Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Will search warrants hold up in the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup?

It looks like we're going to get to find out if those search warrants hold up in the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup. A grand jury indicted six people yesterday including jailed FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs who's actually in Arizona. That's a far cry from the original allegations of sweeping, systematic abuse by dozens of men at the YFZ Ranch, alleged for weeks by CPS and prosecutors in the press.

92 comments:

rericson said...

I know this reply isn't on topic...I just needed/wanted somewhere public to 'cry'....
The overwhelming saddness is a physical pain.....
The abject stupidity of Texas officials is mind boggling....clearly the size of the state has a direct impact on the size of the egos contained therein......at least the egos and false pride of the empowered mediocrity.....
Please, forgive my misuse of your blog...I just needed to give voice to my visceral reaction....
There is just something so terribly, terribly wrong with consciously choosing to cause hurt to families.....especially when there are so many other viable alternatives to achieve one's goals...
amoral behavior is never, ever acceptable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Namaste said...

I personally hope the search warrants are thrown out. I will not rest until the atrocities committed by the State of Texas against these people are exposed and punished to the full extent of the law. I want to see heads roll over this abomination!!

Ron in Houston said...

Wow

People are still wrapped up in knots over this case.

I'm pretty neutral on this. I know the mindset of CPS and don't find it so surprising that they did what they did. In their minds they thought they were helping. Remember how the road to hell is paved?

I've also always believed that the FLDS aren't the most sympathetic of groups. Imagine the trauma of being a child and being reassigned to a new father because your real father pissed off some megalomaniacal prophet.

Civil rights are often quite messy.

dc said...

roninhouston...that goes to show how little you know about the FLDS and how much you do rely on the lies told by anti/ex FLDS And how un-neutral you really are.

Lucille said...

Imagine the trauma of being a child and being reassigned to a new father because your real father pissed off some megalomaniacal prophet.

Or some rabid CPS do-gooder.

Anonymous said...

Its a shame for the kids but, with regard to the adults, its hard to feel sorry for those perverts. Raising their kids in a cult commune separated from the real word is abuse in and of itself... especially since the male children are dumped off into mainstream society and are not prepared to handle it

rericson said...

I am flabbergasted at the continued naivette, given the plethora of information now available concerning the FLDS...
Clearly some folks are comfortable with forming bigoted opinions, without ever checking their validity....
I'm ready for some real ostrich-like time.......

dc said...

If anyone who had a care would look at the petition (found on www.flds.ws) they would see hundreds of signatures of FLDS men, women and children who seem to be pretty aware of what is going on in the world.

To say that we are "Raising their kids in a cult commune separated from the real word is abuse in and of itself" shows the ignorance of others, not us!

Anonymous said...

In addition to the problems associated with the warrant, there are other problems to be overcome.

First there is the issue of a "jury of peers" concept. In Schleicher County, that jury should include FLDS members!

Also, there are some serious questions about the ability of the prosecutors and judges to step outside their biased personal feelings and adhere to the law.

Getting a reasonable shot at due process in Texas is tough in the most favorable circumstances.

For the FLDS, I truly think it will be impossible.

These cases may very will go through all the appeals up to the US Supreme Court if necessary. Even at the Supreme Court level, there are questions about the ability of this country to live up to individual rights and freedom of religion.

Ron in Houston said...

Lucille

You're so right, the megalomaniacal prophet and the do gooder CPS agent are really not all that different. Both are authoritarians that seek to deprive people of their right to self determination.

dc

Are you saying that every ex FLDS person is a liar? If it were just one or two, I might believe you; however, the number is getting quite large and all the stories corroborate one another.

rericson said...

ron....far more folks leave the FLDS than those who have discovered they can be 'victims' and profit from leaving, or having left....
In fact, most of those that leave, do so on reasonable terms with their family members who choose to remain. There are many, many FLDS who have ongoing, close relationships with parents, children, auts, uncles, etc. who are not practicing FLDS....but who also do not harbor all sorts of animose toward the group, nor do they feel it is moral or ethical to capitalize on their past experiences by 'spinning' them in such a way as to feed the desire for lascivious or repugnant stories Americans are so greedy for.....
That isn't to say that their's is a perfect existance....and it isn't to say there aren't inherent problems in some of the tenets of their beliefs...at least from my personal perspective...but it is to say that there are many better options for addressing those issues than the avenue the State of Texas has chosen....
The deliberate harm that Texas has chosen to inflict on families that your governor has said he doesn't like is far more repugnant than any underage marriage in the group.....
For an elected govenor to openly not only condone, but promote, systemic persecution and bigotry in any American State in 2008 is about as criminal as it gets...where's the Grand Jury investigating the actions of the State, from the Governor on down????????????

Ron in Houston said...

rericson

No one is going to get me to defend CPS or even our current Texas government However, I think this whole, "awe shucks, the FLDS are just nice religious people" is frankly a bunch of propaganda.

Warren Jeffs had to be placed on the FBI 10 most wanted list. How do you think he evaded capture for as long as he did? He had a number of accomplices in the FLDS. Where did he get the money to remain on the run? He was bankrolled by FLDS members.

Even if you assume that the ex members have "an agenda" you still have books written by outsiders without an ax to grind that corroborate the stories of the ex communicated members.

rericson said...

ron...
I'd suggest you pay better attention to what I write...
I have consistently said I believe that there are very real issues to be addressed within the FLDS group....
I have also said, consistently, that this law and order/hang 'em high garbage is not the way to go if real, sustainable change is the goal....
I don't have an opinion on Mr. Jeffs other than how he strikes me, personally....I do however, believe if we are to see a viable shift in leadership within the group it won't be helped by outsider attacks against Mr. Jeffs....if anything, attacking him reinforces the martyr personna.....
I'm most definitely not an "aw shucks" kinda gal.....but I am of the ilk that wants to see real sustainable change occur and would rather see folks take the time to do things through a workable, concensus driven process than this media mongering craziness that hurts rather than helps......

And I'm pretty sick of the 'save the children' crap from the same folks who want to put loving parents in jail....wrest babies out of mother's arms....etc., etc.
Working to develop change from all sides, with all stakeholders having a sense of commitment and ownership in the process seems a whole lot healthier than mass production of PTSD and all sorts of other collateral damage....just doesn't grab many headlines.....

Lucille said...


Warren Jeffs had to be placed on the FBI 10 most wanted list.


He *had* to be placed on the list? He was one of the 10 most dangerous fugitives in America at the time? I highly doubt it.

Anonymous said...

nor do they feel it is moral or ethical to capitalize on their past experiences by 'spinning' them in such a way as to feed the desire for lascivious or repugnant stories Americans are so greedy for.....

Clearly some folks are comfortable with forming bigoted opinions, without ever checking their validity....

I'm ready for some real ostrich-like time.......

The deliberate harm that Texas has chosen to inflict on families that your governor has said he doesn't like is far more repugnant than any underage marriage in the group.....

I'd suggest you pay better attention to what I write...

rericson, we can all read what you're writing, and it's not coming across as reasoned or thoughtful. It's sporadic, judgmental of all Americans who are apparently stupider than you, and needlessly emotional. You're also offering apologetics for systematic child abuse that has flouted laws for generations.

You can advocate for working with FLDS members so they learn their rights and what greater society holds if they want to take advantage of it. You don't have to minimize the wrongfulness of child abuse to get that message across, nor do you need to assume that people are hateful for wanting to hold the FLDS accountable when they break laws.

Anonymous said...

People that have supported and voted for these laws and the people that promulgate them are hateful!

Ron in Houston said...

Lucille

He *had* to be placed on the list because they couldn't bring him in to face charges.

He was being secreted and moved about by members of the FLDS community. It really was just dumb luck that they caught him.

rericson - Religious people as a general rule don't change. If God tells me I'm right, then why should I change?

TxBluesMan said...

Regina,

Gov. Perry is not supporting "systemic persecution and bigotry," but is supporting the enforcement of Texas law.

I understand that you have a hard time grasping this, but there is a problem in the FLDS committing crimes against children and society. We won't condone it.

You think that our law and order approach is "crap" - do I need to remind you that it doesn't matter what you think?

Why are you so supportive of their actions that are criminal under our laws? Do we not have a right to enforce our laws?

It gets pretty tiring to have to repeatedly explain that while you certainly have the rights to your own views, that doesn't mean that we have to, nor want to, accept them, nor to take the actions that you prefer.

Our system works for us, and we have a right to handle things in the way that we see fit. There are appellate procedures that can be followed, motions that will be filed and appealed, etc.

Why not wait and see what happens by doing it our way. I can pretty much guarantee that we aren't going to do what you want us to do.

samriver said...

I think the warrants will hold up because the CPS doesn't need valid warrants. Thats why they were used in the first place.
Also: I heard once that prosecuters can indict a ham sandwich. Is that true?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bluesy, I agree with scarce little from your comment.

Were Perry, Abbott, Walther etc., "supporting the enforcement of Texas law"? No, not according to the 3rd Court. In fact, they were supporting its violation! For someone who gets so upset when commoners violate laws, I'd think that'd bother you more.

You write, "there is a problem in the FLDS committing crimes against children and society". I agree in part, but IMO the bigger immediate "problem" is you and others want to accuse them of committing crimes without evidence or justification beyond media hype and religious prejudice. It can't be repeated often enough: The call was a hoax. There is no complaining victim. Also, Warren Jeffs was already in jail - his indictment is no great feat nor extra boon to justice.

Finally, "Our system works for us" - bluesy, if you're citing the FLDS case as evidence that the system "works," you really mustn't have been paying attention these last months. It hasn't worked at all - it's a dysfunctional mess. Right?

And Sam, the reason we'll now find out about the warrants is that these are criminal cases, and there's a higher threshhold for using the info than for CPS.

Ron, I agree that civil rights are quite messy, but the question on whether the search warrants were valid IMO is not. Walther relied on the same reasoning the 3rd Court already denied her - that the whole ranch was a single household. I doubt it will pass muster; it certainly shouldn't.

Ron in Houston said...

Grits

It's pretty much an apples to oranges comparison to compare the removal of the kids to the validity of the warrants.

My understanding was that the FLDS at first consented to some sort of search and then that search gave the probable cause for the warrant. In other words, the authorities had more than just an anonymous tip as probable cause.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Ron, I don't think it's correct FLDS consented to a search. I've never seen that reported. Authorities went in with a warrant in hand for "Sara", then got another one for CPS afterward based on the "household" terminology. The second is the one under which they got the papers and information that the indictments (still sealed, btw) are based on.

Ron in Houston said...

I wonder if any of your readers can get the affidavits used to get the warrant.

Those would go a long way in getting some informed opinions about your question.

rericson said...

Bluesman...
I know it is terribly tiresome for you that I won't just 'shut up and go away'. Believe me, there are folks in Harrisburg that have felt that way for years, and years....and I'm still at the table....*smile*...and I'm still holding them accountable.....and I still have no problem looking in the mirror.....

Fact is, your system isn't working...irrespective of the FLDS issues....your CPS was in the limelight for horrific failures and abuses long before April of this year. And your death penalty practices sure as hell aren't stemming the tide of violent crime....and the fact that you're as busy as you are with bad cops sure doesn't speak to a system working "well".....
So please, please don't lecture me on what a great system you have and how well it works and how y'all like it that way...
"Y'all" are a minority.....
Most Texans are pretty angry and fed up with your 'system', it's costs...and it's ineffectiveness....
And that is not a situation singular to Texas....Our human service system(s) across the country suck....there arre pockets where the tide is changing and the numbers are proving that out.....and hopefully Texas and others will adopt some of these evidence based practices and develop their own and someday we may actually do a decent job...but right now, y'all are screwing up, big time....

And to anon who says I'm not 'reasoned or thoughtful'....hmmm......guess you must be new to this ongoing discussion....I do want to give you the benefit of the doubt....My points are extremely reasoned and thought pout...although I did take the liberty, today, of being pretty emotional, for me....
And yes, I am smarter than most concerning many of these issues...it is my profession...I have made myself smarter than the average person to be successful. There are a whole lot of things I'm dumber than a box of rocks about...but Family services and Children's Behavioral Health are areas I'm really good at.....In fact I'm one of the best family advocates you can find...there aren't many of us...a handful across the country...and we know our sh--!!!! And I'm proud of that....I do a good job representing families, both individually and systemically....

You will never, ever seeme condone or appologize for child abuse. Argue with you about it's definition, perhaps....prioritize issues and how to approach them in specific instances, absolutely....
However, everything I do in my life is about defining, creating, and supporting healthy ways for families to live and raise their children....of creating healthy communities and stop pathologizing...stop our reliance on a medical model that is bankrupting us....start reprioritizing how we spend our dollars....assume good health and build on it....sustain it....give families the opportunity to do well...when they falter support them....
Don't you dare accuse me of supporting behaviors that hurt children.....
That's where you will see blind emotionalism, followed by well sighted rage, from me.....

doran williams said...

Ron, the affidavits have been available almost since this mess was initiated. I downloaded them, printed them out, and saved them to My Documents in Adobe format. They may be at The Smoking Gun. If you can't find that site, send me an email to georgewiley@msn.com and I will send them back to you as an attachment.

Ron in Houston said...

doran

Thanks - found them. I've got a friend who's a criminal law expert and I'll run them by him.

doran williams said...

To rericson:

You are doing a great job with your comments; I find them reasoned and thoughtful when they should be, and emotional and angry when appropriate.

Don't let tx get under your skin; it isn't worth your time to deal with him. He is an admitted purveyor of lies and propaganda, a frequent spokesperson for AFATPS (Advocates For A Texas Police State), an FLDS hater, and an apologist for State generated child abuse.

He is also deeply conflicted. He carries on with an exaggerated moral outrage against alleged FLDS child abuse, but he has not a word to say against those same children being abused by government agencies like CPS, local law enforcement, and the AG's office. He believes that limited government is the best government, but he blindly supports the government's attempt to drive FLDS from the State of Texas. He believes in law and order, but not when it cuts against the official misconduct of LETs (Law Enforcement Types) who are pursuing the FLDS.

Namaste said...

Personally, I have found rericson"s, grits', and doran williams' comments to be some of THE MOST reasoned and thoughtful comments that I've read and I thank them for that.

rage said...

Gov. Perry is not supporting "systemic persecution and bigotry," but is supporting the enforcement of Texas law.

We'll see if he's so supportive when the warrants are thrown out. Because the Constitution is a set of laws that the state is bound to follow.

I understand that you have a hard time grasping this, but there is a problem in the FLDS committing crimes against children and society. We won't condone it.

Already guilty? I thought you were following the law?

You think that our law and order approach is "crap" - do I need to remind you that it doesn't matter what you think?

No, you and every other small-minded bureaucrat have the same opinion, and it is well known to the rest of us.

Why are you so supportive of their actions that are criminal under our laws? Do we not have a right to enforce our laws?

Do you have the right to change the laws to target a specific religion? To "enforce" laws by falsifying and/or delaying the disclosure of false evidence?

It gets pretty tiring to have to repeatedly explain that while you certainly have the rights to your own views, that doesn't mean that we have to, nor want to, accept them, nor to take the actions that you prefer.

It certainly is tiring. Not only do we know this already, but you would preclude our views and have already determined that their acts are illegal, without a trial, and despite (this time), all evidence to the contrary.

Our system works for us,

As long a you're not FLDS, in this case. Or any other Constitution loving American.

and we have a right to handle things in the way that we see fit.

This is the antithesis to the rule of Law.

There are appellate procedures that can be followed, motions that will be filed and appealed, etc.

Crying in our spilt milk?

Why not wait and see what happens by doing it our way.


"Trust me ma'am, I'm from the government..."

I can pretty much guarantee that we aren't going to do what you want us to do.

Follow the law? You've already made that abundantly clear.

You're just a parody of yourself now. Go away.

Anonymous said...

Anyone get the feeling the Eldorado ranch is about to forfeited?

--------------------------
Senator: Polygamous sects are 'form of organized crime'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Polygamous sects that have spread throughout the United States and beyond are "a form of organized crime," largely unchecked by law enforcement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday.

[...]

Sects such as the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have "wrongfully cloaked themselves in the trappings of religion" to conceal crimes such as bigamy, child abuse and statutory rape, the Nevada Democrat said. In such communities, teenage or preteen girls are forced to marry older men and bear their children, he said.

While those offenses are the most obvious, Reid said, other criminal conduct occurs -- "welfare fraud, tax evasion, massive corruption and strong-arm tactics to maintain what they think is the status quo."

[...]

Witnesses' testimony painted a picture of FLDS life, which they said is ruled by church leaders and punctuated by oppression and emotional abuse. Unpaid child labor is common, they alleged, and children are subjected to a woefully inadequate education while adults disregard state and federal laws.

TxBluesMan said...

Grits,

Did it really surprise you that we disagree? I may be the only one on your site that supports the prosecution of these individuals, but I’m clearly not the only one in Texas that does.

"Girls were sexually assaulted by men in the state of Texas," Abbott said. "We intend to prosecute it." (as reported by GoSanAngelo.

You claim there is no evidence – I disagree, as does the Grand Jury. Some of the evidence is already in the public realm, but most is not – but that doesn’t mean there is “no evidence.” Based on widely published reports, there is additional evidence to be presented, and presumably, additional indictments to be expected.

As far as having no complainant or victim? That is common in statutory rape (sexual assault of a child) cases. See Simpson v. State, 2008 Tex. App. LEXIS 5134 (Tex. App. Waco 2008), holding refusal of victim to testify against defendant did not render the evidence insufficient; Laredo v. State, 194 S.W.3d 637 (Tex. App. Houston 2006, pet. refused), refusal of victim to testify did not preclude other evidence from providing grounds for conviction; Leal v. State, 1998 Tex. App. LEXIS 6552 (Tex. App. Austin 1998), holding that a mother’s refusal to allow the victim to testify, where the medical exam did not show evidence of abuse, other evidence could be used to prove the offense; and Gibson & Knight v. State, 1987 Tex. App. LEXIS 7587 (Tex. App. Houston 1987), where both the mother and her boyfriend were convicted of the offense and the victim refused to testify, evidence developed by CPS was sufficient to convict.

It is also clear that when an underage girl gives birth, a sexual assault has occurred. DNA can provide that evidence necessary for conviction.

Whether the evidence gathered will survive a motion to surpress is the key question. I believe that it will be admitted, you believe that it won’t. That’s something that we’ll have to wait and see what happens in the courts – but when there is a motion to suppress, it is to suppress the very evidence that you are apparently claiming does not exist.

I also disagree that the system is a “dysfunctional mess” – the system did exactly what it was supposed to do. The relators did exactly what they were supposed to do when they disagreed with an action of the executive branch, the court agreed with them, and the executive branch complied.

As far as whether it is one household or not for the purpose of the Family Code is not necessarily germane to the search warrant. The YFZ Ranch has one owner, is fenced in, and the warrant was issued for the entire property, which is an entirely different proposition than the removal of the children.


Ron,

DPS did not have consent – they had an initial warrant to search for “Sarah” and then a subsequent warrant based on what they observed while serving the initial warrant.


Doran,

Nephew, I know you were upset from being grounded, but there is no reason to fabricate my positions. Or is it that you are still mad over being shown up on the void or voidable marriage issue? Either way, you know that my positions are disliked by enough of y’all libs that populate this board, that there is no need to fabricate additional ones – unless of course, you realize that my position is right and you have to embelish the tale to get proper attention...


Rage,

The warrants aren’t going to get thrown out. I’m also not a bureaucrat (look up the definition). No law was established targeting a specific religion. No evidence was falsified, and you cannot show that it was – and Swinton’s call is not the ‘falsification’ of evidence. You may not like the way things are going – too bad.

rericson said...

Perhaps....since we're ALL doing a bit of perhapsing, here....
Perhaps the Swinton call...and the name Swinton used was known to not be the name of any female at the YfZ ranch....That it was a carefully constructed hoax on one or more folks, yet to be disclosed, part to assure that every young person would have to be questioned....I mean if it was a real name of a real person and the authorities came to the gate and asked to see her, I'm pretty confident she would have been produced.....
So the hoax was as deliberate and structured as anyone could want it to be...
Use a false name..question every child or person who "appeared" to be a child....knowing full well some of the very, very young children would most likely identify more than one person as 'mother'.....so now you have the claim of 'lying' and duplicity.....
knowing also that the children have not been taught to lie, nor to be decietful, some of them are going to tell you what they believe to be true....i.e. so and so is 'married' to so and so....so now you have the possibility of underage marriage(s).....
So, the first raid was a deliberate set-up for the second...a set-up to create justification for getting at the documentation...the papers and computers....
Perhaps, just perhaps this was all 'stagecraft'....
Folks knew from the onset that there wasn't any real person in imminent danger....hence the easy going five days delay.....
Perhaps, and again, I say 'perhaps', Carolyn et al outdid themselves....
Thing is, when folks lay such elaborate schemes, sooner or later, someone slips up....and it all comes a tumblin' out...
And some of these naysayers don't strike me as the sharpest cutlery in the kitchen....so I'm guessing one of 'em will tell......
Then talk about 'fruit of the poisonous tree'......WAHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
Of course this is all just supposition and amateur sleuthing on my part...too many trashy mystery novels.....

TxBluesMan said...

Perhaps the moon really is made of green cheese...

There is absolutely no evidence of police misconduct, as much as some wish there were.

Ron in Houston said...

Here's my legal analysis (haven't checked with my expert friend yet, but if he says anything different I'll be certain to update)

The first search warrant for "Sarah" was based upon what appears to be a false anonymous tip. However, it still gave them the right to go in and ask for Sarah. As long as all they did was come into the place, observe and try to locate "Sarah" then there is no constitutional violation.

From the affidavits online, the second more general warrant relied upon the observations of the officers searching for Sarah and some informant who had given them reliable information in the past. We don't know if the informant was the same person filing false reports, but I don't think it really matters. The observations of the officers during the search for Sarah are sufficient probable cause to issue the second warrant.

I know I've been wrong before, but on this one I'm willing to back it up with a wager of a dinner some not too pricey restaurant of the winner's choosing.

Ron in Houston said...

rericson

Yeah, seriously, lay off the mystery novels.

Upon receiving a report of abuse, the authorities probably under the "community caretaking" function of police work could have entered into the place without a warrant.

The fact that they went the extra mile to get a warrant shows that they knew they'd better do this with an abundance of caution and "by the book."

The fact that they came back for a second warrant again shows that they knew they needed to be cautious and "by the book."

I think a lot of people are trying to judge the process by the end result of the CPS case. That is a serious logical error. You may not like the wholesale round up of the kids, but that doesn't automatically taint the process.

doran williams said...

Ron, go look at John Floyd's analysis, at www.johntfloyd.com, for April 13, 2008.

The anonymous call had to be corroborated. There was no corroboration by additional facts in the first search warrant.

The first warrant was also restricted in what was to be searched and seized.

The second search warrant was based in part on the "eyeball" test of CPS apparatchiks that there were underaged pregnant women there. That turned out not to be true.

The second warrant is a general warrant of the type prohibited by the US Constitution and, as I recall, by the Texas Constitution. It is based in part on the theory that the entire ranch was one place. This is a theory the 3rd Court of Appeals has already dismissed.

I agree with all those who say the fruits of the searches will not be suppressed. They should be, but they will not, because the same judge who was snookered by the Texas Ranger into signing the first search warrant will be the same judge to hear the motion to suppress. In any fair, civilized jurisdiction, the motion would be heard by a different judge. But we are in Texas, and it is just too much to hope for that the Judge who was snookered will have the gumption to admit to that and suppress the fruits of the search.

doran williams said...

Ron, expand on this please.

"Upon receiving a report of abuse, the authorities probably under the "community caretaking" function of police work could have entered into the place without a warrant."

I don't understand what you mean.

Keep in mind that it was five or six days after receiving the report of abuse that the search was made. That is an unusually long lag-time for CPS, given the report was of beatings and bone-breakings. CPS could have gone to the ranch immediately, with a LAT or two for safety, to inquire and to look for "Sarah." Have you any theory why that did not happen?

But I doubt that the "community caretaking function" is broad enough to justify an assault by 600 armed men plus CPS personell, based upon one report of assault.

I could be wrong: Educate me.

Ron in Houston said...

Doran

The whole purpose of the exclusionary rule is to remove the "fruit of the poison tree."

Even if we assume the first warrant was wholly invalid, that doesn't mean that observations by a trained police officer could not provide probable cause for a second warrant.

There is no "fruit" from the first warrant to be excluded.

Now the second warrant is not general. If you read it, it lists specific items to be seized.

The anonymous tip was the basis for the first warrant, the observations of the police officer and his informant were the basis for the second warrant.

i disagree with Mr. Floyd's analysis for the following reason:

While an anonymous tip is not a valid reason for a warrant, a report of child abuse is under Texas law something that the authorities are required to investigate. It's far different to give an anonymous tip that someone is dealing drugs at some house in Houston than to call the child abuse hotline and say a child is being abused at the same place. The former is not basis for a warrant; however, the second triggers an investigation required by law.

Like I said, no one likes the result with Judge Walther granting the warrant and however many people arriving in armored vehicles and taking infants from their mothers; however, that doesn't mean that the process was flawed.

doran williams said...

What we are talking about is a lack of probably cause for the first warrant. Texas law requires that a warrant be issued upon probable cause.

If your analysis is correct, then LET (law enforcement types) could enter any house, anywhere, anytime, for any reason, without a warrant, and without probable cause, take a look around, rummage through drawers, and on the basis of what they, as "trained" officers see, go get a second search warrant to search for and seize the items they saw while in the process of the first, warrantless, illegal search.

If that is the case, then what is the Fourth Amendment, and the Texas Constitution's equivalent, all about?

I don't think it works that way. The fruit of the poisonous tree was what the cops saw during thier first search under a warrant which was not supported by probable cause.

The second warrant was general in that it allowed the search of every building on a 1600 acre ranch, including all the private dwelling houses, without any support in the affidavit vis-a-vis probable cause to think there was specific incriminating evidence there. I think the warrant referred to birth records of underage girls: That was not sufficient. It in effect authorized the seizure of all birth records. It was a fishing expedition. Those are generally considered no-nos.

Do you really want to be on record as insisting that an armed assault by 600 or 700 people on the YFZ Ranch was an "investigation" of a 5-day old report of abuse by one person?????

doran williams said...

Ron, do you by chance live in an apartment complex or apartment building? One that is owned by a one person or by one corporation? If someone makes call to the child abuse hotline in Houston, claiming a child is being sexually abused in an apartment on the first floor, do you think that warrant would permit (a) searching every apartment in the building; (b) seizing bank books, computers, diaries, birth records, etc, from every apartment; and (c) holding all the men there, in the apartment house, for three days?

Just asking.....

rericson said...

And I still go back to wondering at the convenience/coincidence of the name of the girl they were ostensibly looking for sounding like a name from the group, but not a soul in the group with that exact name......boy did that allow them to open all sorts of doors......
What is the price tag, thus far????
I also keep thinking of all the good those dollars could be doing...tsk...tsk....

Oh well....I'm going back to my trashy novel de jour.....

Ron in Houston said...

doran

Are you kidding me? Illegal searches and seizures happen everyday. You basically have two answers to this stuff: 1) a section 1983 civil rights lawsuit (not a great option unless it's way way over the top) or 2) if you're charged with a crime - the exclusionary rule.

It doesn't really matter whether you or I or anyone else views it as a unified 1600 acre compound or a series of individual "apartments" on those 1600 acres. The warrant authorizes them to search the entire 1600 acres.

Before you make that argument, remember the whole compound was owned by one trust. So from a legal viewpoint it was a monolithic whole.

No, I don't live in apartment. Then again I'm not some religious person that blindly turns my property over to a trust run by some megalomanical prophet.

doran williams said...

Try to stay focused, Ron. Are you suggesting that the religious aspect of this case has a bearing on the legality of the search?

I'll change my hypothetical. Say the apartment house is owned by a trust, rather than a coropration. What difference does that make?

Remember, this was a search warrant ostensibly in response to a single complaint of child abuse. What did you find in the search warrant affidavit that established probable cause to search every home on the Ranch?

If what you found there established probable cause in this case, then a similar search warrnt could be issued to search every apartment in a monolithic multi-unit apartment house, based upon one complaint of child abuse somewhere in the apartment house. Without resorting to histrionics about megalomanical prophets, please tell me what legal difference there would be.

Ron in Houston said...

Doran

I love to say that "nothing exists in a vacuum." The "reasonableness" of a search depends upon the particular facts.

You are dealing with a group that does not believe in individual ownership of property. While my megalomanical response may have seemed like hyperbole, it really wasn't.

So, the analogy of "apartments" really doesn't make much sense. The FLDS member has no stake in their particular little place on YFZ ranch. The don't live in unit #101. They are only members of the greater whole that owns the YFZ ranch.

I'm not trying to be a jerk, but you are applying your secular view of the world to a group that doesn't share that view.

TxBluesMan said...

Ron’s correct.

Doran’s not.

Let’s go through this point by point.

First, both the U.S. (4th Amendment) and Texas (Art. I, Sec. 9) require that a search is required and must be based on probable cause.

To establish probable cause, an anonymous tip must be corroborated by the independent investigation of the police. Angulo v. State, 727 S.W.2d 276 (Tex. Crim. App. 1987), Massachusetts v. Upton, 466 U.S. 727 (1984).

The fact that a tip is false does not negate the information that the officers had at the time that established the grounds for the search. “Ultimately, the tip was false and the informant was identified. That knowledge, however, is unhelpful for determining whether the officers had reasonable suspicion ex ante.” United States v. Casper, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 15273 (5th Cir. 2008), citing Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S. 143 (1972).

In this case, an anonymous tip was phoned in, alleging abuse and providing information that could be corroborated. Law enforcement officers corroborated the information, including the description of the ranch, the apparent presence of guards that would prevent the informant from leaving, a guard tower, the existence of a suspect by name, who had been convicted of the sex offense stated by the caller, and other items that corroborated the informants tip. They then obtained a search warrant. There has been no supportable allegation that the officers misled the judge, and they executed the warrant within the time frame authorized by law.

On executing the warrant, a member of the FLDS called the suspect, and one of the officer’s talked to him on the cell phone. The officer had no means at that time of verifying the identity of the suspect or the veracity of his information, and they were in the process of executing the warrant.

Nothing has so far indicated that the warrant was not valid, that the judge was misled, or that the officers were not acting on good faith with a properly issued warrant.

The subsequent warrant is predicated on the first warrant, so if it stands, like it appears that it will, a motion to suppress the second warrant will fail.

I won’t address the one property issue – Ron has already covered that, and the property being searched was one entity – and a separate issue from the one household standard that applied to the removal of the children.

Ron, I would be too concerned about Doran’s view – he can’t provide case law to support his position, and earlier took a position that the underage marriages were legal, in direct contradiction to established Texas decisions.

doran williams said...

Ron, imagine that just down the road from the YFZ Ranch is another 1600 acre "compound." This one is The Hills of Eldorado Ranch, a full-time residential, tourist and vacation ranch owned by Engulf and Devour, Inc. It has a gate at the front which you have to have a magnetic card to open. Like many subdivisions and gated communities in Texas, there is a little dinky, architecturally ugly tower next to the gate. Inside, there are stand-alone apt. buildings, each having three or four apts in them. They are owned by the Corp, not by the occupants. Do I have all the points here covered? Just to make sure, let me say that it is exactly like the YFZ Ranch in ownership, residential living spaces, front gate, etc. etc.

Hell, lets say the FLDS sells the YFZ Ranch to some good ole boys who open a residental ranch there, renting out apts to anyone who wants them. They rename it the Hills of Eldorado Ranch. No change in the physical amenities at all.

Someone phones in an report of child abuse at the HIlls of Eldorado Ranch. If you and other advocates for a Texas police state [AFATPS] are correct, a search warrant could be issued to search every apt at the Eldorado Hills Ranch without any showing of probable cause that there is criminal activity or instruments in all those apartments.

And if that is possible, then my previous examples of an apt building being searched based on one search warrant, is also possible.

Right? If not, tell me what the distinctions are that make one search legal and the other not legal. Get some help, I don't care.

And please tell me where in the first search warrant is there corroboration of the crime alleged. All I hear from the AFATPS shills is that some physical structures clearly in view from the public road were corroborated. There is nothing that I saw in the affidavit that corroborated the alleged crime.

If I'm wrong on this, tell me and tell me why. Tell me which page on the first affidavit has that corroboration of the reported crime. Tell everyone else who can't find that corroboration. Show us where in the Affidavit there is anything at all "...helpful for determining whether the officers had reasonable suspicion ex ante.” United States v. Casper, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 15273 (5th Cir. 2008), citing Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S. 143 (1972).


Put us to shame. Shut us up.

Dare ya.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Ron, Bluesy - you're both wrong FLDS don't have their own dwellings on the ranch. Families live together and separate from other families, and the 3rd Court already ruled they weren't one household, which is what your analyses would imply. That's just flat wrong, no matter how forcefully Bluesy wants to state his positions!

Not only was the tip not corroborated, they learned that the alleged perp wasn't in Texas and even spoke to him on the phone in AZ BEFORE the raid. They knew Dale Barlow wasn't there when they went in. Bad warrant IMO - all the way around.

TxBluesMan said...

Grits,

I'm sorry, but both your facts and conclusions are in error.

There is no linkage between a household as defined in the Family Code and the scope of a Search Warrant. One is an entirely civil matter decided by SCOT, the other is criminal and decided by CCA.

Sheriff Doran spoke on the phone to Barrow while at the gate of the ranch, serving the search warrant. He did not speak to him prior to the raid, and this was clearly outlined in several news items, including the Deseret News.

The corroboration should be sufficient - look up some of the cases I've pointed out - the officers there had no more corroboration than the Rangers had, and it was held to be sufficient for a finding of probable cause.

I'm sorry, but no matter what your wishes are, those are the facts.

doran williams said...

Tx. I know it must be difficult for you to do this, being a spokesperson for Advocates For A Texas Police State [AFATPS], but take a deep breath, martial all your talents, and point out to us the places in the first affidavit by the Long Ranger where corroboration of the anonymous tip appear. Keep in mind, we are talking about corroboration of a crime, not corroborations of architectural features of the entrance. (Those features may be a crime against good taste, but thats not what we are talking about, is it?]

Anonymous said...

Blues

Several comments, first I have an apartment complex in Austin. We have 250 units a fence and security at the gates and roving patrols, plus one owner. Do we meet your definition as follows:
"As far as whether it is one household or not for the purpose of the Family Code is not necessarily germane to the search warrant. The YFZ Ranch has one owner, is fenced in, and the warrant was issued for the entire property."
If so I'd like to see CPS try to serve that warrant.

Secondly, when laws are passed to target one group or pass our judgements on a specific group of citizens. Isn't that what the constitution looked to avoid. I know the law in order types, once a law is passed, they can justify their actions and rationalize their beliefs. unfortunetly, history is full of these examples and the outcomes don't always hold up over time. for example, the laws passed to resettle the native americans were passed and executed by law and order types. After all it was the law then, we know it was wrong now. Or at least most of us do.

rericson said...

Bluesman...
You keep saying the warrant passed muster of the court...but look at which court you're talking about....it hasn't been tested in any other forum....nor before any other lower court.....
And I still have problems with the five days wait.....if exigent circumstances existed....to wit a child in IMMINENT danger....why even bother with the warrant...why not go in and SAVE her?????

If your child is in IMMINENT danger, and the police know about it, and they wait FIVE days....how happy are you going to be???????

I mean it wasn't a report of neglect, or a report of psychological abuse...or denial of deserts aftr supper...it was beatings and real, dangerous physical threat.....isn't that the stuff "exigent circumstances" is made of???????
And I'm still having problems with the fortuitousness of the 'name' of the 'victim' being so similar yet not exactly, the same as any other single individual...wasn't it convenient that the rangers et al couldn't go to the gate, ask for the child and have her produced...they HAD to go in...they HAD to talk to everyone....and wasn't it convenient that all these things just HAD to be done in the middle of the night...it was an emergency, afterall...waited five days...but couldn't wait till morning.....
What's wrong with this picture????

No one particular is, in and of itself, enough to take issue with...it's the package...too many pieces are out of sync....
This whole thing is about as kosher as a pig roast on the fourth of July......

Ron in Houston said...

Doran

I'm not trying to put anyone to shame or trying to shut anyone up.

I've given my analysis and I stand by it. The offer of the bet still stands.

Anonymous said...

The first search warrant for "Sarah" was based upon what appears to be a false anonymous tip.

Wrong.

It was not an anonymous tip. It was a false self identification. The caller identified herself as "Sarah Jessop."

This was no "Mike Hunt", "Haywood Jablowme", or "Ben Dover." This is a believable name: "Sarah" is biblical and "Jessop" is a well known FLDS surname. The warrant was correctly based on probable cause.

Suck it, perverts.

Ron in Houston said...

rericson

Religion often provokes people to violence. The FLDS believe in things like "blood atonement."

The authorities moved cautiously and deliberately to avoid another Branch Davidian showdown.

CPS then acted rashly in rounding up anyone other than post pubescent female children.

I know people don't like Bluesy because of his pro-state views; however, he does spend time researching and citing his conclusions. Whether you agree with him or not, I'd call that a valuable service.

Anonymous said...

recrison, you are aware that this wasn't the first encounter law enforcement had experienced with the FLDS in Eldorado, right? They had investigated kidnapping allegations before, and the FLDS, as a group, have established for themselves a reputation of child abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, and destruction of families who fall out of favor.

The FLDS and their reputation do not exist within a vacuum. If complaints of abuse are similar or identical to a pattern of behavior that an organized group has repeatedly engaged in, why would law enforcement treat every single complaint as though it were without context? Law enforcement has no obligation to act under an artificial veil of absolute ignorance to the benefit of the FLDS.

I don't think discussions on this site will get anywhere. Grits thinks that pregnant teenage girls automatically want and should get married for their own benefit and that girls raised on an isolated commune away from society are the same as girls who live in Texas cities, attend public schools, and have access to a variety of values and ideas. Some of the posters on this site have said that people disapprove of sexual abuse in the FLDS just because of newfangled women's rights ideals. There are also people who wrongfully believe that on average, teenagers are as mature and capable as people over 30, so forcing them into marriage is okey dokey. This kind of thinking resulted in child labor abuses in our country's history. There are also people who think that there is a difference between forced female genital mutilation for the purposes of religious or cultural ideals and forced marriage of young girls for religious or cultural ideals. In actuality, there is no difference. An individual, being forced into meeting the confines of a prescribed gender role, is being stripped of their autonomy, the right to determine their future, and their personal integrity.

It's unfortunate, but some people are comfortable, whether they realize it or not, with the oppression of women and children because they don't see it for what it is.

Whatever arguments people have over the legal procedures of this case, there will be people who have incorrect ideas about human rights, women's rights, psychology, religion, and what it means to be an individual with guaranteed, protected rights in the United States, whatever their religion. And if these people believe, deep down, that it is not absolutely morally and legally wrong, in America, to systematically steer girls into marriages and rigid, prescribed lifelong roles, especially with older men who will always have more power and resources than the girls, what can you say? It's futile. It's not a matter of law at that point, but morality and values, and some people mistakenly idealize traditionalism at the expense of human rights. They may argue procedure until they're blue in the face because they feel a core sympathy for FLDS values.

rage said...

No law was established targeting a specific religion.

So when the state rep, who sponsored the law raising the marriage age in Texas, and who represents the area where Eldorado is located, says he sponsored that law specifically because of the FLDS, you're saying that's not targeting them?

You can make lots of conclusions, but you're wrong on every point from start to finish on this one.

I'd be surprised if the warrants held up, and I'd be stunned of they weren't thrown out on appeal even if there are convictions at thr trial level.

You and Ron say there's no evidence of misconduct, and you're wrong there too. It has to be reasonably inferred at this point because the cops are concealing it. They won't be able to for long.

Ron in Houston said...

rage

I'm not afraid of saying I'm wrong. However, I can't say that until I see the evidence which the cops are hiding that apparently only you know.

Actually I do agree with you that the change of age of consent to marry does appear to be targeted at the FLDS. However, one legislators bad intent does not automatically invalidate the law.

rericson said...

Ron.....I have always appreciated Bluesman's contributions...and have publically stated so, many, many times....hell, were it not for the bluesman, many of us would not have the opportunity to drive our points home anywhere nearly as often or as eloquently as some do....

To the last anon poster to me...
Guess we better start rounding up most of the Southern Baptists, and many of the pockets of rural poverty on the dole types....and let's see, we could just build fences around some of the inner-city housing projects...we could go by percentages of single parent under age 25 unemployed on public assistance households..if more than say 75% fell into that category, well just fence 'em in...obviously they've been denied choice and exposure to your values....
And then we could go after the Masons and the K of C types....they definitly have some strange practices and beliefs.....
Let's round up all the Roman Catholics, while we're at it...they GUARANTEE eternal damnation to a whole bunch of folks in their fold if they even behave resposibly concerning birth control.....
And we could snatch a few of the Korean monks with funny clothes when we see 'em in the airports....I mean ya gotta know that if someone shaves their head and wears all that orange they've gotta be up to some sort of sinnful activity......

No one...least of all me, has ever said that the FLDS are perfect....I certainly don't plan on applying for entry into their group.....
But to believe they are isolated or unaware of opportunities, is to kid yourself.....
To compare their practices and mores to the genital mutilation in some far reaches of the globe is sensationalism.....unless of course you are talking about the Briss Ceremony in Judaism.....and somehow I think if you were to go after the American Jewish community like you're going after the FLDS you'd find out in short order just how far you were going to get....but if you want to look at a community with some pretty strong practices and expectations of their members....and some pretty horrific consequences for failing to measure up, take a walk down the streets of Williamsburg Brooklyn, but you go ahead...you keep on keepin' on with your belief that all this crap is unique to the FLDS....that every other person in America has so much more...has such a golden life...has no sheltering...no limits to their achievment of 'the American Dream'....
Or you try to tell some of your Baptist neighbors that it's perfectly acceptable for their daughter to decide to convert to Catholicism, join a cloistered convent, and wear funny clothes the retof her life.....or better yet, tell them that they are wrongly closing off avenues of choice for their daughter that they didn't allow to watch television or read comic books....and sent to a parochial school and insisted on knowing all the friends of, and that was expected to do housework and other chores and go to church multiple times a week and pray with the family daily, and have no sexual activity until marriage, and that the only viable marriage partner was someone who looked just like her.....you go ahead and change those folks....and you go ahead and tell those folks to vote for Barak Obama in November....

But then again, maybe those 'liberal' folks who allow their children exposure to all sorts of things could be the next target......hell some of those folks have the audacity to continue to love their children who are gay or lesbian....or move to San Francisco....some of them encourage their daughters to be engineers and mad scientists and never learn how to cook or clean....clearly no balance in their lives...better round 'em up....
I think there ought to be laws about how to raise our children...and a whole bigger and better kiddie police force to arrest and prosecute the violators....and I think that maybe G.W. himself, since he'll soon be unemployed...and he's a Texan, afterall, ought to be commissioned to write the rule book.....

Oh Lord!!!!
Y'all are making me lose it....and I have less than forty minutes to pull myself together and be nice to a whole lot of folks that I want something from......

Anonymous said...

rericson, only the first half of my post was directed towards you. I don't think it has much to do with what you wrote at 12:27.

doran williams said...

Ron, the problem with your analysis is that it really isn't complete. You have an opinion, which is fine, but what has your analysis turned up insofar as the Long Ranger's corroboration of criminal activity in his affidavit? All I'm asking is for you to point that out. If you've carefully analyzed the affidavit, and have reached a conclusion that corroboration was established, please point that out to us.

Ron in Houston said...

doran

I'm really not following you. What do you mean by corroboration? Of the call for the first search? As I previously said and one of the anonymous posters added, we're not even really taking about what is typically known as an "anonymous tip."

It was a report of abuse which automatically triggers an investigation as a matter of law. The person identified themselves falsely, but that wouldn't negate the first warrant.

The second warrant, with the Long affidavit, is in my mind pretty bullet proof. The warrant was based on Long's observations, on CPS interviewing children, and on information provided by an informant used by Sheriff Doran.

I'm going to run it by a Board Certified criminal lawyer who has been practicing over 30 years, but like I said, I'm confident of my analysis and am willing to enter into a wager with anyone willing to take the bet.

Doran williams said...

A search warrant is not needed to investigate a report of child abuse.

rericson said...

okay....so maybe I'm dense...
but from what I recall, the "victim" calling in to the women's hotline and to Flora, said she was using a cell phone....are the police claiming that the phone numbers she called, flora's and the women's shelter didn't have caller I.D.?
The police waited five days...they couldn't run a check on the incoming calls in that time? They couldn't isolate the towers those calls bounced off of??????
The police have no access to that technology?
They were willing to spend thousands of dollars on a visit/raid to the YfZ Ranch....to assure they didn't "create another Waco"...and they took five days to do this careful planning....but they couldn't check out the source of the calls?????.....couldn't even verify they were coming from the general geographic area the caller claimed to be in????

Texas acknowledges that they have been in a dialogue with Utah and Arizona since the sect first bought and occupied land in Texas.....Utah's A.G. came and spoke to the Texas legislature....
The Rangers et al took five days to lay careful plans for the 'raid'...but there was no time to call their friend the Utah A.G. and ask about the alledged perpetrator???Ask if Utah had any knowledge or history about this man...I thought they wanted to be well prepared....but a phone call for info would have revealed he was in Utah....and his parole officer could verify that....

Why does the word "preposterous" keep coming to mind when I hear the Texas rationale...or read the affidavit???????

I'm just wondering what kind of questions will be asked of the esteemed affiant when he's on the stand????and undeer oath...and in front of all sorts of observers...or is the court to be sealed?????? That would be a kick to try and pull off that one...oops...I forgot, there's a C.I.....gotta protect the identity of the inside informant.......hehehehehe

Ron in Houston said...

doran

You're right. However, going in with a ram and guns drawn is probably not the best approach either.

rericson

The word "preposterous" comes to mind because for whatever reason you're obviously highly emotionally upset over the end result and then go looking with that bias.

rericson said...

Ron,
Perhaps you've decided you think you know what I think....

I've been involved in countless Child Welfare cases over the years. If the authorities really believe a child is in imminent danger, whether they are or not...and irregardless of the time of day or night, if that is the belief, I have never seen them hesitate to call the local police and immediately take emergency custody....there have been times when the child, or children have been returned just hours later...but to err on the side of caution is usually not a bad idea...as long as the follow up to assure the appropriateness of the action is immediate....

And I would have far fewer problems if the whole thing played out without those five days in there....
I have a really, really hard time with the idea of a young, pregnant woman possibly being beaten and/or locked up and not responding to her for five full days......
And five days and the full power of the Texas Rangers is awsome....all sorts of things could have been verified.....
But nothing was?????????
And you say there were past investigations....so there was a working knowledge of the inside of the ranch.....there was prior knowledge of the fact that there were individual, seperate households....and based on prior investigations there was a sense of how folks there behave....

The whole debacle smells bad.....
If the real goal was to first assure the safety of one individual young woman, second to arrest her alleged abuser, and third to determine if other crimes were taking place and change that possibility...ergo protect all of the children in a long term. sustainable way...then I would think that five days to plan things could have generated something far more appropriate than what did happen....unless of course the end goal was simply to make life so hellish these weird people with their weird clothes and weird beliefs would just go away......

makes me think maybe there's something funny in the water....y'all produce G.W. and his antics and Gov. Perry and his antics...and all the little cockroach like minions following in lock-step....scary stuff....

I have several friends in the Austin area who have been telling me since this began that it was deliberate and planned as an attack on the FLDS as a people....I now realize how right they are...and these friends are native Texans...who have the good grace to be embarrassed for their state....

Ron in Houston said...

rericson

I mean no offense; however, its clear to me that this case has you highly emotionally involved.

That's OK. My only suggestion is that somewhat colors your views.

rericson said...

And Ron,
I would suggest that after working alongside, albeit in an adversarial context, CPS folks for so long a time has made you a tad too collegial and has perhaps colored your view....perhaps it has also jaded you to the point where human travesty is no longer abhorent to you....

TxBluesMan said...

Doran:

First, a warrant may issue for an entire compound or communal ranch. See United States v. Butler, 793 F.2d 951 (8th Cir. 1986), which stated:

“The general rule is that probable cause must exist to search each unit or separate residence of a multi-unit complex. This rule does not apply, however, if the premises are occupied in common or if the entire premises are suspect.”

This 8th Circuit Decision is followed in the 1st, 3rd, 7th, 8th, and 9th Circuits, with no case on point in the 5th Circuit. Given the known facts, it is clear that the entire premises was suspect. In addition, the warrant for the Branch Davidian compound in Waco covered a building with multiple dwellings, like the apartments you are so found of citing, and was upheld at the trial court level (and not appealed).

Even if the scope of the property description is too broad, the search would still be reasonable since the officer believed that it was one property with a communal living arrangement. See Maryland v. Garrison, 480 U.S. 79 (1987).

Officers are judged on the information they had “at the time they acted.” and “the police cannot reasonably know prior to their search that the warrant rests on a mistake in fact.” Garrison, supra

Even if the warrant was overly broad or lacked probable cause, the Supreme Court has a “good faith exception,” stating:

“This is particularly true, we believe, when an officer acting with objective good faith has obtained a search warrant from a judge or magistrate and acted within its scope. In most such cases, there is no police illegality and thus nothing to deter. It is the magistrate's responsibility to determine whether the officer's allegations establish probable cause and, if so, to issue a warrant comporting in form with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. In the ordinary case, an officer cannot be expected to question the magistrate's probable-cause determination or his judgment that the form of the warrant is technically sufficient. "[Once] the warrant issues, there is literally nothing more the policeman can do in seeking to comply with the law." United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984)

As to the alleged lack of corroboration, when a search warrant affidavit was deficient, as below:

“In the affidavit, an Austin police detective reported that a confidential informant ("CI") told him that Sauls lived at 5304 Towser Court and that Sauls often sold cocaine base out of a "small white four-door car with front-end damage," selling mostly in the "downtown area." The parties do not dispute that this information, standing alone, was insufficient to establish probable cause, as the affidavit contained no information corroborating the CI's veracity, reliability, or the basis of his knowledge.” United States v. Sauls, 192 Fed. Appx. 298 (5th Cir. 2006, cert. denied)

In that case, the denial of the motion to suppress was upheld by the court, finding that: “supported a good faith conclusion by an objectively reasonable officer that the affidavit on which the warrant was based was adequate to establish probable cause.” Sauls, supra, holding that the officers were entitled to the good faith exception since they were relying on the finding by the judge that probable cause existed.

The evidence from the first warrant is not going to be suppressed on Fourth Amendment grounds.

You keep going on and on about the illegality of the search, but you have provided nothing that would back that up - I have provided plenty of cites supporting my position and am curious if that is the best that the TCLU can do...


Regina,

Did you ever stop to think that they may have been concerned about a Branch Davidian type reaction from the FLDS? I can guarantee you that the Rangers thought of it, since they were called in after the fact, to clean up the ATF mess.

I know that you are a self-appointed expert, so tell me, how many Waco-style cults have you worked with? Or cults in general? There is a significant difference when you go into a cult/religious sect compound, where they believe that they are in the right, that their prophet is infallible, and that everyone else is an agent of Satan.

I also get a kick out of your throwing mud at Dubba and Perry - and basing your opinion on what Austinites think. I hate to break the news to you, but Austin is so out of touch with the rest of Texas it's not even funny - it's known as a liberal center. But if you'd rather throw mud, I would rather have a politician that acts on his beliefs, even if they may not be correct, and is straightforward on what he believes.

I could mention Budd Dwyer (thief - state Tresurer), or John Murtha (although he turned down $50K, he was interested in future offers), etc, all from Pennsylvania.

rericson said...

Bluesman,
I'm tired. It's late. I'll respond to you in the morning...just wanted to say that, knock on wood, our homegrown (Pa.) crooks and idiots have, thuis far, not supported the state's kidnapping of any children.....
I've never claimed Pa. was nirvanna personified...I KNOW ONLY TOO WELL the issues we have...unlike you, I own up to a less than perfect home state....
Sweet dreams, toots....
Oh, by the by.....I do have a few religious extremist stories to tell, but you should try walking through crack-heaven on the Lower East Side of NYC, early in the morning...before the sun comes up...all alone...not knowing if the bodies you're stepping over are sleeping drunks and junkies or dead drunks and junkies....
Now that's a situation I'm really familiar with....

Fred said...

Yeah, right, United States v. Butler, 793 F.2d 951 (8th Cir. 1986) is exactly the same.

We agree with the District Court that in the present case the warrant was as specific as it could be under the circumstances. The entire CSA compound clearly was suspect. As set forth in the affidavit accompanying the application for the search warrant, the informants stated that most of the occupants of the compound were armed and were involved in making firearms or explosives. They also stated that caches of firearms and explosives were hidden throughout the compound, including the church and the living quarters; that the stolen jewelry was distributed to a number of CSA members, each living in a different residence; and that the buildings were used as common property, with the leaders regularly making and changing housing assignments. It was impossible for the law enforcement agents to know who lived in what dwellings within the compound because there were no individual property records or deeds, nor were there postal or utility records that would identify the occupants of the residences. Because everyone living in the compound was suspected of making or possessing illegal weapons and of storing them in their residences as well as in other places within the compound, the agents were justified in searching, as the warrant specified, all buildings and dwellings in which these items could be stored.

TxBluesMan said...

Fred,

Let's look at the facts of both cases.

In the Butler case, most of the occupants of the compound were involved in firearms and explosives violations. In the FLDS case, it is well known that the sect practices bigamy and underage marriage, and that wives are 'reassigned' within the group and compound. Pretty similar facts, just different crimes.

In the Butler case, the leaders were regularly making and changing housing assignments, with no individual property records or deeds. In the FLDS case, dwellings were assigned be Warren Jeffs and Merril Jessop, with changes occurring at their whim, and the property was owned by the FLDS, not the individual families. Again, similar facts.

"Because everyone living in the compound was suspected of making or possessing illegal weapons and of storing them in their residences as well as in other places within the compound, the agents were justified in searching, as the warrant specified, all buildings and dwellings in which these items could be stored."

Because everyone living in the compound was suspected hiding the child in their residences as well as in other places within the compound, the agents were justified in searching, as the warrant specified, all buildings and dwellings in which she could be hidden.

Sorry Fred - your argument doesn't wash, it supports the contention that one warrant was appropriate.

TxBluesMan said...

Regina,

I'm glad to say that our child advocates have not yet supported the sexual abuse of children.

That is as true as your statement on kidnapping - which has not occurred in this case. Kidnapping is an unlawful abduction - the removal of the children, although held by an appellate court to be unwarranted, was not an unlawful abduction.

But if it will make you feel better, you can call it that, as long as you don't mind being called one that supports child abuse...

Neither is true, but you are starting to get shrill and illogical, which is not your normal method...and it doesn't become you as well as your more reasoned posts.

adam said...

Yes TxBlues, the seized evidence will be tossed out due to the bizarre circumstances. There is more than meets the eye to this, and strong evidence puts the "good faith" of the actors in doubt. For example, Rozita kept calling dropping hints about current activities. That indicates she was being fed information by an informant, which casts doubt on the legitimacy of the operation.
And if it can be found that Walther abused her discretion in buying the story about the "temple beds," or if it can be found that Ranger Long didn't really believe that pile of hooey, than there's your bad faith. A cop acting in bad faith, even just one, if he can be found, spoils the whole raid, since he might have compromised/planted evidence.

adam said...

TX blues man draws comparison to case law to the YFZ raid:

"Because everyone living in the compound was suspected of making or possessing illegal weapons and of storing them in their residences as well as in other places within the compound, the agents were justified in searching, as the warrant specified, all buildings and dwellings in which these items could be stored."

Because everyone living in the compound was suspected hiding the child in their residences as well as in other places within the compound, the agents were justified in searching, as the warrant specified, all buildings and dwellings in which she could be hidden.
"
<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Apples and Oranges. It's never been stated by LE that everyone at the YFZ ranch was suspected of committing underage marriages.
Your oranges in the second paragraph furthermore is not a adequate comparison, since it deals with "hiding" rather than committing some offense. No where in the affitdavits does it mention that the residents were hiding people, as if they were committing false imprisonment. No where, or perhaps you can show me. By your reasoning, it would be legitimate to, on the basis of the same broad search warrant, to search all the houses in a neighborhood, or apartments in an apartment building, if you knew they were all family members or close associates and could be hiding evidence. The above reasoning given as a basis for a house to house search on a large property is not only questionable, it wasn't even specifically profferred as a basis in the affidavits for the second warrant.

Lucille said...

It's never been stated by LE that everyone at the YFZ ranch was suspected of committing underage marriages.

It was stated at hearings they thought every child was abused. Of course, it was also stated in the documentation that they thought one year olds were potential abusers and that a 19 year old had a 13 year old daughter.

doran williams said...

tx, what does TCLU have to do with this? I'm no longer associated with that organization and have no idea how they are doing.

As for me personally, I'm doing fine. Getting a lot of free legal research done by you, for which I am suitably appreciative. However, all that dross and b.s. you send along with the case citations really sucks.

rericson said...

Okay, Bluesman....
I've slept, I've had lots of coffee, I've done some work, I've run a couple of errands....I've fed the fish, I've deadheaded the flowers.....I've intimidated some local children....(little shits pluck the ends off my azaleas as they walk past!)
So....ya did it to me again...twisted things all outta shape...granted, I was a bit testy the last couple of evenings...my plate runneth over.....
On the other hand, you and I both know that the siezing of the kids was tantamount to kidnapping.....
Thing is, you know the truth as well as anyone here.....you just seem to have some insidious need to rankle folks.....
I'm told there are some pretty effective drugs for your condition.....sodium pentothal being one that comes to mind....

Reality is the search warrant isn't going to hold up...perhaps in part...but not in totem.....

I'd love to cross your affiant....
Methinks 'candid' is not how I would describe him....
And then you have those damnable five days of prep time, again....kinda changes the position of the bar when it comes to assuring veracity and validity of the complaint....head first, based on exigent circumstances allows a pretty low bar...but FIVE DAYS??????....and huge amounts of 'known', or could be easily ascertained, info???? C'mon....you're either claiming they knowingly flaunted the law or your esteemed Rangers are a bunch of blithering idiots...can't have it both ways......

Oh, and since you're shepherdizing for us, why not post all the returns....particularly those that are on point....*smile*
I mean I understand you not wanting to give away the store...but could you try for Romes and MacIntosh instead of pineapples and cumquats.......

Let's keep things out of 'oz' for a change...you're better at the art than that....

TxBluesMan said...

Hi Ziggy (Adam):

You know, you could have used your name over at Coram Non Judice, I would have still published it - ask Hugh and Medvecky...

First, do you have any admissible, relevant evidence that law enforcement officers were acting in bad faith? Because unless you can show it, and in a way that it can get into court, your speculations are not going to matter.

As to your second post, hiding 'Sarah' would be a crime under Texas law. She stated that she wasn't being allowed to leave the compound and that there were guards to prevent that. Under Texas law, that's Unlawful Restraint, and a felony. 'Sarah' said that the elder sister-wives helped the men keep her there, and it is historically known that the FLDS used the stateline in the Short Creek area to move people out of the reach of law enforcement.


Regina,

You and I both know that the emergency removal of the children was not "tantamount" to kidnapping, and it is disingenuous for you to say so.

rericson said...

Definition of Kidnapping : Any illegal capture or detention of a person or people against their will.

Texas took 'em.
Texas kept 'em.
It was against their will.
Court(s) said it wasn't legal.
What am I missing???????

ztgstmv said...

TxBlues, it's not "speculation." I just proved the case law you cited, upon which you base your case that the large scope of the warrant was within legal bounds, is apples and oranges, and I think a court will agree. Your discussion after the fact about the alleged nature of the FLDS as hiders is irrelevant, since that discussion was not presented to the judge in the affitdavits, and the judge, did not sign the affitdavits with those theories in mind. So if she signed the warrant, it would have been an abuse of discretion--the warrant, on the face of it, and given what she knew at the time, was contrary to the Fourth Amendment.
Furthermore, you ask for proof of bad faith. Recklessness and unreasonable actions have consistently been shown on appeal to show bad faith. The five day wait, while someone was allegedly getting beaten, shows, as rericson points out, either gross ineptitude, or pure disengenuousness. Basically, the long wait shows, and statements show, that the cops didn't think Sarah was in imminent danger, despite her story about beatings and broken bones. This shows the cops weren't very concerned about Sarah at all, not even enough to pull her from her distress at first knowledge. Why? Because maybe they didn't believe Sarah existed and/or their true motive in investigating "Sarah" was to get on the premises.
The fact that Sarah (Rozita) had an insider feeding her information as the raid progressed, supports the idea that the rangers were just using her as a pretext.
There's plenty of other evidence like this to show bad faith based on recklessness, and unreasonableness. The conversations at the gate with Doran could be cited. Why did he abruptly discount the notion that Barlow was in Arizona and not in Texas? Why did he give so little credence to the people at the FLDS at the gate, while at the same time negotiating with them as it were.
The fact that he negotiated with them and didn't just serve the warrant, show he lacked faith in the warrant itself.
The fact that he wrote off the claims amd evidence that Sarah didn't exist and the call was a hoax, show that he was prejudiced against the FLDS, or hew knew in his heart that they were right, but was intent on going in anyways.

Fred said...

Blusey,

Apples and oranges. In that case, LE had reliable informatS, yes, plural, who had actually been on the compound. They alleged everyone was committing a crime. They alleged everyone had weapons and weapons were stashed all over the compound including in each housing unit.

Here, there is no reliable informant who had actually been on the compound. Nor is there any reliable allegation everyone was committing a crime in each housing unit. Nor was there an emergency basis for the warrant because they waited 5 days to serve it. Most important, LE knew the suspected perpetrator was not on the premises and they likely knew the informant/victim wasn't even in the state.

Apples and oranges. You'll have to do better than that.

Ron in Houston said...

Fred

Seriously, you're wrong. They live in a compound hidden from the world precisely because they know they are violating the law.

You're talking to a person who thinks laws against bigamy are stupid. However, it's still the law, and they live in a compound precisely so that they can practice bigamy.

The warrant seeks evidence against child abuse and BIGAMY. We can argue the constitutional merits of laws against bigamy; however, it doesn't invalidate a warrant looking for evidence of bigamy.

Anonymous said...

Seems like they live in a community hidden away from the world to get away from the "brainwashed" general American public and media. By the way they've been treated lately, who can blame them. Is the warrant legal, shucks they haven't come up with any evidence of any crime on the part of the FLDS. Hard to believe its been over 2 months and they haven't found a thing. Any other community that size, you can bet there would be a lot of problems. The accusations just keep changing to fit their changing stories. A few months ago it was "systematic sexual abuse", "child sexual abuse" and so on. They have already spent over $54,000.00 per child to prove they weren't being abused. Boy, I bet a lot of children who ARE being abused would like that kind of help. But can't have it now because the money is gone. And now the AG and Governor are spending more to try and "save face", they have to have the AG at the Grand Jury to make sure "indictments" are found. BTW they talked with Dale's probabation officer days before the raid, and knew he (Dale)was in Arizona. Also, the men on the ranch offered to leave the ranch and let them search, without the tanks, guns etc. which was not accepted. Doran knew they weren't armed or dangerous, they know these people don't arm themselves.

ztgstmv said...

ron in Houston, the evidence will be suppressed on Fourth Amendment grounds, namely because, although bigamy is cited in the affitdavits for the search warrant, the reference to bigamy is tangential, and does not even claim that all of the residents or even a majority of the residents practice bigamy. For a such a wide search of dozens of separate households to be authorized, there needs to be more detail as to what exactly they are looking for. Long's affidavits is too vague, and will never stand up to scrutiny. It's simply unfair to claim that all the members of a religion are guilty just because they belong to a religion, and on that basis conduct a search of their homes. The warrant will be thrown out as written in wreckless and unreasonable fashion, and possibly the product of Long's prejudice. All the evidence seized will be thrown out, because bad faith taints the evidence. It's interesting that the evidence cited mentions specifically family portraits of under marriages; and, next thing you know, we see on the media portraits of underage marriages. That seems suspect to me, and makes me wonder whether those portraits were fabricated and/or planted.

TxBluesMan said...

Regina,

That's not the definition of kidnapping in Texas, and the Feds don't have jurisdiction since it did not cross state lines.

Ziggy,

You might want to run your theory past an attorney - they'll point out the errors of your analysis. I've pointed out what they were, and will not repeat them, but I wouldn't count on the warrant being tossed.

Fred,

The allegation of knowing that Barlow was not on the Ranch comes from the FLDS phone call to Barlow, when they handed the phone to the Sheriff WHILE they were executing the warrant. From a legal standpoint, that phone call means absolutely nothing.

ztgstmv said...

Yet another sign of bad faith on the part of law enforcement: it's disingenuous to use "bigamy" as the pretext suspicion/grounds for requesting a warrant to search every home in a community. How do we know that putting forth that reason shows bad faith? 1) the reference in Long's affitdavits to "bigamy" was lukewarm/non-affirmative/non-indictive; 2) if the Rangers were so interested in bigamy, why didn't they pursue bigamy charges against the 2/3 of adult residents that were in apparent polygamous relationships?
Bottom line: Long's affitdavit was written in bad faith. Ranger Long had no basis for assuming that every single person on the ranch was in a bigamous relationship, nor engaged in under-age marriage. Long mislead the judge. The warrant will be tossed.

rericson said...

Oh my goodness, bluesman....Why do you keep avoiding addressing the FIVE DAY LAPSE???????

Going in with 'guns a blazin'' hours after the call came in would have allowed the sustenance of a future warrant based on observations.....
But to wait FIVE days to save a young woman in danger of serious bodily harm, and potential harm to her unborn?????
In five days YOU could have ascertained the correct whereabouts of the suspected perpetrator/abuser.....YOU could have verified the phone calls from Rozita....
And if YOU could have done that, well I suspect that the TEXAS RANGERS could have, too......

If I were a judge, perhaps other than Walthers, I would have just a little bit of trouble making that FIVE DAY leap.....
Telll me you got these calls a few hours ago and I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and move to protect the child, first...but tell me you've had FIVE DAYS to line up your ducks, and this is the crap you put in front of me....no way, george.....

And then go on to tell me you've chatted this thing up, all the way to the governor's mansion????....I'm going to send you packing in a heartbeat.....

Dumb schmucks......

TxBluesMan said...

Ziggy,

It's kinda hard to say he misled the judge on Bigamy when there has been one Bigamy indictment, and will likely be more before this is over...

The Bigamy charge(s) go directly to the good faith of his affidavit.


Regina,

That's simple, the same way I've explained it before. The Rangers, who were called in after the ATF botched the Waco raid, were concerned that they were prepared to deal with armed resistance. You must remember that throughout Mormon history (as well as other religions), there have been violent resistance at times (i.e., Porter Rockwell, the LaBaron group, etc).

A small, West Texas county does not have the resources standing by, in the way a Dallas or a Houston would.

As to the warrant? It's a good thing that you're not the judge - you are required to follow the guidelines of the law, not the guidelines of this is what I think about polygamy/bigamy...

ztgstmv said...

TxBluesMan:
"The Bigamy charge(s) go directly to the good faith of his affidavit."
<<<<<

The Bigamy charges are after the fact, but granted, yes, there's one so far. When they charge every one from YFZ ranch with bigamy, then I'll believe you...maybe.

TxBluesMan said...

Ziggy, I'm shocked!

I can't believe that you are advocating charging everyone with Bigamy.

What about the ones that aren't married?

Or the children?

Anonymous said...

Ron,bluesy,AKA rick perrys thugs,you all signed this didnt you?



STATE OF TEXAS OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

During the summer of 1787, the foundation for our new nation's government was laid in Philadelphia. Delegates gathered to create a document that would establish a government of three branches - executive, legislative and judicial - with a system of checks and balances to ensure that no one branch would dominate the others. Leading statesmen of the day, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, worked in Independence Hall, to develop the brilliant blueprint we know today as the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land. Following the delegates' signing of the Constitution on September 17, Franklin is reported to have said: "You have a republic, if you can keep it." We know today that our Constitution, amended only 27 times, has stood the test of time.
After its approval, the Constitution was debated throughout the states, with nine required to ratify the measure before a new government could be formed. The ratification process was often turbulent, with much debate and antagonism traded between federalists and anti-federalists. James Wilson's stirring defense of the Constitution during ratification proceedings, wherein he said that the new government was the best "which has ever been offered to the world," persuaded Pennsylvania to ratify. His view prevailed; the ninth state, New Hampshire, ratified in June of 1788.
At this time, I encourage all Texans to commemorate the signing of our great nation's Constitution. Each of us, as citizens of this republic, has a responsibility to remain mindful of the duties and expectations that our founding fathers had for all Americans as they wrote these words: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Therefore, I Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby proclaim September [17-23, 2008], in Texas, and urge the appropriate recognition whereof.
In official recognition whereof, I hereby affix my signature this the [23rd day of July, 2008.]
Rick Perry Governer

The Pharisee said...

The evidence JUST GOT SUPPRESSED in Arizona.