Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rozita Swinton a no-show at Colorado court hearing: When will we hear her story?

Alleged hoaxter Rozita Swinton, whose phone calls in March to a San Angelo women's shelter set off the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup, skipped out on her court date yesterday on an unrelated hoax phone call in Colorado Springs, CO.

Like a lot of the media, I suppose, Grits diverted focus from the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup after the FLDS kids were ordered back to their parents, but it always struck me that the most important parts of this story remain untold: Namely, Rozita's role, her motives, and the inside scoop on what really transpired between her, Texas law enforcement and anti-FLDS activists in Utah in the five days before the raid. That sordid tale deserves to be told more completely, since assumptions and decisions made during that period defined and ultimately tainted everything that happened afterward.

Finally answer me this: Since authorities are sure she was the source of the hoax phone calls that began the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup - which has cost Texas taxpayers millions and given the state justice system a global black eye - why hasn't Rozita Swinton been charged for her instigatory role in the Texas case? I think it's precisely because the last thing Judge Walther and the Texas Rangers want is for her to be cross-examined under oath about who knew what when and how she was able to pull off such a grand imposture.

BLOGVERSATION: Several posts about Swinton are up over at Modern Pharisee.


Anonymous said...

I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell you! by your insinuation that the Lone Rangers are concealing evidence and using their official positions to hinder the apprehension and prosecution of a suspected criminal perp. Those actions are illegal under Texas law, and we all know and should be quick to acknowledge that Texas Law Enforcement people -- and in particular the Lone Rangers -- would never, NEVER!!!, do such things.

Anonymous said...

I have more respect for the Rangers than your average podunk PD, but they have created a mess with this one and someone is going to be forced out because of it. As bad as Walther and DFPS is by comparison, someone's going to have to go.

Can't wait for bluesman's take on this one. Not that it'll be any different than every other time his BS was shown to be inaccurate...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"someone is going to be forced out because of it."

FWIW, DPS Colonel Tommy Davis is retiring Aug. 31, supposedly forced out over the Governor's mansion fire but the YFZ Raid didn't help. He's the commander ove the Rangers. And of course, CPS Chief Cary Cockerell is also abruptly retiring.

That's two top decisionmakers gone whose agencies were perhaps most responsible for mishandling the case.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't this woman been arrested? if this had been a bomb hoax, or she had caused a panic in another venue she would be in jail without bail so fast her head would still be spinning. As our country slowing slips into this void of less and less individual rights we will see more of the states protecting thin cases such as this by not offering up their "victims" or stoolies...

Ron in Houston said...

You raise a lot of interesting questions.

I'm not certain the collective conscious of state officials feels bad enough about the raid to call for sacrificial lambs.

Hugh McBryde said...

I've only been laying on this horn with both hands now for three months.

They should check with Mary Catharine Nelson, her foster mother, in Tennessee.

SB said...

Rozita probably caught a ride on Flora's underground railroad. Hopefully, she is still alive. Law enforcement could find her but that would not be in their best interests. Does anyone think we may never hear this part of the story?

TxBluesMan said...


My reaction is simple.

Issue a bench warrant and arrest her.

Hugh McBryde said...

Yes Blues, but no one in a decision making capacity in her case really WANTS to know what she has to say.

By the way Blues, you got any idea why her attorney didn't show EITHER?

Anonymous said...

Tx, a warrant has been issued, already. What is your opinion vis-a-vis the "Rozita five day rule": Does Colorado have one to apply to the warrant? If not, will Colorado give full faith and credit to the Texas Rozita five day rule?

Anonymous said...

If CPS and the Rangers had followed standard kidnapping search procedures instead of child abuse procedures, the mess could have been avoided. There weren't any children with serious injuries caused by their parents. There weren't any complaints from the teenagers that they wanted out. There weren't any bruises from fighting among the adults. The only thing they had was perhaps minor emotional abuse (not any more than in most homes and foster homes have much more) and some young looking mothers with large number of children.

I'm not certain Texas can prosecute Rozita for this incident; however the Feds could (it's an interstate issue), but nobody in Texas law enforcement wants them to look at this case for fear they may be prosecuted as well. Some of the illegally kidnapped FLDS mothers (the ones CPS claimed weren't 18) could go to the US DA's office in Lubbock and kick off a prosecution.

TxBluesMan said...

Anon 3:33:

First, Texas can prosecute if they can prove that she made the call and that it was received in the state of Texas.

Second, the U.S. Attorney does not have jurisdiction under the Federal Kidnapping statute for several reasons:

A - the actions do not meet the necessary elements of the offense. The 'victim' was not transported across state lines, it was not in the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction (i.e. at sea or on a reservation, etc.), it was not a hijacking of an aircraft, it was not a foreign official / diplomat, and the 'victim' was not a federal officer or employee.

B. You cannot be tried for kidnapping unless the seizure was unlawful - and a court order authorizing the removal of the children makes, for the purposes of the prosecution, the removal lawful.

kbp said...


"Since authorities are sure she was the source of the hoax phone calls that began the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup"

Where did you find that? It's still under investigation last I read, meaning nobody at the state admitted Rozita is "Sarah".

I do agree on WHY she will not be testifying in a Texas court. Even if she was caught and charged in Texas, walthers would have to schedule a hearing and the prosecutor would have to avoid plea bargains to get her on a stand.



Rage was talking about Texas and there is no warrant for her arrest in Texas. Just a fast paced investigation on a 'person of interest'(lol!).

Hugh McBryde said...

Texas needs EVIDENCE to hold or arrest someone? When did this happen?

Hugh McBryde said...

Oh, now she shows up. Her attorney says, even though I knew, and you knew and we all knew she had a court date YESTERDAY, that SHE didn't know.

Ok, I'm a little dense here. I can't believe that her attorney, at least, didn't know. So let's suppose that they genuinely misunderstand that SHE has to be there, even though HE is a former prosecutor in Colorado. Doesn't HE have to show up?

I smell outrageous lie. Her court date has been rescheduled to Tuesday, August 6th, and the warrant quashed.

Anonymous said...

Prior to the announcement about Col. Davis was (June) news that Captain Barry Caver was retiring. Caver was THE guy in line for top Ranger if not Davis' position, but instead is going to the oil industry.

This is called 'payoff' for a 'dive'. Caver knows (hell, everybody knows) how the YFZ case stunk, but Caver knows the details and who ordered what. Lo-and-behold, somebody in big oil calls him out of the blue and asks if he wants $100k per year to sit on his butt. Caver knows what's good and bails out.

That makes the entire state LE command line, on-scene and HQ, absent by late summer.

Gritsforbreakfast says: "That's two top decisionmakers gone whose agencies were perhaps most responsible for mishandling the case"

There still Perry :-)

But seriously, the problem (over reacting, illegal acts, attempted religious persecution, etc) originated in mid-level CPS offices. Voss drove this issue; she and her office need to be swept out as thoroughly as any other rat nest.

Anonymous said...

As usual, a poet/singer/song writer has already said it best.

Stephen Bruton, "Getting Over You":

",,,there's a vantage point, and it takes some time to find,

"where you can see how all the pieces fit

"as you watch them fall apart."

Anonymous said...

I know some of the command guys are leaving, but it's gonna roll down hill and force some of the ones who were in on the investigation directly to quit.

Anonymous said...

There's an automatic presumption in the federal law on kidnapping if it lasts more than 24 hours, that they did it for interstate purposes. Rozita's call is also prosecutable only under federal law as it is an interstate issue, where the FCC has rule making authority. Unless the helpline is willing to file a complaint against the caller, Texas doesn't even have a cause to charge Rozita. Given that the hearing presented no evidence against any of the women, other than that they had children (which isn't a crime), and that the state did it in which persons in other states were involved (Barlow in AZ, The Jessop kin from AZ, UT AG, etc), there is a federal issue. It really looks like an interstate conspiracy to me to try and destroy the FLDS (particularly the temple site), which also makes it a matter under another part of Federal criminal law due to treaty commitments.

Hugh McBryde said...

So, did anyone hear what happened in court today? I've been out of it for a while, moving from one coast to another. I've seen no motions or news of a motion to put off the court date set for TODAY for another day, but I have heard of a "plea bargain" deal.

Did she show or has that been put off? That would be an amazing set of circumstances. No show, arrest warrant, flimsy excuse, reschedule, and then quiet deal with no publicity for yet another canceled date.