Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Why won't Texas officials admit YFZ call was hoax?

The first of 463 individual child custody hearings from the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup (which is the appellation I've settled on for the incident on this blog), will begin in Judge Walther's court on May 19, reports the Dallas News today.

Can anyone explain why authorities won't just admit the original phone call was a hoax? The same News article reports:
Authorities have decided to no longer pursue an arrest warrant for a man identified by the caller as the man who beat and raped her. The caller said she was a 16-year-old girl and a member of the sect, but officials are investigating whether the call was a hoax by a woman in Colorado.
Really? Are they actually STILL investigating "whether the call was a hoax"? And if so, can we please get some competent investigators on the case?

There's really little question, at this point, that Rozita Swinton, a 33-year old Colorado Springs woman with a history of false allegations and making up fantastic stories, was the person who made the original phone call to a San Angelo women's shelter: The calls came from her phone number and anti-polygamist activist Flora Jessop recorded many hours of conversation with her.

I personally don't believe the Rangers are still investigating "whether" the call was a hoax, at this point. Instead, keeping the "hoax" story alive buys time for lawyers, who are investigating arguments for how to justify the search warrant once they admit they knew that named target wasn't at the YFZ Ranch before they went in.

The Salt Lake City Tribune figured out the phone call was a hoax very soon after the raid. Reporter Brooke Adams seems like a pretty smart gal, but is she really THAT much more clever than the Texas Rangers?


Ron in Houston said...

Really Grits, when is the last time you ever heard government say "we made a mistake?"

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting how long they are taking to "investigate" Ms. Swinton, compared to the very few days it took them to storm the "compound" on faulty investigation?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Re: when is the last time you ever heard government say "we made a mistake?"

Actually, it was at Dallas DA Craig Watkins' last press conference!

Anonymous said...

Grits, the anwer to your question is:"Yes." The intelligence of the average Texas Ranger is vastly over-rated.

I suggest we award the Rangers in general, and Texas Ranger Long in particular, the "O.J. Simpson Find-The-Perp Badge" with intertwined mesquite branches, in honor of their efforts to find the perpetrator of the hoax.

Anonymous said...

The ACLU has weighed in.

Anonymous said...

Where has the ACLU been during all this? They're going to "monitor" the situation? I guess that means they're reading Grits like the rest of us.

For that matter, has anybody heard of ANY civil rights lawyers working on this case besides these guys: Liberty Legal Institute? National Lawyers Guild? Anybody?

Anonymous said...

The TxACLU's statement reads like they keeping this whole mess at arms length.

They're not stating anything that puts them on either side, which might be the correct thing for them to do at this time, but I sure would have liked a stronger wording on the 4th section of their response, the one about the religious freedom aspects of this case. People have lost their children in this state solely because of their religion, and I sure don't like the idea that DFPS is a press gang for the Baptists.

kbp said...

Sorry to be OT here, but back to comments of last YFZ post...

Doran, thanks, but...

The idea of a wheelchair bound AG did not really bother me after I made the "short man" comment, TBM just did well at displaying it in a different light. Actually, the condition of the AG might help to explain why he would "like" the case, or maybe he's always been that way.

I see little or no career rewards for winning a Bigamy case. What did it hurt that we know of, besides the "dignity of the State" of Texas! ;)>

After they possibly prove the marriages void, in those 4 cases involving the 16 YO's we read of in the Bishop's Records, a legal marriage defense is then transformed into evidence that could be included as proof of SEXUAL ASSAULT of a CHILD (especially with the added luxury of including the DNA parentage testing results!).

Such a harshly worded charge - even if the "spiritual wives" in question continue to stand by their "husbands" - might look good on the record of one that "LIKES" the case.

Quite a legacy that could follow one for years after they are gone, convictions that their own family could brag about.

Well... brag about that and the fact that the Texas Capitol grounds will continue displaying the Ten Commandments for years to come. That "list of religious and moral imperatives" some polygamist fella brought down from Mount Sinai. They'll probably not brag on both at the same settings.

Of course I need to remember that the SP's and probably a GJ will spread the blame out thin if the end result lacks prestige in the publics eyes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the ACLU link. That is exactly my stand on the issue as well. It also explains why Texas officials won't admit the call was a hoax.

If the hoax was confirmed, the ACLU and press could be far more blunt. Instead, the officials wage a trial my media and control the "truth."

"Giuliani once bragged that by giving negative treatment to his prosecutorial targets, 'the media does the job for me.'" [The Tyranny of Good Intentions, p 92.]

An Internet search of the case and a reading of the discussions clearly finds a reciting of innuendo claimed by CPS as fact, like the broken bones and abused boys claims. (I read this.... and I read that..." off with their heads!) I'm hoping one outcome of this case before the SCOTUS is that the authorities do not have the constitutional right to trial by media. Amber Alerts and emergency requests for help from the public are one thing. Trial my media is another another thing entirely. For too long the 1st Amendment has been able to supersede the other Amendments.

Is it necessary to say any more than "Nancy Grace"?

kbp said...

ACLUTX link I believe Anon posted above. Their most recent article anyway.

The last paragraph in part reads;
"The ACLU will continue to monitor the unfolding events and will... [make] our views known to the Texas courts at appropriate points in the judicial proceedings."

Would an "appropriate point" be when the TRLA files their Amended Writ to the Appeal Court pointing out many of the topics the ACLU is concerned about, as in BEFORE a ruling is made?

kbp said...

"...I personally don't believe the Rangers are still investigating "whether" the call was a hoax, at this point. Instead, keeping the "hoax" story alive...
buys time for lawyers, who are investigating arguments for how to justify the search warrant...
once they admit they knew that named target wasn't at the YFZ Ranch before they went in."


That ADDS to the many possible reasons why the local office is passing the job along.

"...The case volume had the potential to burden the Tom Green County District Attorney's office, which has jurisdiction for felony cases in a five-county area with a combined population similar to West Valley City."

That "VOLUME" ans "BURDEN" certainly would include working to keep that SW from being suppressed, if there are criminal charges.

Anonymous said...

What kind of prize do we all get if it was a hoax?

IF it was a hoax then what? Nothing will happen, i doubt if the kids will be sent back into the suspected abusive home lives, and if they were it would be an outrage.

This is one of those irrelevancies that leave most people saying "So what?". And therefore:

So what?

Anonymous said...

Roycommi, in essence, says, "No one ever suspected of a crime should ever be released without prosecution. To release anyone without a conviction is an outrage."

kbp said...

Roycommi said...

"So what"

"... investigating arguments for how to justify the search warrant" was a post topic. Discussion of whether the SW may be used in any criminal cases that could come about in this mess is the "what". Some would classify the discussion of "what" as being related to constitutional rights.

The "outrage" for the majority of the children being returned must be based on beliefs that conflict with those of the FLDS, as I am unaware of evidence proving any other form of alleged abuse.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

roycommi - There's no "if it was a hoax." It was a hoax.

The "so what" is that you can't prosecute any other cases if the first warrant's bad, and law enforcement knew Dale Barlow wasn't there before they ever entered the Ranch. Meanwhile, there is no complaining victim, DFPS keeps issuing press statements calling the alleged victims liars, and the state has seized nearly 500 kids, the vast majority of whom nobody thinks were abused.

Here's the state's theory, as articulated by the Utah Attorney General, why ALL the kids should be seized based on (an unsympathetic characterization of) the group's religious beliefs:

"Let's say you're a 6-month-old girl, no evidence whatsoever of any abuse. They're simply saying, 'You, in this culture, may grow up to be a child bride when you're 14. Therefore we're going to remove you now when you're 6 months old,"' he said. "Or, 'You're a 6-month-old boy; 25, 30 years, 40 years from now you're going to be a predator, so we're going to take you away now."'

Why aren't more folks outraged that someone's kid was taken using that perverse logic?

Re: other civil rights lawyers, Rio Grande Legal Aid has taken some of the cases, and Jim Harrington at Texas Civil Rights Project has been speaking out frequently; I don't know if he's involved in the legal work. Otherwise, I believe the ad litems are mostly individual volunteers.

Finally, Doran, Please tell me you're not implying all that "one riot, one Ranger" stuff isn't really true? Say it isn't so! ;)

kbp said...

The "hoax" or is it the ...the GAME?

"It's early in the game," said First Assistant 51st District Attorney Allison Palmer, "but I expect that ultimately there will be some criminal prosecution coming out of this."
The Attorney General's Office offered help in working through the massive case, Palmer said - an offer that was gratefully accepted.

"There's the possibility there for us to have quite a bit to do," said Allison Palmer, first assistant 51st District attorney. "That's sort of what they do to help out."

I'll leave this as Allison's submission of a name for the mess, "The Game".

kbp said...

Looks like the teammates for at least one side in the GAME have been working together from day one (helping Doran with the warrants I'm sure!).
"...The local and state offices have been in contact since the case began, said attorney general spokesman Jerry Strickland.

"Our office has been in close communication with local prosecutors in Schleicher County and Tom Green County and offered our assistance," Strickland said... "

and Walthers has all the parts & pieces ready for the GAME to start soon also;

"Prosecutors and CPS investigators now have full access to the hundreds of pages of documents and files seized during the nearly weeklong search of the 1,700-acre ranch, Palmer said.
A special master appointed by Walther to review the evidence for documents that would be considered protected by attorney-client or priest-parishoner privilege finished his review Monday, withholding a small percentage of the available evidence, Palmer said."

Anonymous said...

I don't know if that legend/myth about one riot one Ranger was ever really true. But now we can say with some certainty, "one hoax, many Rangers."

kbp said...

No wonder it took FIVE DAYS after Sarah first called.

They had to round up the:

-Texas AG's office;
-Local DA's office;
-Sheriff Doran;
-Inside informants;
-Those knowledgeable of the practices at that ranch;
-Judge Walther;
-Texas Rangers;
-Rest of the 700 man army;
-Helicopters & tanks;
-State -Representative[s];
-Prolly the Governor;
-Maybe Dubya(!)...

ALL to save SARAH!

It may be a couple years before anyone in that group admits Sarah's call was a "hoax".

Anonymous said...


Of course I agree with the Court's opinion. But this is, unfortunately, not an isolated case that happened in Evansville, Indiana, nor an atypical miscarriage of justice due to anticipatory trial by newspapers instead of trial in court before a jury.

More than one student of society has expressed the view that not the least significant test of the quality of a civilization is its treatment of those charged with crime, particularly with offenses which arouse the passions of a community. One of the rightful boasts of Western civilization is that the State has the burden of establishing guilt solely on the basis of evidence produced in court and under circumstances assuring an accused all the safeguards of a fair procedure. These rudimentary conditions for determining guilt are inevitably wanting if the jury which is to sit in judgment on a fellow human being comes to its task with its mind ineradicably poisoned against him. How can fallible men and women reach a disinterested verdict based exclusively on what they heard in court when, before they entered the jury box, their minds were saturated by press and radio for months preceding by matter designed to establish the guilt of the accused. A conviction so secured obviously constitutes a denial of due process of law in its most rudimentary conception.

Not a Term passes without this Court being importuned to review convictions, had in States throughout the country, in which substantial claims are made that a jury trial has been distorted because of inflammatory newspaper accounts--too often, as in this case, with the prosecutor's collaboration--exerting pressures upon potential jurors before trial and even during the course of trial, thereby making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to secure a jury capable of taking in, free of prepossessions, evidence submitted in open court. Indeed such extraneous influences, in violation of the decencies guaranteed by our Constitution, are sometimes so powerful that an accused is forced, as a practical matter, to forego trial by jury. See Maryland v. Baltimore Radio Show, 338 U.S. 912, 915. For one reason or another this Court does not undertake to review all such envenomed state prosecutions. But, again and again, such disregard of fundamental fairness is so flagrant that the Court is compelled, as it was only a week ago, to reverse a conviction in which prejudicial newspaper intrusion has poisoned the outcome. Janko v. United States, ante, p. 716; see, e.g., Marshall v. United States, 360 U.S. 310. See also Stroble v. California, 343 U.S. 181, 198 (dissenting opinion); Shepherd v. Florida, 341 U.S. 50 (concurring opinion). This Court has not yet decided that the fair administration of criminal justice must be subordinated to another safeguard of our constitutional system--freedom of the press, properly conceived. The Court has not yet decided that, while convictions must be reversed and miscarriages of justice result because the minds of jurors or potential jurors were poisoned, the poisoner is constitutionally protected in plying his trade. [Irvin v. Dowd, Warden, 366 U.S. 717.]

The remedy it so limit what the government can say in the news, including what "those close to the investigation say," not limiting what the reporters can report. If reporters had to dig up the story on their own, rather than parroting law enforcement, then reporters would find and report more than one side of the story.

TxBluesMan said...


You're right, you can't prosecute if the first warrant is bad, but that hasn't been decided, and it will likely be held to be valid.

Swinton's hoax call is immaterial and irrelevant to the determination if probable cause existed at the time the warrant was issued.

The courts do not Monday morning quarterback, but they look at the facts at the time of the decision to issue the warrant.

Coram Non Judice

TxBluesMan said...


There were no tanks at the ranch.

Anonymous said...

Swinton's hoax call is immaterial and irrelevant to the determination if probable cause existed at the time the warrant was issued.

It's fairly material if they knew the call was coming from Colorado ahead of time, but raided the ranch instead.

And for anyone there not abusing a girl named Sarah, they're off Scot free. I can see the validity of questioning anyone having sex with Sarah the caller (ignoring the fact, as you do, that they knew the call was not coming from the ranch), hell, I can even see the validity in taking out every Sarah and questioning all potential abusers of every Sarah. But to take every single kid out and expand the investigation so broadly? No way is that standing up. It may take a SCOTUS decision to unwind it given the state of affairs of the Texas criminal courts, but it will get unwound.

Anonymous said...

Grits - did you ever think that the officials didn't know the phone call was a hoe axe until it was determined some days later? Then they have all these kids in custody, what do you do. Load 'um on the busses and haul 'um back to the ranch?

CPs is given rather broad powers when abuse is alleged, thus, they remove children every day all over Texas, complete a comprehensive investigation, then the allegation is either found not true or it is sustained.

I can't imagine having over 400 individual cases dumped on me in a single day then having to do comprehensive investigations on each one, not in a month three months or six.

I'm still not convinced there's not a lot of fire once the smoke clears.

All you civil libertarians are far too quick to jump on the state using its legislatied authority to deal with these matters. Not saying CPS is righteous on all this but also ain't saying all you CL's are either.


Anonymous said...

Plato, pursuant to Texas Family Law, CPS is not authorized to conduct a comprehensive investigation if the anonymous tip cannot be substantiated. CPS may argue that it found a clear and present danger of abuse and had to take action despite the lack of substantiation (since it would be impossible to substantiate a hoax call), but if it legally could do is is subject to dispute. Evidently their suspicion was based on eyeball tests.

But the real issue is the removal of ALL of the children based on a hoax, eyeball tests, and group guilt Minority Report style. If only civil libertarians object, something is wrong with America.

kbp said...


I'll let you keep classifying all the children as abused, you let me call that Military 'save Sarah' Carrier thingy a "tank"!

I expected to hear from YOU about me saying maybe Dubya was involved. Evidently you're not certain that he wasn't in on it also!

On the efforts to confirm the anonymous call for that SW, I can't wait to hear about any search they did through tele records or the excuses why they couldn't. I'm truthfully more interested to hear why the life threatening abuse that hospitalized poor pregnant Sarah was not attended to sooner than 5 days after her call, well, actually NEVER if you read the warrants!

I think I'll call that tank-less bunch I ID'd earlier as the Warrant Crew. What might have made that Warrant Crew decide to overlook the beatings Sarah told of?

Since the state won't classify Sarah as a hoax, is it alright if I classify her as a possible victim in a DOUBLE homicide that could have taken place four or five days after her initial call?

TxBluesMan said...

It's fairly material if they knew the call was coming from Colorado ahead of time, but raided the ranch instead.

Do you have any evidence to support that?

Or is it just opinion and supposition?

I think you are also missing the point of the second search warrant - that allowed them to expand the search based on the additional observations made during the execution of the first warrant.

Carom Non Judice

TxBluesMan said...

I'll let you keep classifying all the children as abused, you let me call that Military 'save Sarah' Carrier thingy a "tank"!


Works for me....

Can I quote you as allowing me to call the children abused, or is that pushing it too far.... jk

Coram Non Judice

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Plato asks, "did you ever think that the officials didn't know the phone call was a hoax until it was determined some days later?"

I thought that was possible originally until we learned that law enforcement actually spoke to Dale Barlow and also his P.O. before they ever went in to the ranch, and knew he hadn't been in Texas. That tells me they had all the information they needed to confirm the hoax beforehand, but went in like gangbusters anyway.

In addition, the fact that they still won't admit the hoax justifiably raises eyebrows. People admit mistakes made in good faith. They try to cover up those which, if revealed, undermine their credibility and expose weaknesses in their claims. Similarly, the way DFPS is plying the media with disinformation makes it difficult to believe them on other subjects. Their failure to own up on this, in my eyes, cast the original errors in an even more suspect light.

Fred made the key point: CPS was obligated to try to confirm whether the anonymous tip was real, and they could have easily disproved it with a standard due-diligence investigation.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bluesman, I'm anxious for some of this to get into court to flesh out what really happened, because I've also seen hints that they knew the calls were from Colorado Springs before the raid, and the Eldorado Success reported that the hoaxer actually spoke to law enforcement as well as the women's shelter. What's more, there were inconsistencies in her story that were easily identifiable and which caused the Salt Lake Tribune to figure out it was a hoax very early on. I'd like to see these tales subjected to rigorous cross examination, because so far they don't pass the smell test.

Waiting several to intervene when you think a girl is being immediately raped and beaten is almost criminal in and of itself, and knowledge of the hoax would go a long way toward explaining their nonchalance. I'm increasingly skeptical that the first warrant was executed in good faith. I think the locals had been waiting for years for an excuse to do this, and intended to move ahead no matter what.

Also, no one is "missing the point of the second search warrant," but it's fruit from a poisonous tree if they didn't dot their i's on the first one.

Plus, what did they really see on the ranch to justify seizures of kids? A few pregnant teens at a rate lower than you'd find in my neighborhood. The allegation that some of the boys might be molesters 30 years from now, or that the girls might be in danger (from early marriage) in a decade or so just doesn't justify what they did.

kbp said...


"Can I quote you as allowing me to call the children abused, or is that pushing it too far.... jk"

So long as you include the entire quote, that ALL reading it will know we were both inaccurate.

Anonymous said...

I am hesitant to believe that Law Enforcement is called on every CPS investigator's "first attempt" to contact the abused.

Likewise, I find it difficult to believe that CPS is called on every domestic dispute phone call where children might be present.

Furthermore, it is unprecendented that a 700 person team of LE be called in to "serve a warrant" without the warrant service first being attempted without the firepower and meeting with a strong show of force in response.

Additionally, even after CPS were within the ranch, how could they determine the girls who had sex to become pregnant from those who may have been artificially inseminated (sans sex) or those who were pregnant due to imaculate conception (hey, it's happened before)?

Absent physically witnessing sex in progress, or abuse in progress, CPS issued a kneejerk reaction by determining every child had been abused or was at risk of immediate harm during their "search for Sarah". What they witnessed may have been indeed grounds for further investigation, but not immediate removal.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Additionally, even after CPS were within the ranch, how could they determine the girls who had sex to become pregnant from those who may have been artificially inseminated (sans sex) or those who were pregnant due to imaculate conception (hey, it's happened before)?

And how did they determine the pregnant 'girls' were under-aged? The 'eye-ball' test again?

My 19, 23, and 25 year old daughters went to vote recently. The 23 year old walked in with her dad- the folks manning the table just took his i.d. Before the 23 year old could hand them hers, one of them was saying to her, "honey, you have to be 18 to vote!"

The 19 and 25 year old went to vote later- both of them were reminded of the voting age before they could show their i.d. and when they did, people were surprised the 25 year old was the older of the two. They'd taken her for 15 and the 19 year old for 16.

Sure glad we don't live in Texas. Based on how this FLDS thing is being handled, they'd have been accused of lying and identity theft.

Anonymous said...

tx, you are giving prosecutors a bad name.

We expect prosecutors to present arguments to a court to support the State's position in a criminal case. Judges and the defense lawyers expect that; it is what you are supposed to do as a prosecutor. And Judges and defense lawyers expect prosecutors to push the envelope to the ethical limit, just as defense lawyers tend to do.

But really, can't we here at this blog expect more of you? We aren't judges, we aren't juries. Please stop with the outrageous and frequently ridiculous statements of position. Please stop with the mis-statements of fact. Please stop with the assertions about the YFZ debacle only someone with an omniscent knowledge could know to be true.

State your opinions about what a court will do or not do, but stop with the b.s. Like I said, it is giving your profession a bad smell, and you too.

If we can't rely upon you not to mis-represent the facts, then we can't rely upon you for anything worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

doran williams, no f'n way. Txbluesman is a prosecutor?

That's embarrassing. And looks to explain a lot.

Texas has a great culture, but a horrid level of respect for the law. They think their own cultural biases are law in far too many instances.

And the man can't even reason.

kbp said...


Well, not "great" for the state!

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm just a regular Joe Blow with no legal background or anything, but reading the discussions of the YFZ events in this and a couple of other blogs really scares me as to the power of the government. I thought the constitution was supposed to protect the regular people from the government doing stuff like this. Aren't we supposed to be free from the threat of unreasonable search and seizure? How about freedom of religion? The government's actions in this case sure seems like fascism, where they do what they want, not what the law dictates. ("What's good for the government is good for the people.")

TxBluesMan said...

LOL at Doran...

Nope, not a prosecutor. They don't pay enough, although I admire them.

As for the mis-statement of facts?

I haven't made any, merely corrected those that you and Fred (and others) have made. It's a tough job, but someone had to do it, and not many are willing to walk into the vipers nest (figuratively) to confront typical liberal errors in judgment.

That's why I like Grits - although on the wrong side of most issues, he makes everyone feel welcome.

I'll even invite you and Fred to visit my blog, Carom Non Judice to see what the 'right' side of the issues are.

I won't claim that it is as nice as Grits' place, but it's a start.

BTW, kbp has been by and hasn't been contaminated. You can see it when he attempts to pass off the article on the Legal Aid assistant as a genuine article on a social worker....

Anonymous said...

Tx, please forgive me. I didn't mean to slander or demean you by calling you a prosecutor. But having seen your website where you claim to be in the law industry, and having read all your pro-prosecutorial comments --- well, hell, it was a reasonable conclusion.

Isn't it about time you came out from behind your non de plume, and let us know who you are?

Are you really a lawyer? A practicing lawyer? Licensed in Texas?

And, just to close this, let me know all the mistatements of facts you say I have made. I've admitted to at least one (see above), so its your turn now to identify the remainder, if any.

Will be away for a few hours, watering tomato plants, fixing a hole in the fence, smoking chicken and grilling corn on the cob for supper tonight, working on the laying hen house, doin the laundry, and conspiring with my inner self on methods and means of giving you a hard time.

Enjoy your day in the law industry.

Anonymous said...

bluesman, it's hard to explain just how wrong you are when you are so fundamentally ignorant about the entire situation.

I don't care how many warrants they had. If the first was invalid, then the second, with more time for reflection, and based on information obtained by prosecuting the first warrant, is certainly even more invalid.

In other words, you can't cure a constitutional violation by digging deeper into information learned by the violation.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I'd previously criticized the "Free the FLDS Children" site at for refusing to allow any comment criticizing the FLDS despite the fact that I personally support them.

To anyone who cares, I'm pleased to announce Ann Marie, the blogger there, has reversed her previous policy and will allow negative comments which are respectful and non-abusive to be published (all comments are moderated).

This is a positive change and I consider the site worth reading.

kbp said...

"...BTW, kbp has been by and hasn't been contaminated. You can see it when he attempts to pass off the article on the Legal Aid assistant as a genuine article on a social worker...."

There goes TBM again trying to resemble a Texas prosecutor!

I linked what I plainly classified as a "GREAT ARTICLE" and follow stating "Well, not "great" for the state!". Nothing else there!

TBM then analyzes the circumstantial evidence to conclude my mindset, beliefs and intentions, down to the exact occupations I would have had to speculated on in my mind.

The article is about Terry Secrest and the second paragraph clearly identifies her as an "Austin social worker " with experience of "10 years in social work". I guess the fact Terry works with TRLA makes her guilty of being a "Legal Aid assistant" instead of a social worker. I'd imagine even the janitor at TRLA is a "Legal Aid assistant" also in a prosecuotrs eyes. I suppose if he were on the other side of the fence, the CPS workers would be classified as prosecutors.

Rather ironic it's in his comment explaining that he's NOT one guilty of "mis-statement of facts". Looks even more like a prosecutor when he mis-states the facts to identify a social worker as a "Legal Aid assistant" (LOL!!).

Maybe I'm the sucker here, he just wanted me to waste some of my time re-checking that GREAT ARTICLE!

Maybe Doran Williams is also a sucker, responding by going a bit on the defensive!

kbp said...

Here's an unanswered question for an experienced Texas attorney.

I'll outline the basics that lead me to the question;

The Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) is an entity established to assist people in the same manner that the ACLU is (or was!).

TRLA stepped in to represent some of the mothers, 38 was the count as of their most recent court filing, 50+ is what some in the media reports show now. Lead counsel for the TRLA is Mr. Robert Doggett.

The TRLA filed a Writ For Mandamus citing the problems with Judge Walthers' Order of April 22nd (NOTE THAT DATE), along with the "en masse" 14 Day Hearing, had created (generally that the order was not legal and the hearing was a circus). It was an action to get all the children back to their families by the TRLA.

The Order TRLA addressed (disagreed with) in their court filing[s] was for the placement of the children, so one of TRLA's big complaints was that the state did not have custody. The State of Texas cannot order placement of children if they do not have legal custody of them. Placement Order

The Court of Appeals was presented with an ADDITIONAL Order that the TRLA did NOT have, an order submitted by the Respondent[s] attorney[s] representing CPS and the Judge (I think they technically represented the Judge, because she as a responding party in the TRLA Writ).

It was rumored on a few boards active with attorneys from Texas that all the various attorneys representing the mothers AND those representing the children could NOT get a copy of the "original order" (office gossip). The sequence of orders coming out was out of whack!

The different (or concealed) Order was one for Temporary Custody of the children that is alleged to have been in place prior to the Order for Placement coming out.

The TEXAS COURT OF APPEALS, THIRD DISTRICT, AT AUSTIN, then literally SCOLDED Mr. Doggett and his associates at TRLA in the manner in which they addressed that original Order to which the Placement Order was merely an amendment or follow up on. In their Order denying the writ, the Court of Appeals included;

"...This reference to a two-page order was to the district court’s Order on Placement of Children signed April 22, and a copy was attached to the Relators’ application for emergency relief. Relators’ application for emergency relief appeared to indicate that the Order on Placement of Children was the only order entered by the district court pursuant to the requirements of section 262.201 and that the order did not, on its face, comply with the statutory requirements of section 262.201."

"In fact, the two-page Order on Placement of Children dated April 22 was not the only order entered by the district court as a result of the section 262.201 hearing. The district court also entered an eight-page Temporary Order Following Adversary Hearing and Notice of Hearing. This order was orally rendered by the district court on April 18 and rendered in written form on April 21."
Appeals Court ruling


Now, in the Amended Petition for Writ of Mandamus just filed, TRLA politely addresses that (missing) Temporary Custody Order within their filing, but they go a bit further into details on it in Footnote 1. I should also point out that Footnote 1, in it's last sentence, states;
"The signed orders that Relators [their clients, the mothers...] have received since filing the original petition are signed April 23 and April 24."
Note the signature dates in conflict there. How can a Temporary Custody Order of the 23rd precede the Order of Placement in question (an order subject to the custody order) that was signed the 22nd? Since they do not mention any 3rd order, I feel safe assuming that the Placement Order referenced in their original Petition is now signed the 24th and the Temporary Custody Order is signed the 23rd so it will precede the other in chronological order.

The fact the original Petition from TRLA was filed on April 23 adds to the evidence that there may be TWO orders back dated for CYA now. TRLA's Amended Petition

Something is out of order here, or I am missing an explanation I would understand, and Mr. Doggett and his TRLA associates appear to have missed it also. I see the list of Orders out of order;

A) Order of April 22 the TRLA filed their initial appeal and noted by the court;
B) Order of April 21 the Appeals court points out (unsigned?, but noted as "written" by the court in their "scolding"!);
C) Order of April 23 (signed orders received later, see Footnote 1);
D) Order of April 24 (signed orders received later, see Footnote 1).

So my question is this something out-of-order or is it SOP for Texas to not sign and withhold Orders? The court seems to have accepted that April 21st Order as legitimate.

I know the Placement Order was a single order that was to cover ALL 464+/- children.

The Custody Orders are put out for each INDIVIDUAL CHILD (or suit as the court calls them), but even if they are boiler plate with exception for individual information such as name and suit number, they ALL had to be in place BEFORE the Placement Order.

Now, this matter is likely just procedural, so what weight it holds if out of sequence is probably not the level of a technicality that will free the hostages(!), but it certainly smells bad. Maybe Walthers having "orally rendered" the custody order as the Appeals Court noted was sufficient to proceed with the Placement Order.

Any way you toss it out there, the actual Orders still are out-of-order and somebody looks to have been back dating the orders the Appeals Court received.

The only explanation (actually excuse) I can see that eliminates backdating is if the Orders the Appeals Court had were merely dated when typed (unsigned) and Walthers had them re-dated to be certain they were in the sequence needed when she signed them (but, then CPS had already started to act upon the Placement order prior to the late signings of the 23rd & 24th).


What explanation am I missing here that would show the orders were not out of sequence AND all is up to par for the process?

Anonymous said...

They have traced the calls which led to the raid to Swinton's phone, but it seems those specific calls were not recorded. So, they can't 'know for sure' that she was the one who made the calls.
Of course, as you say the chances against it are so small that continuing to deny it seems silly at best.
Swinton was said to have an awful lot of details about the YFZ. What if they also found evidence that Swinton's number was linked to the sherrif?
Maybe they don't want speculation that Swinton was the 'inside informant' who had been feeding him all the lurid details of life in the compound all these years.
Of course that would explain why so many of the things they thought they would find didn't turn up.

kbp said...

Anon 11:52

It would be more feasible to hook Swinton to the sheriff indirectly through Flora.

All speculation at this point.

Swinton's & Flora's phone records PRIOR to March 29th would be of interest.

I have a feeling we'll see all sorts of phone records requested if criminal charges or even a civil complaint is ever filed (though some representing YFZ may already have them!).

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to post that I emailed my Texas state representative Bryan Hughes about my concerns re constitutionality of the raid and subsequent placement of all the children in foster care. He is on the Human Services and Judiciary committees in the Texas State Legislature and co-chair of Oversight of HHS Eligibility System. I received a PERSONAL phone call from him (it was on my voice mail). He concurred that he is very concerned about the situation, does not believe that, "bad theology" justifies compromise of constitutional rights and has made his concerns known to the heads of DPS, CPS, and other agencies involved.

Now, being a skeptic, perhaps he is just saying what he wants his constituent - me - to hear, but I was quite impressed that he took the time to make a personal call to me about the situation and discuss in some depth his own concerns.

Writing to the legislators, governor, state bar, etc., can possibly make a difference in the outcome of this case or in future laws or clarification of laws.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I like Bryan Hughes a lot. If he doesn't agree with you, he tells you, and he tells you why, but 9 times out of ten he does what he thinks is right, which is all you can ask of a pol, and he's got more backbone and gumption than his soft-spoken demeanor might lead you to think.

Pretty cool that he called you back personally. He's a good 'un.

TxBluesMan said...


You made a statement in the FLDS asset seizure thread about the Ranger having a loss of integrity – do you have any evidence to support that? It’s pure supposition on your part.

In addition, the statement about Greg Abbott’s lawsuit wasn’t entirely correct. The tree was rotting and dangerous, the homeowner knew about the problem beforehand, having hired an arborist to look at it, but they did not fix the problem. Even with tort reform, the same laws are in effect today and any other person would probably get a similar settlement today given the same facts and circumstances. There were no punitive damages in the case.

That’s just two off of the top – but all of us make misstatements of fact at times, abet not intentionally, so as far as I’m concerned it is a dead issue.

I also did not take your comment about being a prosecutor as demeaning – I have plenty of respect for them, they just are severely underpaid. It was a reasonable conclusion, but I don’t typically work in criminal law, but in mainly in police labor issues. Grits probably will dislike me even more, I have been involved in various Meet & Confer issues, contracts, hearings and the like (I was not involved in it, but admired the way that the Austin police union handled the Review Board, and I am not tied to any particular police association or union).

I use a nom-de-plume for personal reasons, and I am not willing to say anything further on that issue.

If you want, I have a great smoked Cornish game hen recipe – let me know and I’ll post it on my blog at Carom Non Judice.

kbp said...

Next move
"Court administrators have begun separating cases by mother, said District Clerk Sheri Woodfin - a move that will reduce the number of hearings but still result in a caseload numbering in the hundreds."

In a polygamous community wouldn't be quicker if they separated them by household?


They did that the first time!

I'd bet dollars to donuts they discussed that option!

kbp said...

24 YO wife in custody?

kbp said...

The Liberty Legal Institute appears to have ignored the absence of individual attention for each suit.

"if there is evidence ... the state has shown that the health, safety or welfare of the children is imminently threatened or in danger, such a finding is enough to meet the state's burden under strict scrutiny,"


No end in sight!

"These hearings are unlikely to deal with the mass round of DNA testing that was conducted several weeks ago to determine the parentage of the some of the children.
"I don't think any DNA will be back until late June so mostly they will be working on the service plans," Choate said."

SB said...

An April 17th newspaper account stated that TX Rangers, working with local authorities, had been there and arrested Swinton the previous day. There must have been some kind of evidence.
I have a different take on some things. It seems that Rozita's hate for FLDS was not present until after age 30. I still think there is a Swinton/Barlow connection with Swinton trying to nail Barlow to the wall.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Wow, that'd put a different spin on things. I'd just assumed she was a kook.

If Swinton does have some motive "to nail Barlow to the wall," she's certainly succeeded, not to mention she's generated a lot of boisterous cheerleaders for her cause.

kbp said...


Great to see someone step forward here, but the way I read it one could think they are addressing a SINGLE case, not 464 suits. If they'd edit to replace "children" with "any child" I'd have taken it differently.

But, I'm not an attorney, so maybe this is as it should be.

kbp said...


I count 38 "Relators" (now "48" or "about 50" going of resent media reports), but that does not tell me how many children (suits), each "Relator" is addressing in the Writ TRLA filed for them, so I have no idea how many of the 464 suits the LLI Brief would address.

Anonymous said...

RE: The 24-year-old woman being held in foster care - see article posted by KBP above.

Does the state have any legal right to hold an adult woman in custody (I would argue that if she is unable to leave the foster residence as reported, she is effectively "in custody") without charging her with a crime or on a mental hold for a period of a MONTH? This is assuming that she can in fact prove her age with documentation that the state routinely accepts as validation of identity and age without question for any number of other purposes. What are her legal remedies if this is the case?

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Anonymous, I don't understand it, either. The article doesn't mention how old her other child is. Maybe she finally agreed to let CPS call her a minor so she could stay with her children?

I am also very disturbed that CPS wouldn't let her meet with the judge until after the baby's due date. Is this in order to retain custody of her infant the moment it's born? I would be insisting I was a minor, too, if admitting to be 24 meant I would be separated from my children.

Anonymous said...

Anon. re the 24 year old woman in custody.

She probably is not "in custody" in the sense that she has been arrested. Had that happened, she would either be in jail or released on bond. I've not seen anything to indicate either of these.

She has probably been placed in the "custody" of CPS; that is, CPS has been named her temporary managing conservator (TMC), with the right to determine the location of her residence. I don't know if she is in a foster home, but it seems to be the case.

There is a problem here. The authority of the court to place someone in the TMC of CPS is limited to persons who are children or who are (perhaps) incapacitated to the extent that they cannot care for themselves or present a danger to themselves or others. If this person is truly 24 years old, she can just walk out some evening and go somewhere else. If she has the money to do that.

If she does that, all sorts of things can happen if she is apprehended and returned to CPS. They could ask a juvenile court to take jurisdiction. They could ask a juvenivle court to declare her delinquent and in need of supervision. And wouldn't that be a hoot! Or they could go back to the district judge who put her in TMC, and ask for additional orders, etc. They might even, under some circumstances, ask that she be put in real detention; that is, locked up.

Her recourse, in addition to walking, is to seek a writ of habeas corpus, which she is doing, asking a court to release her because she is being held illegally.

I suspect the reason she is not walking is that she does not want to be away from her children. Nor does she want to do anything that will give CPS additional grounds to attempt to terminate her parental rights.

What we see in this case is a state agency in full CYA mode. CPS cannot admit error. It is, in my experience, institutionally incapable of doing so. The people who run CPS will take the most outlandish positions, make the most absurd claims, go to any length -- damn the children, Smedly, full speed ahead -- to prevail.

Something must be done next legislative session, to get CPS back to a sound position. They should not be in the business of vetting religious views of parents; they should not be allowed to go into court alleging legal acts to be child abuse; they should not be allowed to "bundle" hundreds of cases into one so as to avoid actual hearings for each child; their burden of proof should be raised. Judges should not be allowed to do the same kind of "bundling" we've seen in this case.

I wish Grits, or someone, would publish on this site the names and mailing addresses of our State Senators and Representatives who occupy chairs on the committees which have oversight of CPS. We probably know our local reps, but not always the committee members.

There is some additional work that needs to be done on some other statutes. The Code of Criminal Procedure, for instance, should be changed to provide that a challenge to the probable cause element of a search and arrest warrnt be heard, at the request of the State or of a defendant, by some judge other than the judge who issued the warrant.

The Civil Practices and Remedies Code needs to be amended to provide access to the courts for persons to sue the State in cases arising out of malicious or negligent actions by CPS, and to provide for the recovery of monetary damages.

I'm sure there are other statutory changes to be made so that parents, and children, and churches never again are put to the expense, strain, and abuse that CPS has inflicted in the Eldorado case.

Anonymous said...

HM, if CPS has in fact alleged in court, or entered into any record, the age of this person to be that of a minor, knowing that she his not, the CPS person who did that could be prosecuted for falsifying a governmental record.

kbp said...

short news video

"...and we have a POST OFFICE BOX and we get mail..."

I've been looking online the past couple weeks to find out if any governing agency or other credible entities classified the YFZ Ranch as multiple residential units, with no luck!

The county does not have property tax records online that I could find, nor are there phone listings with addresses for YFZ Ranch. I have no idea if there are building approvals by the county that would ID units or other descriptions like that.


Anon & Headmistress,

That custody matter of new borns opens a whole new can of worms, IMO.

They were NEVER on the ranch or within "THE SINGLE HOUSEHOLD" condemned by Judge Walthers.

The only imminent danger then appears to be the beliefs of the parents, unless one of the two committed any of the crimes listed as a problem in the Family Code (which reads more like state rights and little of any individual's rights).

kbp said...

Doran W,

"...reason she is not walking"

Tough to walk far a week away from giving birth!

"Something must be done next legislative session..."

LOL! Expect more laws to keep "THEM" people out of Texas!

"The Civil Practices and Remedies Code needs to be amended to provide access to the courts for persons to sue the State in cases arising out of malicious or negligent actions by CPS, and to provide for the recovery of monetary damages."

They have the right to file a 1983 complaint for "malicious", though I doubt we'll ever see a law that covers "negligent actions".

"...publish on this site the names and mailing addresses of our State Senators and Representatives who occupy chairs on the committees which have oversight of CPS..."

I've already wrote each one of them at the following contact sources;

Texas Senate Committee on health and Human Services

Jane Nelson

Bob Deuell

Kyle Janek
Robert Nichols
Dan Patrick
Eliot Shapleigh
Carlos Uresti
Royce West
Judith Zaffirini

Betty Lou Thelma Liz said...

Dan Patrick is on the Senate HHS Committee?

That should make for some grand entertainment during the 2009 session.

Will he invite a member of the FLDS priesthood to make an opening prayer or do they not fall into his brand of appropriate religion?

kbp said...



468 NOW.

All from a response to TRLA's Writ at the Appeals Court.

Their filing must resemble a childish response like; 'I didn't do it, they started it and besides, prove we got something that belongs to you, nah, nah, nah'.

"The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services contends in a new court filing that FLDS mothers have engaged in a "conspiracy of silence" that forced the en masse hearings they now want to redo. "

"The state argues that during a hearing held April 17-18 no attorneys objected to the format used, which it narrowly interprets to mean use of an overflow auditorium."

First, at that hearing Walthers refused to address the motions filed and even asked that the attorneys STOP filing motions! Said something about a 5 foot stack in her office.

"...requests were immediately met with opposition from the guardian ad litem attorney who had objected to the format.
"Your objections are a bit premature," Walther said. "It's not the appropriate time for any lawyer to be saying they've been denied any right."

I hope the Appeals Court scolds the CPS attorney[s] harder than they did TRLA over that mysterious April 21st order that popped out of nowhere when the CPS needed it.

If any one finds a link to a copy of that state response, please share it here!

Anonymous said...

Other than giving their name, they have every right to a "conspiracy of silence," particularly if there could be forthcoming criminal charges. Maybe the children needed removed because of that pesky belief in the Constitution, too.

In contrast to the “credible and reliable” identification requirement in Kolender, the Nevada Supreme Court has interpreted the instant statute to require only that a suspect disclose his name. It apparently does not require him to produce a driver’s license or any other document. If he chooses either to state his name or communicate it to the officer by other means, the statute is satisfied and no violation occurs. Pp. 3—6
. . . .
If a case arises where there is a substantial allegation that furnishing identity at the time of a stop would have given the police a link in the chain of evidence needed to convict the individual of a separate offense, the court can then consider whether the Fifth Amendment privilege applies, whether it has been violated, and what remedy must follow. Those questions need not be resolved here. 10—13.


Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Wow. This is incredibly misleading:

"Of the 19 youths listed as being 16 or 17, none of the boys are husbands, while nine of the girls are listed as wives. Only one 17-year-old girl remained unmarried."

Notice how carefully the reporter has picked the perimeters in order to make his point- only looking at 16 and 17 year olds first (for both genders), but then only looking at 17 year olds for the girls and ignoring girls 16 or over 17.

In fact the number of unmarried girls listed as still living in their father's homes:
16 years old- 3
17 years old-1
18 years old- 2
23 years old-1

So technically, it's true that only one 17 year old girl is listed as unmarried, but there are three girls older than her who also are listed as unmarried, and three girls 16 years old (*please* check my counting). It's also true that there simply weren't very many teenagers of any age. The vast majority of the kids are 11 and under- these are mostly young families.

I think the reporter stopped counting when he got to the page of buildings and who lived there, but there are at least two more pages of names and ages after that.

That reporter also seems to be counting marriages of 17 year olds as under-aged. I thought 17 year olds didn't need parental permission?

kbp said...

Thanks Headmistress

Help me out here.

Are those documents, possibly obtained in an illegal search, which were entered as evidence that parents allow some of their children to marry underage, but any data within them that could identify parentage ruled to likely have been forged or fabricated to mislead investigators?

SB said...

Ranger Long has lost credibility in my eyes. Does anyone think that he didn't at least have caller ID? His 19 years of working with abuse victims went down the toilet if he did not pick up anything that indicated a hoax call.
Sarah was in danger and needed help immediately. By really scrambling that help arrived 5 days later.
I don't think it is possible for someone to call the Rangers and not have the call logged. Ranger Long possessed all of the information needed to accomplish his purpose and not a smidgen more. Now that is convenient.

SB said...

I am also looking for info on the ranch. I want to know the owner, value and property tax.
Many diversionary tactics are being used to drive these people out. The real prize to be obtained is the land. Prime hunting? Gas? Oil? Somebody knows. An overall view of the area might give some clues.

Anonymous said...

Expect the lawyers representing defendants in the criminal cases to come to bear down heavily on Ranger Long's affidavit and credibility. His affidavit is an excellant example of obfuscation, innuendo, omission of relevant material, supposition, and maybe even lies, all designed for one purpose: "Git through the damn gate."

Information on ownership, assessed value, and taxes is public and can be obtained from the County Clerk and Appraisal District in the County where the property is located. I doubt that the info is online; you'll have to have someone local to get it. I do recall a 2006 article, maybe in the Salt Lake Tribune, maybe not, that the FLDS paid $450,000 in property taxes. They did not seek agricultural use valuation. County government was grateful for the payment, as it allowed them to reduce taxes on others in the County. I'll try to find that article tomorrow. Nighty, night.

Betty Lou Thelma Liz said...

headmistress, zookeeper,

18 is the age to consent to marry without parental permission.

17 is the age of sexual contact regardless of the age of the other party.

SB said...

Thanks, Doran. Just getting in was the objective and exposure would override everything else. This was Bush's plan for WMD and it didn't work then either.

The info I am seeking is not online but I will make some phone calls. Appreciate anything you have. FLDS would not be hunting on the property and they would not allow drilling by oil companies but they may be sitting on a goldmine. Whenever I go into town I see miles and miles of land that has been cleared of big oak trees and it only takes about a 6ft width for a pipeline. I have to remind myself that the trees will grow back and we need the oil.
But YFZ generates a lot of dollars that would be missed if the place were standing empty. Does abandoned property go to the state?
Another interesting thing is that Dale Barlow is not on any sex offender registry. I am either overlooking it or it has been removed so that people such as myself cannot contact him for interviews. This man now has a clean record unless my Pacer acct is lying.I think his full name is Dale Evans Barlow. That is a dead giveaway that the media comes creeping in every once in a while.

Anonymous said...

I posted a comment on this thread and it must have been censored and/or deleted by the guy who runs this blog. Most people who read it elsewhere said it was a great counter-balance to the state's ill-advised action and smear campaign.

But Mr Grits must have found that it competed too much with his similar opinions. So much for his idea of freedom of the press.

Anonymous said...

Of course, I try to be brutally honest in my posts...because it is (in my opinion) the right antidote to
politically correct BS and intentional misinformation and smear
campaigns. But decide for yourself - go to my own blog site:

I promise reality and truth mixed with my own perspective and bias(admittedly).

SB said...

"But Mr Grits must have found that it competed too much with his similar opinions. So much for his idea of freedom of the press."

You are jumping to some serious conclusions. Most of us agree with Grits take on this and it is discussion, not competition. I would also hope he is asleep at this hour. My suggestion is that you give it another try.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Chartelle, I haven't deleted any comment on this thread. There was one anonymous troll on another YFZ string where I deleted a couple of comments, but they included only mean-spirited insults toward others with no argument or content but namecalling. If that's not you, then you must have left your comment somewhere else b/c I didn't delete it.

That said, free speech means you have the right start your own blog, not that I have to tolerate every bit of nastiness people want to say in Grits comments. I definitely reserve the right to moderate comments that are libelous or insulting without content, and certainly don't apologize for it. best,

Anonymous said...

To lowery.shirley:

I sent a couple of links to Scott by email, because I have not the skill to paste links in here, or to use the html method. Maybe someone can explain that process to be. Please, go slow and be gentle.

If you google FLDS Eldorado Taxes, you can find a couple of newspaper articles which mention the taxes paid. The taxes were, according to one of the articles, $400,000 dollars in one tax year. And, according to that article, the property is assessed/valued at $8million, by the appraisal district, I assume. With the exception of Bastrop County Appraisal District, which tends to value all property in the county way above true market value, districts tend to understate the actual market value of real estate. So take the $8mil as a close estimate.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Kbp, I wish you'd put all your comments, including links, up on a blog. IT would make it easier to find them again when I want them.=)

Has anybody seen this?
Claims that FLDS teen pregnancy rates are higher than anywhere else, but also claims that there is a currently pregnant 13 year old.

Regarding ranger affadavits- didn't Ranger Long also state on an affadavit that there was a bed (or beds) where an informant told them that over-aged men have sex with brides under 17? And since we now know they had no 'inside' informant, but only an exFLDS member who had never even been inside an FLDS temple or on the ranch (same thing, since the only FLDS temple is the one on the ranch), then doesn't that indicate that, at best, he was incredibly slopping with his sourcing, and that he possibly lied?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

RE: "since we now know they had no 'inside' informant, but only an exFLDS member who had never even been inside an FLDS temple or on the ranch (same thing, since the only FLDS temple is the one on the ranch), then doesn't that indicate that, at best, he was incredibly slopping with his sourcing, and that he possibly lied?"

B.I.N.G.O. and Bingo was his name-oh!

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Oh, and Texas is going to immunize the children- although their parents and Parker say some of them have been immunized already:
""It appears to be a totally unimmunized population," said Patrick Crimmins, department spokesman. "We're the legal parents of the children and we would like for them to be immunized." "
I don't like the practice I've read about where the 'Prophet' reassigns families and fathers. But I don't see Crimmins reassigning 464 children to the parental care of CPS as an improvement.

Anonymous said...

Lowrey.shirley wrote: "The real prize to be obtained is the land. Prime hunting? Gas? Oil? Somebody knows."

Mineral rights are separate from surface rights. Who owns the mineral rights may indeed be the $64K question.

Anonymous said...

Polygamists Are Asked About Fostering Children

[Utah’s attorney general]Mr. Shurtleff and [Arizona’s attorney general]Mr. Goddard agreed that Texas had been forced into the position of a mass raid by the secretive, command-down structure of the Eldorado leadership and the demonstrated willingness by the F.L.D.S., they said, to flout child-marriage laws.

Are these two postulating that the raid was the fault of the FLDS? If so, is this speculation on their parts, or do they have information indicating Texas's prior and unsuccessful attempts to avoid raiding the compound? If the latter, it would certainly help those still trying to rationalize the massive law enforcement action. Of course, admitting that would diminish the already questionable credibility of the 'Saving child Sarah' warrant. It could perhaps even cast that warrant in the light of being a small part of a conspired act to run these people out of the state.

It appears, on the surface, as if Texas (as defined by the AG's of Utah and Arizona) has been trying to find some way of getting rid of 'these people' for a while. It most likely began when they first came to town, since that's about when the local sheriff began investigating them. It's quite likely that many of the county residents were becoming dissatisfied with the sheriff's ability to deal with this plague and were seeking alternatives in the sheriff job position. With many (if not all) of the FLDS adult males being hard working, industrious individuals, it's even possible that after they had built their 'compound', that they began taking their cement trucks and building skills into town, obtaining construction jobs from those who were previously being awarded those jobs. There are a number of potential reasons (other than specific religious beliefs) that caused the local townsfolk discomfort. These townsfolk were probably demanding (well, we know they were definitely urging) the sheriff to do something about the situation much sooner than this raid. It's difficult to believe that an elected official will search for a solution to a 'problem' for 4 years, and not be able to find a solution. It's also not difficult to believe that an elected official could fabricate a solution as time began to run out, and his potential job security depended on such a solution.

To the topic of this specific blog title, "Why won't Texas officials admit YFZ call was hoax?", the answer is to be found in the actions prior to the raid, not the actions after the raid. After is where the media and legal focus resides now, because it's news worthy. Prior is where the focus needs to be, because it's justice worthy. Sealing Swintons prior court cases and secreting her away (whether encouraged or assisted) are mighty suspicious indicators that someone doesn't want anyone else finding out what went on beforehand. Engineering a solution in such a way as to leave many 'empty chair' escape routes clearly takes time and considerable contemplation. This case is full of 'empty chairs', from Sheriff Doran, to Ranger Long, to Mrs. Voss, then Mr. Azar, and an ever expanding multitude of others.

Anonymous said...

Here is the state's response to Steed:

Would appreciate if someone could link it - I don't know the html

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

And here is Steed's response to the state:

Anonymous said...


SB said...

Thanks, Doran. I like looking at different approaches to the same problem.


"Mineral rights are separate from surface rights. Who owns the mineral rights may indeed be the $64K question."
You are so right. It all begins on the surface and without access so whatever is beneath the surface will stay beneath the surface. This is too big a job for those slanted wells that suck all of the good stuff from underneath your neighbor.

Anonymous said...

lowery.shirley, I doubt this is a land-grab deal. More likely a Baptist deal. Though $ could be an issue it would take something concrete to go there.

kbp said...

"Claims that FLDS teen pregnancy rates are higher than anywhere else, but also claims that there is a currently pregnant 13 year old."

First, the "anywhere else" rates mean didley squat.

Second, the source for that 13 YO pregnancy is show to be the Chron;
There also is one pregnant 13-year-old, "but most are in the 15 and 16 range at the time they conceived," Azar said. "Some teens have multiple children.

Note the BS method of inserting the quotation mark in a manner that leads many to believe the "one pregnant 13-year-old: is actually a quote of Azar from the CPS? Total spin there. Yellow journalism at it's best.

A "looksy test" at best is my guess, if Azar even said it.

I do plan on emailing and questioning the reporters, which I have been in contact with on other topics. I can't believe I missed this article. :(

kbp said...

Can't recall if I had shared this here.

YFZ Ranch BIG Photo Album

kbp said...

From the state's response:

Page 7
Five entries in the “Bishop Records” PETITIONER’S EXHIBIT 4 reveal the following:
The “second to last one” was thirteen years old when she conceived a child.

I snipped 2 - 15 and 2 16 YO's that were to have conceived also. I then went over that Exhibit 4 again and have no clue where they are getting these records listed in this response.

Page 34
All of the 468 children were removed from one compound on the YFZ Ranch, and the investigation revealed that the FYZ Ranch, for all intents and purposes, was essentially one household comprised of extended family subgroups. The community has one common belief system that young girls are called on to be wives and no age is too young to be married. ...Although the YFZ Ranch complex contains several houses, it is one large community. Ms. Voss indicated that this investigation was analogous to other investigations in that when one victim is found in a home, the investigator will have concern for all of the children in that home. In this case, since the ranch was considered one large home or community, Ms. Voss had concerns for all the children there.

Still stuck on the NEED to classify the ranch as a single home. So much more to respond to, but I'll wait.

Went to son's college graduation all day, so I hope to read TRLA's reply tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

kbp, the State's pleading will make it hard for CPS to deny that they are taking children out of a "home" based upon the religious beliefs of the parents.

The State of Texas has admitted that it is interfering in the constitutionally protected parent-child relationship by making an additional unconstitutional interference with freedom of religious belief. The State's position should make all religious bodies in this State take notice and get on the phone to their elected Reps and Senators. Muslims in particular should be alarmed, as should Jews who practice ritual genital circumcision of baby boys. Baptists, historically very sensitive to State interference with religious freedom, should be alarmed.

I really don't expect the 3rd Court of Appeals to sustain the State on the removal of children on the basis the State has asserted. It is just too much interference with religious beliefs. On the other hand, appellate courts in general tend to find some grounds to sustain a trial court's judgment, so maybe the 3rd Court will find some other reason in this case to sustain the trial judge.

I hope the bloggers who have been following this will emphasize as frequently and as widely as possible that the State of Texas, acting through CPS, is now vetting the suitability of parents to keep their children based upon the religious beliefs of the parents. I know of no other instance in Texas history when religious beliefs have been grounds for taking kids away from their parents.

Anonymous said...

From TRLA's Reply

Page 15 of PDF (Identified as 9 on the Reply

While addressing the "heightened standard of proof to remove children", TRLA points out a misfire by the Deparrtment [CPS], where it had argued cases cited relating to custody termination being a liberty interest should not apply because TEMPORARY custody evidently does not violate any liberty, so that TEMPORARY means no harm, no foul.

It's a bit confusing because the Department promotes their idea on the "household" (ranch) being classified as a SINGLE HOME, in which "the household... includes a person who... has sexually abused another child" [Section 262.201(d)], so they are apparently claiming the 3 requirements of Section 262.201(b) are met that way, while TRLA points to "EACH child" (emphasis added).

If the ranch is actually a single HOME in the eyes of the Appeals Court for some reason (A big IF which I see as THE key factor in this debate), then the records indicating any children under 17 that are pregnant or with child and NOT legally married appear to meet the requirements that allow temporary custody. Then it's an argument more of what is fact versus what is supposition, which I am uncertain if the Appeals Court will consider, and the "each child" falls by the way side because they are family within that home.

It was interesting how TRLA started addressing this liberty issue by noting: "More disturbing than the Department's misstatements of key facts in it's response..." followed later with; "Despite the testimony of its own witness, the Department [CPS] apparently views the temporary removal of a child is of little harm to anyone, and therefore the requirements of Section 262.201(b) can be met with mere INNUENDO, SUPPOSITION AND EXTRAPOLATION, rather than actual evidence as to EACH element of Section 262.201(b) for EACH child removed. (emphasis added)

On page 16 of PDF (Identified as 10 on the Reply), TRLA appears to cite a case from the 2nd Circuit that looks dead on. I'm uncertain that if the Appeals Court decides this is a single home case, classifying all them as a family or group, how or if the case can be cited later in future suits by the CPS. It would certainly open the door to condemn groups! Need legal wizards on it for a better review than I can make!

Rather ironic I'm setting aside time to read some of this on Mother's Day!

(trouble with the blogger sign in today??)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I had not read your comment before my last post.

Absent a copy of the Temp. Order, we are uncertain if Walthers based it on the ramblings by Voss on those "beliefs".

I see the Department's strongest argument of concern being subject to whether or not the Appeals Court determines the YFZ Ranch is a SINGLE HOUSEHOLD, therefore just one big happy home in which all living there are family, so the court would most likely then see that "a person of ordinary prudence and caution" may find there was sufficient evidence to meet Section 262.201(d).

Section 262.201(d)
(d) In determining whether there is a continuing danger to the physical health or safety of the child, the court may consider whether the household to which the child would be returned includes a person who:
...(2) has sexually abused another child.

It still reads to me like the (d) has to meet (b), but going back to the "single home" topic, it might be easy for it to at least meet the first 2 of the 3 prongs required there, and the 3rd is open to judgment supported by the various, changing excuses Voss gave.

Section 262.201(b) in part:
(1) there was a danger to the physical health or safety of the child which was caused by an act or failure to act of the person entitled to possession and for the child to remain in the home is contrary to the welfare of the child;

(2) the urgent need for protection required the immediate removal of the child and reasonable efforts, consistent
with the circumstances and providing for the safety of the child, were made to eliminate or prevent the child's removal; and

(3) reasonable efforts have been made to enable the child to return home, but there is a substantial risk of a
continuing danger if the child is returned home.

kbp said...

TRLA's Reply...

Page 22 of PDF (Identified as 16 on the Reply)
4. The proof regarding girls under 15 is also insufficient.

"...(2) a notation in the "bishop's record" that a 13-year-old girl had conceived a child....

The second piece of evidence, the bishop's record notation, is similarly equivocal. Based on the evidence, the only indication is that this took place years ago, and therefore it may not represent the beliefs or practices of any current mother who lived at the YFZ Ranch.

This has me baffled. TRLA's Reply leaves me to believe there is something in the Bishop's Record that indicates a 13 YO conceived at some point in time within those records. The Bishop's Record, which is identified as "Petitioners Exhibit 4" on page 44 of the PDF certainly does not clearly show that record.

kbp said...

Mental health workers rip CPS over sect
Staff complains agency traumatized kids, disregarded mothers' rights

Kathy G said...

kbp, Thanks for the link to the article. I've been hoping someone would come forward and tell what was going on in there. I hope more will follow their lead. More than that, I hope that they will be heard and that something will be done!

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Kbp, I gave only a cursory glance at the adults mothers and their children. I haven't taken the time to go over the ages of all adult mothers and their children in detail- if there's a 31 year old mother with an 18 year old daughter listed, maybe that's it?
The Trib has also reported several times that the one 13 year old was from 1997 (meaning the statute of limitations is up, I think).

kbp said...


I tried to check all the ages of daughter against mothers, where I could determine that.

TxBluesMan said...

kbp, headmistress,

If I recall correctly, the statute of limitations for Sexual Assault of a Child is 10 years past the 18th birthday of the victim.

If that is correct, then the 13 year old mother would be 18 in about 2002, and the state could bring charges against the father of the baby until 2012.

I'll try to remember to look it up later.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I believe, Bluesman, they actually eliminated the statute of limitations in "Jessica's Law" last year, which created the new crime of "continuous sexual abuse of a child," or something to that effect. That's a 25 year mandatory minimum on first offense, death sentence on the second. But the law also contemplates a complaining victim, with the longer statute of limitations to give time for supposed "found memories," etc.. Here's a post that rounds up most of my coverage of that bill.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Thanks for the clarification on the law, both TX and Grits.

It would be interesting to see that charge made, especially if she's still married to the father. I also wonder what state this happened? It is more likely to be Utah or Arizona than anywhere else.

It's also hard to see how this could have been used to bolster the state's attempts to justify removing the children of every family on the ranch- many of these parents are in their twenties- they would have been minors themselves when it happened.

And if she is actually married to the father, I suppose the state would use DNA results to charge him instead of her testimony, whether or not she's willing to support the state in such an effort.

Brooke Adams has had a closer look at the papers than any of us, so far as I know, and she took more time to look at them than the judge did before she made her ruling. She says that the 20 cases of girls in their teens who are or who have been pregnant that the state is relying on are numbers arrived at by including cases such as this one and a number of others over the last ten years.

And I have to wonder how many of those are also adults, like the first two who gave birth.