist when she was found. She had to have the truth pried out of her.

Silence doesn't prove there's no abuse, and conversely, kids can be led into saying they were abused when they weren't. But as controlling and fear mongering as the FLDS are, I don't see anyone admitting true abuse unless they had already wanted to leave. Why would they when they think they'll be damned to Hell? Better abused or molested than damned for eternity.

Anonymous said...

It took less than a day for Elizabeth to admit who she was, and to start talking of what had happened to her. How long do you expect for people to deny abuse before you actually believe them? Apparently never?

Anonymous said...

Controlling and fear mongering are subjective terms to which no evidence against FLDS members have been presented. Nor are they considered under Texas statutes as grounds for removal of children from their homes.

There is ample evidence of CPS using controlling methods, and even fear mongering as part of their tactics. Even TxBluesMan endorses the use of these tactics in his own comments. (Paraphrased) "Threaten the women with criminal charges to get them to provide evidence against the men".

The entire ordeal is clearly an open attack against the FLDS church to force them to disband and leave at least the county, and possibly even the state. What the state couldn't accomplish via legislation squarely directed at persecuting the members of this church, they are managing to accomplish by resorting to what many would consider as terrorist tactics. By taking aim at the children (one of the most protected treasures of most parents), the state knows they can levy any sanction against the FLDS it desires. The liberal laws defining child abuse, and the judges that interpret them, make it possible to get nearly anything accomplished under the robes of justice.

If this is allowed to stand unchallenged, CPS will become powerful enough to begin dictating law and policy for the entire state, in any matter it takes a mind to address. If CPS doesn't like people who smoke, take their kids. If CPS doesn't like people who drink, take their kids. If CPS doesn't like elected officials, take their kids. If CPS disagrees with a product being manufactured in Texas, take the companies kids. If CPS disagrees with baggy pants, or facial piercings, take their kids. There is no potential end to the abuse CPS could muster against the citizens of Texas at any time, at their whim.

This is why so many are up in arms against what is happening. If there is actual abuse, law enforcement should prosecute it appropriately, if they can. Using children as pawns to further the states agenda is considered as repulsive to most citizens as scheduling beheadings at dawn in the town square would be.

kbp said...

lowery.shirley,
I think you'd have better luck with a message board.

They are open to multiple threads of discussion topic and data storage (text).

If you were to try a free message board, I'd join up and help some.

kbp said...

LMAO!!!

I refreshed my Google new search and look what the 3rd link was that popped up!

Texas ups tally of teen moms from FLDS polygamous sect
Makes me suspect some I have met here are on the Google team!

samriver said...

I,m beginning to think all this talk isn't going to do any good in helping to free the children. The people in charge are very hard headed and proud and are not going to change their minds. Their TEXAS hard heads just like G.W..
Their comes a time when their has to be some kind of civil disobediance to get things moving. There are bound to be some good honest people that are taking care of these kids. People who are moral and ethical and that realize that something is wrong with what is happening to these harmless people. What they need to do is when the the mothers come to visit their children, they should just give them their children. If enough of them will do this it could have profound effect.

kbp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kbp said...

How's this for a Good Morning Headline!!

Texas' case weakens as moms turn out adults

Only 17 women, out of original 31, are left in the state's disputed-age group

...officials acknowledged four more women whose ages were disputed are adults - including one who is 27.



Sorry for the delete above.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Thanks KBP, I added that link to the end of the post.

How many "disputed" women do folks think will turn out to be minors? Any? CPS is 0 for 9 so far.

Stephen said...

As I've noted before, the children are more at risk of underage sex and pregnancy outside of the FLDS community than inside of it.

So, where does the Court intend to put them that will reduce the risk?

And how many of the other children in Texas need to be removed from the danger that is Texas itself?

Interesting how the statistics fit.

Melanie said...

Anon @ 11:19:

Just because the language of the law is the same as Utah's, and just because Utah interprets it one way, doesn't mean Texas has to interpret it the same way, does it? Can the legal minds here answer that? Since it's a state law, the state should be able to enforce it any way they want.

That being said, I personally think it would be pretty silly to try and prosecute someone for bigamy on the basis of having represented themselves as married for a one-night stand or whatever, but until the precedent is set one way or the other, you could make the argument, I believe.

kbp said...

Melanie
"...Can the legal minds here answer that?"

Which minds are "legal" and which are not looks to be what the the topic is in the YFZ Ranch case!

;)

Melanie said...

kbp: LOLOL

Okay, "lawyerly" minds, then. ;-)

kbp said...

MICHELLE ROBERTS

WORST REPORTER ON THE CASE TO DATE

Anyone that reads any other articles on the same topics Roberts reports on can see how she has continuously skewed the facts to publish her little narative in the AP.

Prime example why so many turn to blogs and ignore most of the MSM today. You'd think they'd get a clue every time they read their quarterly Profit/LOSS Statements!

kbp said...

Melanie

I'm not an attorney, but from following many cases I have learned there is little or no weight given to cases within a state court system when there are many cases to cite on the topics throughout the federal district appeals courts and SCOTUS.

Now, if the state case[s] you are talking about went through the higher courts, there can be much weight given to them.

Hope that helps without me having to paste legal terms in Latin or Greek throughout my comment!

kbp said...

That should have read;

"...cases within OTHER state court systemS..."

Those within their own state are cited often.

rericson said...

the CPS policy handbook actually has some pretty good policies...clearly CPS is not following even their own standards..
Are the lawyers hammering them on this? Are they asking questions about why written policy of CPS isn't being followed?
Are they presenting alternative service plans when they go into court? Are they getting these alternative plans into the record?

I'm not saying that the policies are all wonderful, or even adequate, and I'm not endorsing it in its' entirety...but hell, if it's their sandbox, and they are making the rules, fine...I think they can be beaten quite effectively with their own rules and toys...add to that some of the very good expertise that's out there on issues like 'false memory', effective methods for questioning children, recommendations for effective approaches coming out of the Waco debacle that Brooke posted, etc....
Hiring a lobbyist, or two might not be a bad idea, either...
Or some of the folks on these sites start a etter writing campaign to all of the legislators in Texas...as some of the naysayers have been saying..'public opinion sways judges in Texas...they're all elected.'
I hope posting this link works...I'm going to try...but if I can't make it work, kbp can post it....and it's on the CPS website...
http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Handbooks/CPS/

karateka said...

Grits is AWESOME! I started blogging about this case in part because of the false information out there, and the unbalanced reporting. Because of Grits and others, this reason has disappeared. Grits is way ahead of the mainstream media.

AnonAmom said...

When my son turned 16 and I took his Utah birth certificate to Utah DMV to get his driver's license, it was not accepted. I had just gone to get birth certificates for all three of my children so I'd have them for the DMV! But, I was told, I had to go get a new "post 9/11" birth certificate, with the new anti-copying threads and colors. It cost me a bunch to get new birth certificates!

I'm guessing Texas refused to accept the families' pre-9/11 birth certificates. After the FLDS appealed to Utah Governor Huntsman, one thing he DID do was instruct the Utah Dept. of Health (issuer of birth certificates) to facilitate the FLDS' needs. Read that as help them get the new birth certificates! I would imagine the same is true of Arizona birth certificates.

Non-acceptance of pre-9/11 birth certificates may be "legal" because the head of the Utah Dept. of Health issued a letter stating the "old" certificates were no longer valid. But most Utahns find out about this like I did - and the same may be true in your state, too. The question is, is it ethical to deny acknowledging these birth certificates, obtained in good faith, after a child was born prior to 2004 when the new certificates were issued?

kbp said...

Communication Problem?

"Ben Woodward, a state district judge in Tom Green County, said... "It is a pretty desperate situation and a red flag for the judiciary," Woodward said. "We are funded on this case pretty much by the counties, and they simply don't have it."

Woodward said the legal costs will exceed $2.2 million.

Schleicher County's total budget was $3.9 million, he said.

Because the state did not anticipate the raid when it wrote the current budget last year, finding the money and making it available before the Legislature's next scheduled session in January will be tricky."


Looks like enforcement of the new Anti-FLDS laws Rep. Harvey Hilderbran started working on at the state level in 2005, and cost for that Super Duper "Rights Violation" Raid that the good Sheriff Doran had been planning on over the past FOUR YEARS, were not in their budgets.

One has to wonder and speculate on how they planned to pay for this mess!

kbp said...

Rericson

There has been much mentioned about those "CPS policy handbook" and the policies in motions filed, but going off what Walthers whined about at the 14 Day Hearing, she had evidently stacked all the filings in her office to look at later down the road.

I did find reference to the guidelines, and I believe a web address, in the TRLA Writ, so YES it has been addressed to more than one court in this mess.

blog648 said...

"One has to wonder and speculate on how they planned to pay for this mess!"

That's easy--confiscate the property at YFZ Ranch. It's worth $20,000,000.

Of course, that puts all the more pressure on the state for making their case.

Incidentally, wasn't this YFZ community the county's third or fourth largest tax-payer? Oh, dear. Somebody didn't really think this thing through, did they?

kbp said...

Anonamom

That "9/11" may become an excuse before this is over, but it does not explain why they have not told the courts that is the reason or turned in the new copies they have.

With so many of the "disputed teenagers" being ruled as adults, the reporters would have caught that excuse if it had been offered.

I have no doubt in my mind WHY they did not accept the birth certificates and other forms of identification.

kbp said...

Walthers asked "When did you stop abusing your children?"

OOPS! STRIKE THAT! Wrong quote there.

"Carl Kolb, a lawyer from San Antonio representing Seth Jeffs... argued that the service plan should not interfere with the group's religion beliefs. He also said he didn't know all the specifics about the FLDS religion, but said abusing or neglecting children is not a part of the group.

"There is no conflict then," Walther said. "Everyone agrees sexual, emotional and physical abuse is inappropriate.""


LMAO!

That Walthers is old school!

karateka said...

"Non-acceptance of pre-9/11 birth certificates may be "legal" because the head of the Utah Dept. of Health issued a letter stating the "old" certificates were no longer valid."

This still doesn't explain why they wouldn't accept a combination of Arizona drivers license and birth certificate, or why they would suddenly accept birth certificates after the mother gave birth.

As near as I can tell, fraud on the part of the CPS is the only answer. The CPS had no evidence beside their own eyeballs.

beowulf1723 said...

kbp wrote:

"Looks like enforcement of the new Anti-FLDS laws Rep. Harvey Hilderbran started working on at the state level in 2005, and cost for that Super Duper "Rights Violation" Raid that the good Sheriff Doran had been planning on over the past FOUR YEARS, were not in their budgets.

One has to wonder and speculate on how they planned to pay for this mess!"

I think the answer is fairly obvious. Hilderbran & Co. expected to confiscate the ranch, probably because they didn't get past the name on the deed to the real owners.

Now they may be stuck with the bills, and the governors of Arizona and Utah are probably having a good laugh at our expense.

kbp said...

CPS loses another BIG, BIG time!, IMO!

A lawyer for a 14-year-old girl that is on a list of so-called "disputed minors" said this morning she is not pregnant as Texas child welfare authorities have alleged.

"My client does not have children. (She) is not pregnant. She's the youngest on the list of disputed minors," said Andrea Sloan.

Fred said...

I would hope this case is an opportunity to look into abuses in the system and how to improve it. Not so. They exist. NY woman pleads guilty in adoption scam involving 11 kids

NEW YORK (AP) — A woman accused of raking in more than $1 million in subsidies for adopting 11 disabled children while keeping them like prisoners in her Florida home pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal fraud charges.

Judith Leekin, 63, admitted she used false names to adopt the children and sent officials phony school report cards to qualify for the adoption subsidies. She also admitted restraining the children with plastic ties, preventing them from getting out of bed and not sending them to school.

kbp said...

Live Reports - Day 3

"The attorney for a "wife" of Warren Jeffs said she is willing to reject life on the YFZ Ranch and her jailed husband's alleged tenet of "marrying" girls whenever they're physically ready to produce children.

Local attorney Tim Edwards said Annette Jeffs has submitted in writing a pledge to 51st District Judge Barbara Walther that she will not allow any of her young girls to marry before they turn 18.

She also has found a place to live in San Antonio and will not return to the ranch, Edwards said."


I hope to see what Walthers reaction was! Prolly something like "So, you're ready to stop abusing your children now?"

Anonymous said...

"Carl Kolb, a lawyer from San Antonio representing Seth Jeffs... argued that the service plan should not interfere with the group's religion beliefs. He also said he didn't know all the specifics about the FLDS religion, but said abusing or neglecting children is not a part of the group.

"There is no conflict then," Walther said. "Everyone agrees sexual, emotional and physical abuse is inappropriate.""

Everyone also agrees (theoretically) that children should not be removed from families without individual evidence of abuse, immediate risk of harm, or living in a meth lab, yet here we are and the IS a conflict. That conflict is a judge in Texas ruled that all of the children be removed without such evidence as necessary to comply with statutes.

CPS and the Texas courts are barreling ahead like a locomotive where no tracks have been laid.

David said...

San Antonio State District Judge John Specia, who was filling in for 119th District Judge Ben Woodward, reminded attorneys for the children to move their questions along because he has other cases to hear. He ultimately approved the service plan.

Justice? Hurry up! I'm busy! Kangaroo court.

Melanie said...

Via commenters at the SLTrib:

http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/politics/entries/2008/05/21/flds_leader_cps_at_ranch_again.html

CPS is supposedly back at the ranch. Breaking news at the moment, it looks like, so it may be nothing.

rericson said...

Systemic abuse in the Child Welfare system is a hard pill to swallow!
These are the people we entrust to PROTECT children. To preserve families......to be helpers.....We are constantly fed hype and hyperbole about caring for kids...doe eyed, angelic little waifs, just waiting to be adopted by the perfect loving family.....or dark skinned juvenile miscreants behind chain link fences, wearing gang colors that we need protection from.....
And CPS is portrayed with everything but the red cape swooping in to care and protect.....
And they speak the language....how many folks are aware that CPS has its own language?...it's a secret language....and they don't tell you, but the rules say if you can't speak the language, you can't win the game....
and it's full of non-verbal communication cues, too...lots of 'wink, wink'...'nod, nod'....but if you don't know the sequence of the winks and nods, you'll get it wrong...

Most of the folks working in CPS organizations aren't bad people...but they live in such an insular, self-righteous world that their ability to truly help is marginalized by their own myopia....

But folks like the average taxpayer or judge or public defender doesn't know this....we trust...we pay our taxes and we trust....and if we trust long enough without questioning, those empowered have no checks and balances for a long time and they run amok with their belief that how they see things is the only 'right' way.....
it is going to be a hard process for the courts...to do the right thing will mean they have to acknowledge how they have been insidiously duped, for a very long time....
In the long run it will be a good thing...but the process is not going to be fast....
In the long run our lawyers and jurists will be smarter, savvier advocates...but in the short run there's lots of pain....

beowulf1723 said...

Here's melanie's story from the A A-S:
FLDS leader: CPS at ranch again, searching for children.

Anonymous said...

Here are just a few of the most common phrases coming from CPS in the courtroom.

investigations are still ongoing
a pervasive pattern
just following the rules of the department at this time

The above are often cited as an answer to a judges question. No additional details are provided, as if these answers are sufficient.

The phrases listed below are uttered by CPS when ordered by a judge to change something, do something, or stop doing something.

works in progress
We will work to
will look into it
that will be difficult

This is part of the special language CPS speaks. The coded messages. Attorneys and FLDS members would be wise to observe how these phrases and terms are being delivered in order to counter them to remove ambiguity, or adopt them to use for their clients or themselves.

kbp said...

Melanie,

As I search for humor in this mess, imagine CPS in a couple weeks:

Yes your honor, we did pick up 8 more minors going by our 'looksy test' on 5/21/08. It is accurate that Donna Jeffs Nielsen did give us her birth certificate and we put her in the 14-17 w/child group. You have to understand that they dressed so funny they all look alike and we, in good faith, suspected she was a minor, having absolutely no clues that she was over 60 years of age. That dress looks the same as all I saw at the ranch."

kbp said...

Live Report:

"FLDS member Willie Jessop said the YFZ Ranch has ordered between 500 and 600 voter registration cards to "put people in office with integrity.""

Anonymous said...

Another anonymous call?

Did Swinton obtain yet another cell phone?

Melanie said...

kbp: LOLOL

"New Information" and "Reports" can be added to the CPS buzzwords list, I think. That's all they're saying at the mo about why they're trying to head back in.

kbp said...

Reminds me of what I stated in a previous comment!
"Andrea Sloan [attorney for Sarah Cathleen Jessop Nielsen] and other lawyers for these disputed girls said Tuesday they believe CPS deliberately classified them as children so that their own investigators, together with Texas Department of Public Safety officers, could interview them without their attorney present.

Attorney Laura Shockley, who also represents disputed minors, said authorization for the interviews came from Tom Green County Assistant ****District Attorney Allison Palmer, the lead prosecutor.****"


The Rules of Conduct are a bigger worry for prosecutors after they all saw the District Attorney lose his bar license in the Duke case.

What crimes are there for the State Ag at this point?

None!

Why did Allison & her crew hand the AG the responsibility to oversee criminal charges?

I suspect there's some very questionable conduct from within her office we might hear about some day!


"It's early in the GAME..."
Allison Palmer, ADA

Melanie said...

Courtroom C from today's SanAngelo newspaper coverage:

"The state's Child Protective Services agency filed a notice of non-suit on a seventh woman, acknowledging that she is an adult...."

Melanie said...

I just thought of a question re: Annette Jeffs, who gave Judge Walthers the document agreeing not to marry off any of her daughters until they are at least 18. Can she actually be held to agreeing to do something that is extralegal? The law states that you can marry at 16 with parental permission. I know she's doing this agreement to get her children back, but could she go back later and say that she was coerced into signing off on something that goes beyond what the law says?

I'm not sure I know how to ask the question exactly how I mean, hopefully some of you do.

Anonymous said...

In Bexar County in 2006 (latest data I could find online), it looks like 106 teenagers aged 16 and younger gave birth and indicated, on their babies' birth certificates, that the fathers were more than three years older. I don't recall 106 cases prosecuting these offenders, or any cases in which girls were removed from their homes by CPS due to a teen pregnancy.

kbp said...

Picture of men at gate

...another

...and another
"Rod Parker, a lawyer for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, said two CPS employees arrived at the ranch Wednesday morning. He said the workers, who were accompanied by at least one sheriff's deputy, did not have a warrant and were denied access."

Didn't Walthers showed us she was available 24/7 for warrants when she issued that 3rd one?

Isn't that courthouse not to far away packed full of judges who could sign a warrant?

Wasn't it a CPS worker named Voss that told us how scary it was on that ranch around those terrible men?

So why did the CPS workers only take one or a few rodeo hands with them?

Why was the press there, ready, willing and able to take photos and report the bad guys won't let them in?

Could this be another convenient play by the CPS to deflect attention back on the terrible ranch abusive, funny dressed mothers can't live at anymore?

Anonymous said...

He was giving the interview at the end of 2004. This Nation will stay sick at the core without admission of crimes and trials to bring the truth to the American people. Glenn Beck of CNN Headline News even though he is a professed Libertarian has equated Ron Paul supporters with Timothy McVeigh, and he has indicated that we are at least part of the "enemy within"; that we may be terrorists in the making. The fear-whip was frothy and thick. He warned Americans about our dangerous Ron Paul Revolution, and seemed to postulate that we were trying to undermine and destroy America. These type of people would be having us rounded up during Marshall law or even under the new bill 1955 or 1959- known as both. Wriet you senator to vote NAY- it has been dubbed the THOUGHT CRIME BILL
Closing down an open society and subverting the rule of law

If you dont have speakers, go get some today !
Texan Alex Jones radio-interview with Stanley Hilton, erosian of rights in America and intimidation of judges from the top

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