I've argued previously why I think the search warrant was based on bogus information, and evidence keeps trickling out that confirms law enforcement knew or should have known the original complaint call was a hoax before they went in.
Now comes news that minor FLDS children are being interrogated by law enforcement without an attorney present, even when they ask for one, on the basis that CPS is now their legal guardian and has authority to grant consent to the questioning without counsel. ''My client told the CPS worker that she did not want to talk to her without an attorney,'' one attorney told the Houston Chronicle, ''She was told that she wasn't entitled to an attorney because it was a civil matter.''
Remember: This is all a fishing expedition. No crimes have been alleged and the only specific "abuse" cited in court by CPS is the parents' religious beliefs, from which they're being told they may have to apostatize in order to regain their kids. The complaint that brought in CPS was a hoax, and there is no complaining witness. If they find new information in interviews from a civil case will they now claim they're launching a "new" investigation based on these "consensual" interrogations? That's pretty disingenuous.
Terry McDonald, a criminal defense attorney and law professor at St. Mary's University, said it would not be illegal for Child Protective Services to interview the children without parents or attorneys present and to bring in law enforcement officers to assist.
CPS is now the children's legal guardian, McDonald noted. But what is legal may still be questionable.
"It seems to me a conflict of interest, because law enforcement and CPS have acted jointly in this case," McDonald said.
McDonald said CPS normally investigates enough to determine whether a crime has been committed against a child, then turns the case over to law enforcement for development of a criminal case. State law stipulates that children cannot be interviewed by law enforcement without an attorney or legal guardian present.
"I think you could make the argument that CPS is not acting in their capacity to protect children from abuse, but is acting as an agent of the state, as law enforcement," McDonald added. "Whether a judge would agree, I don't know."
I have no idea what's being said in those interviews, but IMO CPS is overreaching tremendously to assume law enforcement will get to use that information in any criminal proceedings. By wholesale ignoring the right to counsel for people openly asking for their attorneys, combined with the flimsy totality of the premise of the state's action in the first place, it's a safe bet some judge, somewhere, will toss out big chunks of any criminal case before it ever gets to trial. I'm not a lawyer and couldn't cite to case law, but I'll be surprised if some judge somewhere along the line doesn't agree CPS is acting as law enforcement's stalking horse.
Meanwhile, I'm angered and embarrassed for our state and nation at this news that CPS may tell FLDS parents they have to give up their religion to get their kids back, including kids who no one thinks have ever been abused. These parents are in the same predicament as Abraham in the Bible, ordered by God to slay his son Isaac: Choose between your children and your faith. What would you do?
And will God stay CPS' hand before the blade falls?
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