Friday, May 23, 2008

New Reader Poll: Should the state pick up Schleicher County's tab for YFZ Ranch raid?

I just posted a new reader poll asking whether you think the state of Texas should reimburse Schleicher County for costs of the massive boondoggle arising out of the ill-conceived raid on the YFZ Ranch launched by their Sheriff.

Is there any reason Texas taxpayers should pay for expenses the Sheriff and decision makers must have foreseen when they launched the raid? Let me know what you think, both in the poll and in the comments. Meanwhile, here's more recent news about the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup:


Anonymous said...

The only part of the bill that shouldn't go to Schleichter County is that part for the Baptist's oh-so-eager help on this. The SBC can eat their own crow also.

Pinkycatcher said...

I think the poll is kind of lopsided with only 9 people voting so far, 1 to 8, with the county paying it all. I wonder if the county will get a second vote in it's favor by the end of it.

Anonymous said...

I already voted. No. Let'em pay.
And then pay some more.

Anonymous said...

What are the grounds for their appeal? They actually had evidence on all of them? Is the appeals court oount of 5 right? I thought one was the fictional girl (16) and the another was the claimed but not pregnant 14 year old (did they think she was 17?). Other than the sixteen year old, the rest are seventeen: why would anyone want a service plan when they are going to age out before they can come home?

Unknown said...

I'll wait to answer the poll until you put a "Hell No" selection.

Anonymous said...

I understand Schleicher County collects full taxes on the YFZ Ranch property. I understand the FLDS has not sought a religous exemption.

If Schleicher County has to pay for all this, by fiat, the FLDS will end up paying for the injustice that has been visited upon them.

I understand that the County has kept this extra tax as a "war chest". They have not stepped up their expenditures because they know they cannot rely upon collecting these taxes forever.

The FLDS could leave, they could request religious exemption. The CPS should pay for this mess. They are the ones that removed the children, and they are the ones that brought the action in court to obtain custody.

Please add: CPS should pay for it to the selection of choices.

The people of Texas elected the State Officials, they bear responsibility for their failure to act in compliance with the law.

Anonymous said...

Grits, I thought the poll-question ended up being a bit trick to negotiate. Isn't Schleichter Co. playing a support-role to CPS, which is State? If the seizure of all the kids in a big community was primarily the Co. idea & doing, then let their record show a bankruptcy. If this was mainly CPS' decision & ball-game, then obviously it's the State's bill to pay, and add on the make-good for any Co. above-and-beyond expenses too.

I voted "Yes", because it looks like mainly State's notion & action.

Anonymous said...

I say let the Judge, Sheriff and CPS from that county pay the bill. They did not do their home work before just believing a telephone call from someone and not verifying the caller.

Give the bill to them and let those kids go home to their families now!!

Melanie said...

Headmistress has links to the CPS appeal petitions under the "FLDS May 23rd" post:

Very bottom of the 5/23 post. I'm halfway through the second one. First one makes for some funny reading, if it weren't so pathetic.

Melanie said...


SAN ANTONIO -- Three couples whose children were seized during a raid at a West Texas polygamist sect's compound were granted temporary custody of their children pending an appeal of a state court's ruling that Texas officials failed to prove the children were in danger.

The couples learned of the ruling about 3:30 p.m. in a Bexar County court. The children will remain in the custody of their parents until a ruling is handed down by the Texas Supreme Court or until June 9, when a hearing is scheduled on a temporary restraining order previously filed in a Bexar County court.

Anonymous said...

I think the state of Texas should pay a significant portion -- but more importantly I think they should sell all of there armored personnel carriers and other toys of abuse. Asset forfeiture against the police agencies DPS, CPS and others is what is called for.

Michael said...

The citizens of Schleicher County are no more responsible for the sheriff than the citizens of Texas.

Anonymous said...

The citizens of Schleicher County are no more responsible for the sheriff than the citizens of Texas.

Something I'm certain they will make abundantly clear at the next election, right?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Yeah, Michael, they elected him. Who else is "responsible" for him?

Anonymous said...

Out for the last drop of revenge, Grits? Was this ordeal pulled off only by Schleichter County employees? CPS is a STATE agency, The judge is a STATE district judge, the Texas Rangers are STATE employees, the DPS are STATE employees, The Atty. General's office is a STATE agency, yada, yada, yada. They ALL effed up royally.

What's the point in directing your retribution only at Schleichter officials?

Come let us reason together.


Anonymous said...

I'd try and get Kinky Friedman to weigh in on this boondoggle and question. I'd wager he'd have a colorful and forthright answer !

kbp said...

I need to check for new posts by Grits more often! I brought this over from the last, in case any missed it:

Texas State Supreme Court Petition for Writ of Mandamus

Texas State Supreme Court Motion for Emergency Relief

Response to Motion for Emergency Relief

Opinion of 2rd in TEXT!

Anonymous said...

Since State Officials were involved and exercised discretiionary powers, the State should pay.

CPS, District Judge(s), District Attorney, well these are all State Officials. If the blame is laid at the feet of the locals, then it seems fair to note that the locals took their case to the State and after reviewing the State proceeded to implement the operation.

The operation has been out of the hands of the locals since before it began. Once the Rangers and CPS came in, all decisions had to have been made by them, and assumably, by the attorneys for CPS and the District Attorneys Office.

Since the District Courts, District Attorney and probably the CPS personnel involved are in another county, would you have that county pay as well?

It will be interesting to see what happens.

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

There's plenty of blame to spread around.

Texas Rep. Harvey Hilderbran - It all started 4+ years ago with him. He has not hidden documents that are on the web that make him look guilty of passing laws to get certain people only. Does not seem to be worried at all. Figure out who controlled, motivated and/or is protecting his azz and you have the main culprit[s].

Sheriff Doran - In my opinion, he's a pin head. He can't keep from bragging on himself. He is a stooge for others that enjoys being the stooge in charge. His conduct, starting with 700 men & equipment out the yazoo, was a dead give away from the start that the great 'save Sarah' raid was a hoax.

Allison Parker - First Assistant District Attorney - Something drug her into the mess from within minutes of when Sarah called. Her comments were in the paper at the start of the raid. She's so involved that she has decided evidently she has to distance herself now. An ADA's immunity flies out the window when they act in a capacity that is NOT a part of their job. Investigations, PR, possibly advising LE to overlook certain crime reports (Sarah's life threatened?)... do not fit well when opponents throw the Bar's Rules of Conduct in the mix (Nifonged!).

State AG - Most powerful office in the state IMO. Like a DA, he can control who faces state charges and who skates by freely. The office spokesperson tells us they've been there from the start.

Texas Rangers - They take orders and follow them. They also like to follow those orders at times! Players led by others.

CPS - I still believe they were selected because they could take the fall. That department has more room to make errors. The fact that they protect children means ALL have to give them room for error. That crowd there would be excited about being the make-believe leaders in the crusade.

Judge Walthers - I find it terribly hard to attribute ALL she has done to just doing her job. I know she should not be a judge, IMO.

Who knows who the leader[s] are? I'd guess Parker knows and that Hilderbran is a great friend of that person or persons. Prolly others also, especially Abbot and maybe Perry

Maybe it would be good to look into Hilderbran's campaign finances or who else in office has drug him up through the ranks, kept him in office maybe.

There has to be a motive for all that has been done so boldly. Is there a local religious leader that carries this much influence?

It looks to be a tough course to take away land belonging to a church just because there might have been crimes committed on that property by one or more of it's members, but the governing committees seemed to think it was an idea to toss in for consideration.

I wish I knew more about the area, how the politics worked there. Something ain't kosher there in that West Texas Nation!

As for the state chippin' in to pay for the county cost, I'd feel safe betting that the county will get it back some how, even if it was put on a state ballot and they lost.

Anonymous said...

Either I mistook the poll question, or lots of other folks did.

I thought the purpose of the poll was that the county was seeking the State to pay it's expenses, and Grits was asking if that should happen or not. In other words, should the State pick up the entire tab, or should the county be responsible for its own expenses?

I answered the poll as "No, the State shouldn't be required to pay the county's tab".

The State should pay the State's tab. The county should pay the county's tab. Whatever those amounts tally up to be.

kbp said...

Today's hearing,
for Louisa Bradshaw Jessop, the 22 YO that just gave birth before being declared an adult:
"Louisa Jessop broke down... said the state had changed her status from disputed minor to adult "about the second" her baby was born.
...The hearing will resume Tuesday before 51st District Court Judge Barbara Walthers, who approved the raid in April.
Walthers acknowledged that the appellate court's decision was looming in the background of the case and said she had been criticized for not allowing enough evidence to be let in during a custody hearing in April.
"We're going to have a full-blown adversarial hearing," she said, "and if it takes two to three days, we're going to do it.""

Pinkycatcher said...


What does that picture have to do with the case at hand? It should be kept for prosecution against Warren Jeffs, not in a custody hearing for a mother and her children. I think the prosecutor was responsible for a non-sequitur right there. Good job CPS, you got handed a court order saying what you did was flat out retarded, and you pull stunts like this still?

Anonymous said...

Do they state how old Jeffs is in each picture?

"The photos are dated July 27,2006"

Means what? Who dated it?

karateka said...

I think kbp points out a very bad downside. Walthers is going to have a full adversary hearing, satisfying the due process demands. However, she is now a definite adversary. She has made up her mind that there is no stinking way she is ever going to side with the FLDS after being put through the ringer.

So, while the FLDS couple will get "due process" as far as a hearing, they will not get it with an objective judge. Walther sounds to be very antagonistic due to the successful appeal. There will be Texas justice, not blind justice.

Parent Rights

Anonymous said...

Take a look at this.

Anonymous said...

Grits - now that you've been "educated" by some of us, will you discontinue your jihad against the poor 'ol taxpayers of Schleicher County? (lol)


Gritsforbreakfast said...

Plato, the state will already pay for CPS, the Rangers, etc.. But the Sheriff brought down the 700 man raid. He could have gone out there with one other deputy and a CPS worker, but he chose to do it this way and appears not to regret it.

It's not a matter of "revenge," but incentive. My sense is that Schleicher County folks will be looking for a reprise of this incident if the 3rd Court ruling stands. For that reason, making them pay the full tab for their own piece of it will provide a big incentive to be more circumspect in the future and only go after actual abusers instead of this kind of massive sweep. Plus, I don't want other counties assuming the state will bail them out when law enforcement engages in massive overkill. Make 'em pay to play.

That said, I think it's almost 100% likely the state WILL reimburse Schleicher County (and FTM, Tom Green), the question is whether people think they should. So far, I notice, more than 80% of readers think that would be the wrong decision.

Anonymous said...

Grits - just because 80% of the respondents feel one way or another (to a slanted poll) doesn't make it right. Much like 80% of the people of Texas opposing the Innocence Project. Would that make it right and the correct thing to do?


Anonymous said...

This is from the Plural LIfe Blog. Very Important Stuff! If the attorneys for the State are falsifying John Walsh's Testitmoney, as he asserts, they will look like idiots to the SCOT, and could be severely sanctioned.

Friday, May 23, 2008
John Walsh takes on appeal
First, here is a release from John Walsh about how his testimony during the April 17-18 hearing was characterized by the state in its appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.

State of Texas Falsifies Walsh Testimony in Supreme Court Filing

MISSOURI CITY, TEXAS | 23 May 2008 | Dr. John Walsh would like to correct several falsifications and distortions made by the State of Texas regarding his testimony at the 14-day FLDS hearings in San Angelo, Texas. These falsifications and distortions were made in the Petition for Writ of Mandamus filed on May 23, 2008 with the Supreme Court of Texas by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Here are the falsifications and distortions made by the state (pp. 6-7 in the filing):

1. Dr. Walsh indicated that among the FLDS, the age of physical development for a girl made them available for marriage… Some FLDS members expressed the opinion that when a female begins her menstrual cycle, that is the sign that she is ready for marriage.

Correction: Dr. Walsh actually said that there is no formal teaching in the religion as to when a girl is old enough to marry. Different members of the FLDS leadership have given a variety of opinions on the question. For example, some members have said 20 with a couple of years of college, some 18, some16 with parental consent, and some when a female begins her menstrual cycle whether that is 17 or 14. Therefore, you would have to go family by family to determine what they actually believe as to when their daughter is mature enough to marry. Dr. Walsh also notes that each family varies in its adherence to the religious teachings of various FLDS leaders. Dr. Walsh further notes that the majority of FLDS women are of the legal age to marry when they form sexual partnerships, whether such a partnership is a legal marriage or not.

2. Dr. Walsh identified Warren Jeffs as the prophet who leads the FLDS.

Correction: In his actual testimony, Dr. Walsh said that while Warren Jeffs was presently the nominal leader of the organization, the FLDS were in a transitory period due to Mr. Jeffs incarceration in the State of Utah, and it was uncertain within the Mormon intellectual community how the real power in the organization was presently distributed. Because he was not asked the question during court, Dr. Walsh did not testify as to the role and limits of a prophet in Mormon theology. Mormons use the term ‘prophet’ in a more limited way than typically used in Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, and Islamic theology. Dr. Walsh notes that a ‘prophet’ in Mormonism has less power than the Pope in Roman Catholicism due to Mormon teachings on free will (agency) and the lack of prophetic infallibility in Mormonism.

3. Dr. Walsh defined a household in the FLDS faith as being centered around a patriarch or husband who will have one or more wives.

Correction: In his testimony, Dr. Walsh was referring to how FLDS members saw themselves as belonging to heavenly families organized around a patriarch or husband. Dr. Walsh was not making legal distinctions as to what qualifies as a household under the law. Dr. Walsh notes that from a practical standpoint, there is a great deal of variety in how polygamous families are organized. In some families, the husband may live with his wives and children in one large family dwelling. In other families, each wife may maintain a separate residence and the husband just visits each family unit periodically. Given this variety, a husband with two wives might be considered one household in one case, and two separate households in another, even though they are considered one heavenly family in both cases. Given the great deal of autonomy with which each husband deals with his wives and offspring, it is inconceivable for all the families of an FLDS community to be considered as one household. It is worth noting that only about half of married FLDS members are even in polygamous relationships.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Plato, that wasn't the only argument I made. What about the incentives? What about the Sheriff's responsibility for the raid's massive and unnecessary aggression and scope? Why does that imply you and I should pay for their local decisions and expenses?

After all, who's going to pay Lubbock's costs the next time it has an expensive case? Why is this special?

Anonymous said...

Grits - forgive me as I woke up at 3:45 A.M. with a bad case of the oppositional/defiant disorder! Although I hate to admit it, there are certain things I do not know about this case. What I DO KNOW is a number of county AND state officials did not do their jobs correctly. With the 3rd's opinion this week, one has to wonder why the blind were allowed to lead so many other sightless/gutless officials.


Gritsforbreakfast said...

Plato, the explanation of "why the blind were allowed to lead", IMO, also partly explains why I think Schleicher County should pay. The reason otherwise reasonable people went along with this fiasco IMO is that, locally, it was never really about child abuse. If it was, the Sheriff wouldn't have waited five days to go in if he believed a 16-year old rape victim was in immediate danger.

Instead, the locals wanted these people out, and planned to use the first opportunity to chase them away. The hoax gave them their excuse. I guess I'm just afraid that subsidizing their effort might encourage them to try it again.

kbp said...


The picture is to provide a basis for the 'finder of facts' - woithout a jury it is Walthers at this hearing - to assume Jeffs took a 12 YO bride. Therefore all that blindly follow him, a CHILD SEX CRIMINAL, are of the same mondset.

The articile tells us that "...questions from state attorney Ellen Griffith about how long she had been at the ranch, who shares the building where she lives" was allowed, as would be xpected in Walthers court.

Since there are no crimes proved yet at the ranch, so no known criminals there either, I thought the questions were a bit premature. More of a fishing expedition for information to be used against others, if there are others that committed crimes.

My impression of this hearing is Walthers is in a corner and knows EVERYONE is watching her. She needs to find something, so, to quote her about this hearing; "if it takes two to three days, we're going to do it."

kbp said...


I should add that Walthers is looking more corrupt to me in this hearing. Remember that the hearing is about "immediate" dangers that justify taking custody of a NEW BORN BABY that has never been to the ranch.

Walthers knows the 3rd just BenchSlapped her for an in the original 14 Day Hearing...

There is nothing that can be testified to that took place prior to the baby being born that matters much as I see it, unless there are witnesses to the IMMEDIATE family beating babies to death.

Walthers is in over her head it looks like and is searching hard for crimes that will somehow justify ignoring the codes to save Sarah and ALL the children.

Pinkycatcher said...


You can make the same assumption to people of the catholic faith, or the baptists (we've had our sex scandals before) or any number of faiths, groups, or creeds. Just because the leader does something does not mean it passes on to his followers. That should be evidence in a criminal case against Jeffs, not in a civil case showing the immediate danger of a child.

Anonymous said...

Grits, I think you need to add another poll: Who should pay for Tom Green County's expenses? They will be at least an order of magnitude larger than Schliecher County's.

After the first day or son, most of the expenses for lodging, court hearings and support, have fallen on San Angelo and Tom Green County, not Schliecher County.

I would like to see the the expenses split mostly between Schliecher County and the CPS budget.

Anonymous said...

does the language of the mandamus (abused discretion, etc) mean they can count on getting a judge other than walthers to hear any future proceedings?

Anonymous said...

Well since these folks started the ball rolling let them pay from their pockets if the county has no money. And as for them cps workers..too bad about those gas funds. I don't see gas vouchers so the parents can visit their far flung children. In california we provide bus tickets or gas vouchers for the family to visit.

Chris said...

How come nobody can find Rozita Swinton?