Thursday, May 15, 2008

Speak for Yourself: FLDS voices trickling into the blogosphere in response to YFZ raid; most Grits readers say 'send kids home'

Not surpirsingly, I suppose, given the stances I've taken on this blog, 75% of Grits readers who responded to last week's survey (out of 465 respondents) said that all or most of the FLDS kids should be sent back to their parents. Thirty two percent of readers thought all the kids should be sent home, while 43% of readers said only kids who have been physically or sexually abused should go into foster care. Since, so far, the state has accused no one of physical or sexual abuse of any YFZ child, and the rape allegations that caused the raid turned out to be a hoax, in essence most Grits readers appear to agree that nearly every FLDS kid should be sent home to their parents. Only 8% of readers thought all the kids should go into foster care, and another 7% agreed with my (I thought) facetious suggestion that the state should "Send them to good Baptist homes where they'll be taught the Christian gospel." Another 7% said each child should be asked what they want, which naturally reminded me of this 55-year old editorial cartoon.

Assuming most kids do want to go home to their parents (go ahead, trolling commenters, explain for the zillionth time how they're all suffering from "Stockholm Syndrome"), that means more than 82% of respondents think most FLDS families should be reunited.

As we await Judge Darlene Byrne's ruling today on the fate of a 22-year old FLDS woman who's been sleeping on the floor of the Austin CPS office with her newborn (see the comments re: the correction), away from her monogamous husband and two other children, I thought I'd point readers to a number of interesting items I'd seen or read lately about this enormous mess:

First, I'm glad to see FLDS members themselves are beginning to speak up in the blogsophere and on the web, beginning with interesting posts from "Pligchild" at FLDS View, including:
It's sad that it took such a tragedy to bring FLDS voices out into the open, but I think we benefit a lot from hearing people speak up directly for themselves.

Similarly, see the "open letter" to Gov. Perry and Judge Walther from an octogenarian YFZ Ranch resident Samuel Roundy on the hopefully named website, Truth Will Prevail. Somebody needs to set Mr. Roundy up on a blog, pronto; I want to hear more of what he has to say about his religion and what's going on with the YFZ kids. Reporters, too, IMO should locate Mr. Roundy and put them on their contact list when discussing FLDS views. A lot of folks with hostile (or mercenary) intentions appear happy to accuse the group of countenancing every form of evil imaginable, and those views can't be effectively nuanced unless folks like Mr. Roundy, who have the ability and motivation to speak articulately in defense of their own rights, are given the chance to do so.

At CaptiveFLDSChildren.org, a site hosted by FLDS itself, the group posted children's usual daily schedules and activities for social workers who asked for information about their usual routines. Interesting reading, mostly for its utter normalcy and ultra-religiosity.

Beyond the FLDS itself, at the FAIR Blog (dedicated to "Defending Mormonism") I saw a fascinating historical discussion of the question of "Lost Boys" that's well worth a read. Another Mormon blogger quotes Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn from Gulag Archipelago, comparing the Soviet writer's predicament fighting public opinion and the state behemoth to that faced by fundamentalist Mormons in Texas. A related piece worth reading: Monogamist Pot, Meet Polygamist Kettle.

From Introspections of a Plural Wife (at Heart), we see an account of a Today Show appearance by FLDS members who explained the phony basis for state allegations about teen mothers at the ranch:
One mother said that she has a daughter in state custody who is 23, but who the state of Texas insists is 15 or 16 years old. She says her daughter has a birth certificate and a driver's license, and that she herself submitted her own driver's license and attested to her daughter's age, but the state will not accept any of the identification as legitimate.

What other kind of evidence can any person offer as to the age of an individual? Age is not something that DNA can establish.
She's right about that. If DNA can't tell age, you won't accept documentary evidence (like a Texas driver's license) and your abuse case is premised on the idea that the women are lying so you can't use their testimony, how can the state prove anything one way or another?

Finally, since fundamentalist Mormon polygamy for most of us is an alien concept, I wanted to share this extensive chronology of federal legislation on polygamy.

This story is rapidly ballooning beyond my own ability to track all of its various moving parts, so I'm really glad to see so many voices chiming in.

MORE: From The Common Room.

72 comments:

blog648 said...

Grits for Breakfast hits another home run regarding the YFZ Debacle.

Where the heck did you find that photo? It looks like a phone/camera image made on the sly.

Have you got a secret "inside source"?

David said...

grits,

It is hard enough for those of us trying to defend the FLDS without using over the top rhetoric. The mother and baby did not spend the night in the CPS office. True, they were there temporarily and there was an air mattress provided. But they were moved that night to a foster home.

That should be enough to get people's ire up - but it hasn't and I can see why you used the hyperbole. But it only de-legitimizes the argument.

I don't understand why people do not care that this mother and child were forced out of the birthing center within hours. It boggles the mind.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

David, if she was moved out of the CPS offices before nightfall (even though she should never have been taken there in the first place), I apologize for the error based on initial reports. Now will CPS apologize, I wonder, for removing her from the hospital? Or for seizing her kids and creating this clusterf%$#k?

To blog648, I found the image on captivefldschildren.org website.

Anonymous said...

*For the black race, they must overcome the curse they were born with. For us, we must live up to, or overcome our heritage also. The black race cannot be a part of the Priesthood family in this life, but we hope to see as many as will pass their own trials and purify their own lives in the highest heaven too. I believe there will be many.* -- from the Five Lies Grits linked to.

Now we all know that they're not white supremacists. They only pity and love the poor flawed and cursed black folk who are marked with dark skin! How charitable of them to even include the blacks in the divine heirarchy that God has revealed to them through their infallible founder. How many black people are FLDS members, by the way? How many Hispanics or Asians? How many women have ever been prophets?

Yeah, this group is just swimming in free thought and universal love for mankind. They say they love other races, but God forbid they congregate or live with them.

TxBluesMan said...

Grits,

As is normal, you’ve got is all wrong... ;)

First, it was difficult, but I voted early and often to send the kids to the Baptists... (jk)

Second, the Austin CBS station is reporting that Judge Byrne has lifted the injuction against CPS removing the child, noting that “the case was out of Travis County's jurisdiction, so no injuctions could be issued.”

Pligkid (Mr. A. Holm) has his own problems. One of the reasons that he is so vocal is that he was kicked out of the FLDS for in his own words, “mistreating my wife” by “engaging in a habit of viewing things I should not have.” His sister, Flora Holm, fled the FLDS cult and he proceeded to repeatedly harass her until she finally told him not to contact her anymore. The first part is documented on his blog, the second is on his and Dr. Phils website.

I don’t know that I would count on his perspective being especially accurate or unbiased.

Third, the FLDS has a history of lying – why should we believe them now in Roundy’s letter? They admitted that they lied to the people of Eldorado (we’re building a hunting retreat), they lied about ‘tanks’ coming onto the YFZ ranch (they were personnel carriers), they lied about names and dates of birth to CPS workers, and they speak about ‘lying for the Lord.’ The last is a long-term practice, not just of the FLDS, but of the early LDS.

The FLDS does not have a right to violate the laws of the state – and the state has an interest in making sure that law-breakers are held accountable.

Let’s see what happens in the courts rather than playing this out on the internet – I am confident that it will turn out that the warrants will be upheld, that they children will continue to be protected, and that those that have committed crimes will be held to account.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To anon 4:44, what does the group's views on race have to do with allegations of child abuse? How many racists in Texas get to keep their kids, for heaven's sake?

FLDS doesn't have to be "swimming in free thought" for free thinkers to believe they should be entitled to their beliefs. Every religion sounds absurd to every non-believer. The truth is you could easily find many similar statements derived from mainstream Mormonism, which excluded blacks before 1978.

I don't agree with most of what FLDS believes. At all. But odious or absurd views don't justify a group's persecution.

And Bluesman, all Judge Byrne said was she had no jurisdiction, but suggested the same injunction could be pursued in San Antonio. The judge handling those cases there this week overruled CPS to allow FLDS parents daily visitation, so I don't know why you think the state's victory is so inevitable here. Their case looks weaker every day.

Besides, do you really consider not making the distinction between an "armored personnel carrier" and a "tank" is a lie? And since when does anyone purchasing property have to inform their neighbors what they plan to legally build on it?

By comparison, how many much more important lies has CPS told during this mess? To the parents, the kids, the media, you name it. Worse, they suborned lies by telling women they could only stay with their kids if they said they were underage.

Bottom line: No charges have been filed. There is no complaining victim. The original warrant was dismissed. The raid was based on a hoax. The public lie that 60% of teen girls were moms is about to fall apart. So I agree, let's see what the courts do, bluesy. Their argument for keeping the kids is based not on abuse but the parents' beliefs, which are not among the reasons DFPS is allowed to take kids. I see no legitimate basis for the courts upholding what CPS has done, and you just repeating they were right over and over doesn't change that.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

One more thing, bluesy, I didn't link to Mr. Holm or other FLDS sources because I think they're all accurate or unbiased. Nor do I find your views particularly neutral or evenhanded. All sides deserve to be aired, however. FLDS should get to say what they believe for themselves, IMO, instead of solely having their critics and the media gawkers define them.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Fwiw, she didn't have her baby in a hospital, but at a birthing center. I do not know how long birthing centers typically keep new mothers in Texas. In generally, I am familiar with them as alternatives to home-births, where mothers get to leave as soon as they want.
I don't know if Louisa wanted to leave of if CPS rushed her along.

Anonymous said...

Is it "Standard Procedure" for CPS to arrange for pregnant mothers in their care to go to "Birthing Centers"?

The more I learn, the better I understand that CPS does whatever they want with no regard for the facts.

Texas needs a big dose of common sense. The sooner they get it, the better off everyone will be.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

I don't know what CPS standard procedure is, but I would bet Louisa preferred the birthing center to the hospital. I would.
But then, I'm a home birth proponent myself, and I would guess the FLDS are, too.

doran williams said...

Grits.

txbluesman* can certainly be irritating. (He?) (she?) (it?) has an excellent talent at smoothing out blemishes in the State's case, at glossing over fundamental problems with the State's case, at concealing ugly facts, and at burnishing a facade of legal competence. If (he) (she) (it) had gone into the business of applying stucco and plaster, instead of trying to practice law, (his) (her) (its) services would be in great demand.

But what else can you expect from someone who is as conflicted as txbluesperson is? According to his, her or its posting on coram non judice, txbluesperson believes limited government is the best government, but supports a law and order approach. (he) (she) (it) is a strict constructionist, but clearly has no problem with the ongoing and almost complete destruction of the Fourth Amendment by the Courts. He doesn't care what someone believes, but is comfortable with the State of Texas taking children from their parents because of the parents' religious beliefs. Strict construction of the First Amendment be damned, I suppose.

This person -- txbluesperson -- is a very conflicted and confused person. Once you understand why (he) (she) (it) is the way (he) (she) (it) is, (his) (her) (its) mutterings become understandable and less irritating.

Just in case folks are not familiar with the Fourth Amendment, here it is in its entirety, drafted by much better, more learned, and more freedom minded men than Tx:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

These words and the limit on government action established by this wonderful language, were designed in the context of armed soldiers of the King crashing through gates, breaking into homes, rampaging through houses, papers, and effects, and arresting people without any reason to do so.

I have to agree with txbluesperson that the warrants, authorizing armed agents of the State of Texas to crash through the YFZ gate, to knock down doors to homes there, to take whatever looked to an individual officer as though it might be "evidence," etc. will be upheld. Not because the warrants were supported by probable cause, which the first warrant certainly was not, and not because the warrants were supported by a true oath, because there was much dissembling by Ranger Long, but because State and Federal Courts, with the tacit approval of authoritarians, Anti-Libertarians, bigots, and racists at all levels of government, have been working since the days of J.Edgar Hoover to nullify the Fourth Amendment without actually going through an amending procedure. And they have just about succeeded. Due in large part to people like tx, who " tend to support a law and order approach."

*Until tx comes out from behind his, or her, or its, nom de plume (a form of lying, I want to point out), I cannot determine his or her gender, or lack thereof, and will hence forth refer to tx as "person."

Txbluesperson obviously wants to create a reputation as someone who knows the law and can predict future judicial decisions. When we add this conceit to txperson's apparent belief in being omniscent, the tax on tx's credibility just becomes too onerous. We have no basis for believing much about what txperson says about the law or about the facts. How can we take what a person says on such sensitive and complex subjects, when that person will not reveal his or her true identity? This is not Hollywood, you know: The Lone Ranger went out of style years ago. As did Batman and Robin.

C'mon out tx, it can't be that difficult.

Gerl said...

After a full month of complicit silence, today, Texas governor, Rick Perry, defends the actions of his state workers–Child Protective Services, law enforcement, and other agencies. Salt Lake Tribune Full Report

Throughout history, numerous US presidents have sent federal troops to states to protect and safeguard civil rights. Just ‘google.’

ACTION:

Email/call your US senators and house reps. in every state.

They have all sworn to uphold the Constitution and civil rights.

Demand that each senator and congressman order president, G.W. Bush, to send in federal troops into Texas to : 1) arrest TX state workers (to include Rick Perry) who have violated civil rights, due process and more, and have kidnapped 465 children (a felony) and are abusing FLDS women & children and 2) to return innocent women and children to their homes and 3) to hold congressional hearings on how this can happen in America.

In addition, billions of YOUR federal tax dollars are funding all state CPS kidnapping schemes–including Texas.

Demand that your reps. and G.W. Bush send federal troops to stop this terrorism immediately–or resign for violating their oaths of office.

This is particularly important to send to: Senator Hilliary Rodham Clinton, Sen. Barrack Hussein Obama and Sen. John McCain—who are silent on this matter–while having the gaul to run for president.

1) Here’s some data–TX comptroller’s report children are raped, die in Tx CPS custody daily. Full Report Carole Keeton Strayhorn .

2) Remember the First Baptist Church buses who hauled children away? Well, TX baptist (oversaw gulags shelters) and BFCS -Baptist Family Children Services (and other baptist orgs.) have kids in custody, as TX contracts out its adoption/foster programs. Baptist Press Full Report

3) Here is TX Baptist’s sexual abuse of children: Dallas Morning News Full Report

4) COMMISSIONER COCKERELL (OVER CPS) who testified before the TX senate committee alleging FLDS abuse–he himself is under suit for being responsible for a TX worker convicted of rape of youths in a TX facility that Cockerell oversees–cover up too suit says. San Antonio Full Report

Demand your reps. and G.W. Bush to send federal troops to stop this terrorism immediately–or resign.

TxBluesMan said...

Grits,

A minor correction, if I may. The original arrest warrant was withdrawn at the request of law enforcement, not dismissed which carries a different implication.

As to the lies? I’ll grant the possible confusion about the tank vs. the personnel carrier, but won’t budge on what I think on the other lies. You are correct that they don’t have to tell anyone what they intended to do with the property, but they made a conscious decision to tell a lie about it rather than keeping their mouths shut. In addition, court testimony showed that the children “continued to provide investigators with different names” (CPS Response to Amended Petition) (internal cites omitted). This is indicative of the lies that the FLDS was telling, and continues to tell to whoever will listen.

You also speak of the lack of criminal charges, but you of all people should applaud law enforcement for not rushing to file a case until the investigation is complete. Don’t you want a thorough investigation? Correct me if I’m wrong, but it was my impression that you have in the past called for complete, thorough investigations before people are charged with a crime. You don’t want it to depend on just one person, sick with leukemia to be the one overseeing the investigation do you?

Besides that, the next time that the court is in session in Schleicher County is on the first Monday in October, which is normally when the next Grand Jury would be impaneled. We know that there is already plenty of evidence of crimes being committed, from the evidence introduced in the Adversary Hearing, as follows:

A 16-year old girl, Sarah Elizabeth Johnson who has a 5-month old baby and is married to a 23-year old man.

Suzanne Johnson is a 17-year old girl with a 1-year old son.

The Bishop’s records showed two 16-year old that conceived, two 15-year olds, and one 13-year old.

Merilyn Jeffs testified that her 19-year old sister had a 2-year old child, which indicates a possibility that the sister was 16 when she conceived. She testified to a second, 18-year old sister with a walking child, also showing a possibility of an underage minor conceiving.

Lucille Nielson testified to committing Bigamy with Jim Jessop.

Just in the current record is an indication that you will see prosecutions for up to 2 counts of Bigamy, 8 possible counts of Sexual Assault of a Child, and 1 count of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.

You know as well as I do that you do not have to have a complaining witness to have a crime. You know as well as I do, that you do not want the police to rush the investigation, but to make sure that they get all of the facts correct. You know as well as I do that there will be criminal charges out of this, and probably a lot of charges.

You may not agree with it (why am I not surprised), but there is plenty of evidence to support what CPS has done, regardless of your denials.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bluesman, there's not evidence for most of these kids. Name specific kids, make specific cases. Don't seize 400+. You're just wrong that the law supports that based on the claims you've made.

As for Doran's comments, bluesman has told us what kind of law he practices (representing cops in civil service disputes) which narrows his identity to a handful of lawyers in the state (nearly all men, btw). If I cared to take an educated guess I could parse it a little closer from a few specific comments, but folks who do that for a living have a certain "defend state authority" perspective that's pretty well ingrained.

I don't think bluesman is disingenuous, he's just calling the shots as he sees them. Unfortunately, folks in his line of work tend to view the world incredibly myopically, as though they're looking through the wrong end of a telescope. So what he sees isn't all there is, particularly if he'd just open the other eye and take a step back. ;)

Gerl said...

LINKS TO ABOVE DISCUSSION

Rick Perry defends his workers:

http://www.sltrib.com/ci_9271334

Comptroller Keeton-Strayhorn's CPS Report- children poisoned, raped, killed in custody.

http://www.window.state.tx.us/news/60623statement.html

Baptist Kidnappers

http://www.abpnews.com/3120.article

Baptist history of child sexual abuse

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/religion/stories/060607dnmetbaptistabuse.3748e50.html

CPS commissioner Cockerell- being sued for state worker convicted of sexually abusing youths, with subsequent cover up.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA021608.01B.immig-childabuse.3689173.html

Anonymous said...

Doran williams, get over it. Other commenters on this site owe you nothing except basic respect. They don't owe you the disclosure of their identities, especially when this site heavily relies on links to pages full of hearsay and biased information from all sides. It's not as though the internet itself is infallible and txbluesman is somehow sullying its fine reputation. If you want to take txbluesman or any other individual to task based on the facts, go ahead, but ad hominem attacks based on anonymity are irrelevant. There are other commenters on this blog whose descriptions of themselves are highly suspect, but you're only going after someone who disagrees with you.

TxBluesMan said...

Doran said:

txbluesman* can certainly be irritating

Thanks.

Unfortunately, after that, your post goes downhill. ;)

I am a strict constructionalist, which is why I believe that the Courts have properly ruled on the Fourth Amendment, with one exception. There is no basis in the Constitution for the Exclusionary Rule. If we are seekers after the truth in our search for justice, we should allow all the evidence in, and then punish or try any officer(s) that have violated someone’s rights. England does it that way with no problems – see Elias v Pasmore, 2 K.B. 164 (1934).

That is also why I believe in punishing peoples actions, not their beliefs – but I’ll not bore you with the same old quotes from Thomas Jefferson on the issue. Nothing in the First Amendment states that one can violate general criminal laws on the basis of religion, nor is there any basis for allowing that anywhere else in the Constitution.

As to my nom-de-plume? Sorry, but I am much too good looking to publically state who I am – I would be mobbed…. (or lynched, I forget which it is…) LOL

Besides, now you can tell me why the Exclusionary Rule is supportable under a Strict Constructionalist view, which you claim to have…

TxBluesMan said...

Grits,

Thanks. "Ingrained" might be a tad mild though...

Anonymous said...

Typical of a Gestapo-wanna-be. Without the exclusionary rule, the Fourth Amendment would be a right without a remedy. How often did the rogue law-enforcement types get taken to trial or punished before the exclusionary rule was promulgated? Of course, I bet you think that the Fourth Amendment only protects "criminals"; most of whom probably don't look like you--which makes you think that you and yours are beyond the reach of police misconduct.
I have a news flash for you, Americans were not put here to be the prey of law enforcement. If Americans wished the Fourth Amendment to be emasculated in the manner you think you want, they would have amended the Constitution.
Lately, it seem the phrase "strict constructionist" has become the code-word for intolerant authoritarianism, much as the phrase "state's rights" is the code-word for the racists and bigots.

TxBluesMan said...

Gee, Anon, most of my English friends don't seem like they are the victim of law enforcement....

They don't have the Exclusionary Rule and it works fine.

TxBluesMan said...

BTW Anon, how would they have amended the Constitution?

The Exclusionary Rule appears nowhere in it...

Ron in Houston said...

Anon 6:14 said:

The more I learn, the better I understand that CPS does whatever they want with no regard for the facts.

I think you hit the nail on the head with that comment. My personal opinion is that they get a bad case of selective perception. Since they feel they are totally acting with no malicious intent and are only there to "protect" the children, they will easily (and perhaps gullibly) accept facts that conform to their view of reality while ignoring or totally rejecting facts that don't fit with their world view.

I'm still on the fence with this case. I have doubts whether order can really be maintained in a polygamist society without either heavy handed or abusive tactics by those who hold the power. It often takes a long time to break the conspiracy of silence that comes with groups like this.

On the other hand "rounding" up people like their a bunch of cattle is a dangerous precedent to allow in a free society.

doran williams said...

I think txbluesperson is up to his, her or its usual obfuscatory tricks:

"The original arrest warrant was withdrawn at the request of law enforcement, not dismissed..."

What do you mean, it was "withdrawn": In fact, the first raid was made on the basis of that first warrant, which was based on that impressively creative (as in creative fiction) affidavit of Ranger Long.

'In addition, court testimony showed that the children “continued to provide investigators with different names...." ' So, court testimony showed a lot of things. Why do you believe one set of witnesses but not others; you were not there were you, to hear them and observe their demeanors? Were CPS witnesses really subjected to cross examination? Not to the extent that they would have been in a one-on-one, less that cattle call, fair hearing.

As to criminal charges, it may be so that the grand jury does not convene until October, although earlier someone, maybe you, said it would convene in June. In either event, if the evidence is so persuasive, as you think it is, arrests could be made, bail set, and the matter submitted to a grand jury later. That is the way it happens with child abusers in every case I've been involved in. On the other hand, if the evidence is not that persuasive, why are you beating the drums and announcing all the criminal acts that allegedly took place. Oh, right. You never mention any specific cases.

Ah, but you did mention two names, Sarah and Suzanne. How can you be so sure those were not monagamous marriages, or if they were not, that the "abuse" took place in Texas? Omniscient, of course.

And those damned Bishop Records. You are still taking those as gospel, for crying out loud. You don't even know if they can be authenticated for a criminal trial, or if a hearsay objection will be granted, but you still pimp them as irrefutable evidence. Such B.S.

You obviously want to be able to say I told you so. But, txbluesperson, I think you may be shown to be all bonnet and no scalps.

TxBluesMan said...

Doran,

What, no comment on the exclusionary rule?

Do you have any evidence that law enforcement did not request that the arrest warrant be withdrawn?

Do you have any evidence that the affidavit was 'creative fiction' as you call it? I was just wondering, since you were so concerned about hearsay, where the evidence of police misconduct is - if you do have something (admissible, that is) please share it with us.

As for who I'm believing? I'm believing the judge, who was there and heard the oral testimony and observed the demeanor of the witnesses, who could gauge their credibility. I read the record in a manner that supports her finding, just as an appellate court will do.

In that testimony, the FLDS mothers made statements that supported the CPS position. Reading it in the light most favorable to the decision, it appears that there is plenty of support for her decision, and you and I both know that mandamus will not lie in this case.

And you go back to the Bishop's Records as hearsay - I referred to them as part of the record of the hearing, where they were in fact admitted into evidence.

But I would still like to hear your thoughts on the Exclusionary Rule, and exactly where it appears in the Constitution...

P.S., my tribe didn't typically wear war (or other) bonnets...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

The exclusionary rule doesn't appear in the Constitution, bluesman, but it may well be inscribed on the tombstone of any criminal allegations that might have come from this fiasco.

We're what, 38 days in and no criminal charges? No complaining witness. Original charges a hoax. And I think, bluesman, you're downplaying the fact they knew the allegations against Dale Barlow couldn't be true before the raid. There's more to the pre-raid story than has come out so far and most of the possible story lines (e.g., like book sale timing by an informant) don't bode well for the search warrant.

doran williams said...

Tx.

You brought up and asserted that the first warrant was withdrawn. Where is your support in documents or facts for your assertion? I have not asserted that it was not withdrawn. I pointed out that it was served and acted upon. Not even a nice try.....

I have an opinion that the warrant was loaded with fiction. I don't need "evidence" because I'm not an attorney for either of the parties. I will be glad to draft a critique/brief against the affidavit for you to use as a foil, so you can become familiar with the inherent problems with that affidavit and formulate arguments in support of it. However, I don't do that kind of work for free. You know who I am and how to contact me by mail. Send me a retainer in the form of a cashier's check in the amount of $2,500.00 and I will get started on it immediately. If the retainer is exhausted before I've completed the brief, I will expect another. I charge for this kind of work at the rate of $250.00 per hour. Put up or shut up.

Did you really read a transcript of the hearing and puruse the exhibits? Tell the truth, now.

My comments about the Bishops Records were in the context of all those criminal trials you predict. But as for Judge Walther's order, it is my understanding that the Bishops Records were stashed in one of the many boxes of records, and not even taken out until after the hearing. Have you any reason, based upon facts, to say otherwise?

The exclusionary rule is implicit in the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth is not precatory; it is not a suggestion that police be nice and get a warrant supported by probable cause. If the rule were not enforced, and some poor innocent slob goes to prison for years, or to the gas chamber as a result of an illegal search and arrest, it does him or her no good at all for the cop to get prosecuted for a misdemeanor and get a slap on the hand. Or the butt. Even you should be able to understand that.

I look forward to receiving your check.

Anonymous said...

Grits, do you think there's any possibility or likelihood that various forms of abuse occur in remote FLDS sects just as abuse crops up and flourishes in our prisons because their leaders and surrounding prison towns don't crack down on these authoritarian, isolated prisons?

Do you think the women who have left the FLDS who tell of the abuse they experienced are lying or exaggerating? Do you consider prison employees who are whistle blowers mere disgruntled employees who are complaining for self benefit?

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

"The Bishop’s records showed two 16-year old that conceived, two 15-year olds, and one 13-year old."

Where is this 13 year old? I can't figure out where this comes from the Bishop's Records.
There must be some part, since the SlTrib, which has seen them, says the only 13 y.o. who conceived happened in the '90s, but CPS didn't share that detail.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To 10:06 - "any possibility or likelihood"

Sure. But the actual complaint was a hoax.

I don't discount the stories of those who left, but would you judge the Catholic Church child abuse scandal only by statements from angry former Catholics, discounting on their face opinions from people who remained in the church?

I don't doubt that some of bluesman's police clients may commit brutality, e.g., but I don't assume that means every cop would do so. The same goes for these folks.

Anonymous said...

I don't discount the stories of those who left, but would you judge the Catholic Church child abuse scandal only by statements from angry former Catholics, discounting on their face opinions from people who remained in the church?

It depends, and it's pointless to refer to these ex-members as "angry." Someone who suffered abuse may very well be angry. That doesn't mean they're dishonest. You do not have to be emotionless to be honest.

If the Catholic church completely denied any abuses occurred after so many people made outcries, of course I wouldn't believe them. Human nature shapes human organizations, and they will always contain some abusive, controlling, or manipulative personalities. Being a member of the Catholic or FLDS church does not remove all character flaws or psychoses. Not only would I not believe them, I would think they're intentionally lying, not merely ignorant, because no organization is perfect, and they all have skeletons in their closets.

If powerful church leaders admitted they knew abuses occurred, but never reported them to authorities, I'd think they're cowardly, irresponsible sacks of garbage. If current members denied all abuse and said that all the outcrying victims were liars, I'd think their egos and brains need to be checked. And I'd feel the same way about FLDS members who witnessed abuse but never reported it, only, I might be more understanding because members know so little of the world around them that you can't completely blame them.

If the Catholic members admitted abuses occurred and that they tried to report them, but were silenced, shunned, or threatened, I'd be sympathetic and understand how hard it is to fight a stacked system. I'd feel the same for FLDS members.

Has any current FLDS member admitted that their organization is not perfect in its treatment of children and women? Ex-members have a lot to say about the subject. It's not possible that only the ex-members are the liars or storytellers in this situation, and you usually question the motivations or accounts of ex-members, as though current members are superior in their honesty and objectivity. You may think it's a good sign that no current members are reporting abuse, but be honest. You think a cloistered organization that large had only peaceful, docile, fair and considerate members, especially given the history of the organization and its imprisoned prophet and his family?

Here's a link to a site that has audio recordings of Warren and Rulon Jeffs during a sermon (hating on Blacks and openly defying state authorities, no less).

http://www.myeldorado.net/
YFZ%20Pages/YFZ040305.html

Anonymous said...

http://www.myeldorado.net/YFZ%20Pages/
YFZ111804.html

Silence doesn't mean absence of abuse.

Fred said...

There is no provision in the Consitution for a police force. Under Tx's plan, he will be out of job.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

I've seen comments by more than one person who says they are currently FLDS admitting that sometimes people in the community fail. Right now, however, they are under siege, and it would be madness to give any evidence into CPS hands.
I've read several currently FLDS (or so they say) who have said that FLora Jessop's father was abusive, and they are sorry for what happened to her.

It also makes sense to me that those who leave would be the ones who had the worst experiences- if you're happy with your life, you don't usually leave.

And I really don't get what point people are making linking to Jeff's anti-black sermons. Since when was being a bigot cause for taking away somebody's children?
Since when was having a *preacher* who is a bigot cause for taking away somebody ELSE'S children?

So? There are aspects of FLDS teachings and practices I totally disagree with, and even disapprove of. That's not justification for removing all the children and other subsequent CPS actions.

kbp said...

TBM (Numbers added for convenience)
"...We know that there is already plenty of evidence of crimes being committed, from the evidence introduced in the Adversary Hearing, as follows:

1 - A 16-year old girl, Sarah Elizabeth Johnson who has a 5-month old baby and is married to a 23-year old man.

2 - Suzanne Johnson is a 17-year old girl with a 1-year old son.

3 - The Bishop’s records showed two 16-year old that conceived, two 15-year olds, and one 13-year old.

4 - Merilyn Jeffs testified that her 19-year old sister had a 2-year old child, which indicates a possibility that the sister was 16 when she conceived.

5 - [Merilyn Jeffs] testified to a second, 18-year old sister with a walking child, also showing a possibility of an underage minor conceiving.

6 - Lucille Nielson testified to committing Bigamy with Jim Jessop.

7 - Just in the current record is an indication that you will see prosecutions for up to 2 counts of Bigamy, 8 possible counts of Sexual Assault of a Child, and 1 count of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.


Bishop's Records show:
1 - Sarah Johnson Niesen 47 YO (Page 14, Line 11), Sarah Elizabeth Johnson Wayman 56 YO (Page 16, Line 29), Sarah E. Jessop 17 YO (former Johnson?) wife of Dan Jessup 21 YO, No children as of 3/24/07 (Page 28)

2 - Only record close was Page 40, Left Column, #20. "Suzan: Born 03-14-99

3 - I have been through it numerous times. None shown I could find that matched this claim. Maybe figure backwards from records of "06-09-0", on Page 40. I welcome someone to show me what I may have missed. My guess is that TRLA either has more records we don't or they went along not caring, because a few records would not alter their argument any at all.

4 - Then there is a possibility they should investigate to see if such is accurate, and maybe fish through all records in the state that resemble that big maybe.

5. Same as #4.

6 - Lucille Jessup Johnson Niesen 60 YO (There evidently is not a crime committed in Texas as far as any marriage to Jim JESSOP is concerned)

7 - ALL YOU HAVE IS A little possibility GOING OFF THOSE RECORDS YOU NOTED,WHICH IS STILL SHORT OF COVERING ALL 464 PETITION SUITS.


Comments later:
If we are seekers after the truth in our search for justice, we should allow all the evidence in, and then punish or try any officer(s) that have violated someone’s rights.

Then you'd need the resources to enforce such, strict sentencing for the conduct that violates rights, and get rid of all absolute or qualified immunity, as we'd be idiots to trust those involved with the responsibility of them to policing themselves.


Do you have any evidence that law enforcement did not request that the arrest warrant be withdrawn?

FWIW, the official announcement is it was not active, but not withdrawn. That followed many reports the warrant was dropped, at which time I posted asking "WTH was that about".


Do you have any evidence that the affidavit was 'creative fiction' as you call it?

Was that the affidavit that came FIVE DAYS LATER which forgot to go after the charge resulting from Sarah's life being in danger?


As for who I'm believing? I'm believing the judge... I read the record in a manner that supports her finding...

How can you believe a judge absent seeing why she gave such an Order, one of us have seen?

Do you ALWAYS believe the Judge?


In that testimony, the FLDS mothers made statements that supported the CPS position.

Mothers of 464 children, including one of a 5 YO boy with Down's syndrome?


FYI
If you read the Bishop's Records, it would become clear that many women (some children) use multiple last names. I'm guessing from divorces (or whatever), but it looks like one could use any of multiple last names without actually telling a lie. One I noticed had the last names of; Steed, Johnson, Jessup and Nielsen (Page 14, Line 5). So it is weak to classify what young kids tell as their last names as a lie.

kbp said...

HM
Since when was having a *preacher* who is a bigot cause for taking away somebody ELSE'S children?

Lookout followers of Wright!! ;)



Anon,
All have to admit we can't prove there never has been any abuse, nor can you prove all are guilty of it.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

So it is weak to classify what young kids tell as their last names as a lie.

No kidding. Until he was about five, my son insisted that his last name was 'Roo.' This is no part of our name, it's a nickname we gave him when I was pregnant with him.
And since he and my husband share the same first name, to avoid confusion in our home, we call the boy by his middle name, never his first.
So imagine his name was James RObert Smith.
He insisted to anybody who asked that his name was Robby Roo until he was about five- wouldn't even acknowledge that the James or Smith bits had anything to do with him.
And I embarrassed myself deeply at a doctor's office once by insisting that they needed to find the records for Robby smith because James Smith was my husband and not my son.

lowery.shirley said...

We don't know everything that goes on in our neighbor's homes and it must be the same on the ranch. There may be suspicion but there are some things that kids don't even tell other family members.
We have seen what happens when authorities get a complaint. Someone may eventually get 25 years for sexual abuse of a minor. The other option is to wait 10 years and walk away without leaving a path of destruction. That is the one kids will take.

lowery.shirley said...

We don't know everything that goes on in our neighbor's homes and it must be the same on the ranch. There may be suspicion but there are some things that kids don't even tell other family members.
We have seen what happens when authorities get a complaint. Someone may eventually get 25 years for sexual abuse of a minor. The other option is to wait 10 years and walk away without leaving a path of destruction. That is the one kids will take.

doran williams said...

Ohmygawd, kbp! Is it possible that txbluesperson is making it up as he, she or it goes along???

Anonymous said...

"Has any current FLDS member admitted that their organization is not perfect in its treatment of children and women?"

Yes, I've seen several such statements, including on underage marriages where one told a reporter they'd learned from what happened with Warren Jeffs and don't do that anymore.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To 11:31 who wrote, "you usually question the motivations or accounts of ex-members, as though current members are superior in their honesty and objectivity"

That's just not true at all. About 4 or 5 ex-members have been ALL over the MSM since this thing hit, a couple of them with books to sell and organizations to fundraise for. Their views have been EXTENSIVELY aired and hardly require me to promote their opinions. But their individual stories are not every story. If your father abused you it doesn't mean mine abused me. My opinion is that those handful have been given TOO much play, that others who've left FLDS, like the guy in this example, have less obvious motivation to overhype things and their views valid, too.

A for Jeffs "openly defying" state authorities, have you ever been to a pro-life rally? Such rhetorical crap goes on all the time.

What I read from your commentary is that you assume some Catholics tried to do the right thing and you assume no FLDS people did. Neither of us know if that's true. But I submit that Catholics would have been less likely to report abuse if religious bigotry meant that doing so might mean EVERY CHILD IN THE DIOCESE would be seized by the state. What Texas is doing promotes abuse by promoting secrecy and encouraging (even soliciting) mendacity. At the end of the day this makes the group more insular, not less. It's not like they're going to give up their religion.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bluesman, I'd describe you as strict, but hardly a strict constructionist.

E.g., the law only allows CPS to seize kids in four instances:

1. an immediate danger to the physical health or safety of the child
2. the child has been the victim of sexual abuse
3. the parent or person who has possession of the child is currently using a controlled substance
4. the parent or person who has possession of the child has permitted the child to remain on premises used for the manufacture of methamphetamine

None of these remotely applies in this case, and no strict constructionist would dare claim that it does with a straight face.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Also, bluesy, how could a strict constructionist claim dozens of homes, meeting centers, work sites, a temple, etc., are all one "household"?

It's actually mind boggling to me that you consider yourself a strict constructionist. That's a pretty high level of cognitive dissonance to walk around with in your head!

kbp said...

Doran

"Ohmygawd, kbp! Is it possible that txbluesperson is making it up as he, she or it goes along???"

The Bishop's Records are the only thing I checked.

TBM is accurate in a sense, just far short of complete (I guess that's the word I'm looking for, while I have my first cup of coffee!).

If the Bishop's Records were written in 2007 (with exception for Page 40 that only shows "06-09-0" as a date), then it's looking like Texas does not have jurisdiction on any of those possible crimes TBM listed.

So the outcome of using the Bishop's Records is they are a defense in Texas to what may be a crime elsewhere, not really proof of innocence.

Either the Bishop's Record are the gospel of evidence the prosecution may use or they are of no value. Those records can't be selectively used to prove guilt, while also being ignored as records of proof certain acts could not have taken place at YFZ Ranch in Texas.

If they are accepted to be evidence, it has to go both ways, so to speak.

There may be more records I/we do not have access to that could be crucial to any charges considered.

One could argue that what was introduced at that 14 day hearing only had to meet a very low threshod of proof, nothing like a criminal case requires, but to use that argument means they have to ignore the evidence was not sufficient to take all 464 children (see next comment)

I'll say TBM posted his comments using a whole lot of suppositions.

His mindset on the matter appears to transform suspicion into guilt at times.

TexasRN said...

For about a year, my daughter insisted her name was "Pearl" - where that came from, I don't know. Young children don't necessarily know the difference between imagination and the truth. It has amazed me that the CPS has continually characterized the "victims" as liars.

kbp said...

I felt this comment should be separate of the last, though somewhat related.

Regarding evidence given at the 14 Day Hearing, from what I know of it, it actually was not really sufficient for any of the children taken, IMO. Not a single bit of evidence or any cases cited (here or at the hearing) shows how that ranch can legally be transformed into a single residence that ALL 464 children were being abused in.

They had to use the Bishop's Records to show some bad or unlawful acts it could possibly have indicated took place, acts that do not qualify as any which allows them to take the children, while IGNORING the fact those same records indicated there were multiple separate units on the YFZ Ranch the various families lived in (see after Page 40).

Voss told of all the underage girls with children or pregnant, and later under cross (I believe it was cross) she told that the "underage" applied to all households (she worded it differently).

Now, if that was to cover what's needed under 2. the child has been the victim of sexual abuse (thanks Grits), one would certainly want better proof than the infamous "CPS looksy age test" all their workers have mastered.

kbp said...

On second thought, I should back up and admit I do not know what all the INTERVIEWS (some or all in the Affidavits?) provided,

It was not clear in all of them who the source was, meaning age, etc... There could possibly have been some select instances that a few specific girls could have been taken into custody using the "looksy age test" and interviews records, but the redactions make it difficult for me to be certain.

If that combination of evidence was sufficient in any particular situations there, it still lacked covering all the children taken.

If I give weight to the claims we've seen made by defense attorneys, the evidence that supports such was not "particularized" enough, so I'd have to stick with the position taken in my last comment.

kbp said...

This head line, "State lets sect woman keep her baby", leads to an article lacking details on the topic.

Uncertain WTH there is that indicates she gets to keep the baby. Reads like she would be in the same boat as all other mothers nursing their babies that are under 12 months old.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

She is in a slightly better situation than the other nursing mothers. She also gets to stay with her other two children.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

The Eldorado Success has posted a list of children in a legal notice the state is issuing to all the parents. Maybe somebody else can figure out the math.
It lists, by name, 125 children. Then it says:
# 2902 IN THE INTEREST OF 330 CHILDREN FROM THE YFZ RANCH

# 2903 IN THE INTEREST OF 16 CHILDREN FROM THE YFZ RANCH

I can't figure out any way these numbers add up to what the state has claimed they have in custody.

kbp said...

It's awfully hard to keep these stories straight. I guess the last link I posted may have been about an entirely different couple.

This link tells us that "CPS can't separate toddler from FLDS parents", while the article goes on to indicate the ruling was about the child being the one that just turned one YO.

A bit of a B***** slap on Walthers "12 month nursing" order / ruling.

kbp said...

The CPS / State has used that "# 2902 IN THE INTEREST OF 330 CHILDREN FROM THE YFZ RANCH" as their legal "catch-all" in most filings.

It evidently permits them to shuffle the count and add or subtract as they see fit, in their all-are-guilty / single household case.

Do you have a link to this notice? or is it the original Petition notice?

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Sorry, here's the link:
myeldorado.net

I've also posted the list to my blog, where it's numbered to make it easier to keep track of things.

And there's another story on Louisa Jessop which includes this absolutely rich quote:
“We’re not psychic,” said CPS lawyer Michael Shulman. “We can’t just look at people and say, ‘You’re of age, you can go.’

Dallas news reports

kbp said...

HM
I found it, Thanks!
Public Notice of May 12, 2008

kbp said...

“We’re not psychic”

Now I understand!

They are ALL prisoners because the CPS doesn't have the ability to do the "looksy age test".

While not accepting ANY ID methods, until DNA testing confirms the parentage to those they do accept the ID method from, ALL possible minors are held until they give birth and THEN the ID method is acceptable.

Much clearer now!

kbp said...

HM,
That is "rich"-er if you quote more showing the context:

"On Thursday, state lawyers acknowledged that Mr. Jessop’s wife, Louisa, is 22 and should never have been taken into state custody with the ranch’s children.

“We’re not psychic,” said CPS lawyer Michael Shulman. “We can’t just look at people and say, ‘You’re of age, you can go.’.”


So basically, the great state of Texas firmly believes all should be given the opportunity, eventually, to prove their innocence!

Anonymous said...

Morning grits,

Caught just a snip of a tv news item (Thurs eve) stating TX will or may keep custody of the kids through APRIL '09.

I do not expect the majority of parents involved to recover their children.

Anonymous said...

Grits,

I just sent you an e-mail containing an interesting document.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Interesting indeed!

Does anybody have a place to post a PDF document? I'm afraid I don't. It's kind of big - 2,259KB - but well worth it. It's a habeas petition from Gerry Goldstein for some of the monogamous FLDS moms. If you do, email me.

In any event, I'll write up some of the juicy parts soon.

kbp said...

Could go to any free storage space on the web and give us the address.

They all upload load slow, but the downloads are better!

If I was not leaving soon for camping this weekend, I'd offer one of my email addresses to share it with any that wanted it.

But, that's a bit like "if we had eggs, we could have bacon & eggs, if we had bacon'!

I don't have the PDF!

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Would The Smoking Gun post it? Somebody from one of the news sites that's been covering this?

kbp said...

Another thought;

Maybe someone could convert it to Word.

TxBluesMan said...

Fred said:

”There is no provision in the Consitution for a police force. Under Tx's plan, he will be out of job.”

Surprising me not in the least, you’re wrong.

Art. V, Sec 23 provides for the election of Sheriffs. Art. V, Sec. 18 provides for the election of constables, and Art. XVI, Sec 61 provides for the compensation of deputies. So under my plan, I would still have work....

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bluesy, the Constitution sure doesn't include chapter 143 of the local government code! I think your job's still constitutionally questionable. ;)

KBP, I emailed you the file, see what you can do with it. I also put up a new post based on one new, important fact bite from it.

kbp said...

Under your plan you'd prolly have a LOT MORE work, IF there was any
successful way of policing the police AND holding them accountable for violations!

Add "conspiracy to" in the mix and you'd need lots of help.

In your plan, is it permitted for us to violate their rights to prove they violated others?

This "plan" may be an entire new industry before we're done!

TexasRN said...

New stuff. CPS's behavior just gets stinkier and stinkier:

Disputed minors taken from state foster homes to undergo videotaped law enforcement interviews without legal counsel

And a little good news:

Court allows Pamela Jessop to stay with both her children

Pligchild said...

"His sister, Flora Holm, fled the FLDS cult and he proceeded to repeatedly harass her until she finally told him not to contact her anymore."

Ha Ha Ha That made me laugh!
My sister's name is Fawn, and I never contacted her once except through her mother. (Not that I wouldn't want to.) I definately never harassed her.

She was born prematurely on my 14th birthday, and she and her mother were both in ICU when I went to see them in the hospital. Her mother whispered to me with tubes hanging out of her mouth "Happy Birthday, Al"

Man, I miss my childhood.

Stephen said...

I'm glad I found this blog, I'll probably come back after the FLDS mess is history, until then, it provides the clearest voice.

I'm glad I'm not litigating this one on either side.

Pligchild said...

"It's sad that it took such a tragedy to bring FLDS voices out into the open"

Actually what is sad is it took a tragedy like this for people to even realize there was another side, not named "escape"

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The Pharisee said...

I just noticed this comment by Grits:

"As for Doran's comments, bluesman has told us what kind of law he practices (representing cops in civil service disputes) which narrows his identity to a handful of lawyers in the state (nearly all men, btw). If I cared to take an educated guess I could parse it a little closer from a few specific comments, but folks who do that for a living have a certain 'defend state authority' perspective that's pretty well ingrained."

Unless it is shown that there were other "personas" behind the name TxBluesMan, HE has been absolutely and firmly identified, and he's not a she nor is he a lawyer. Any "representation" he provided to others is either a lie, a misdirection followed, or not of the legal/formal variety.