Friday, May 23, 2008

An Ambiguous Victory (Updated)

Yes, the Constitution applies even to them: FLDS member Willie Jessop turns away a CPS commissarina who demanded access to the YFZ Ranch to conduct a warrantless search. Mr. Jessop told the finger-wagging shrike to get the constitutionally mandated paperwork together, and he'd let her in.

It was shortly before noon on Wednesday, May 20, when two Texas CPS officials, in the company of armed Sheriff's Deputies, arrived at the gates of the largely deserted YFZ Ranch. Nearly everybody involved in the custody fight over some 463 people (both children and young emancipated adults dishonestly depicted as minors by the CPS) was either in court, on the way to court, or somewhere in the vast Texas state highway system trying to visit their abducted kids.

So apparently the CPS decided to exploit this opportunity to snoop around the FLDS property. The purported reason for this raid was a hot tip from a conveniently anonymous informant -- hey, we know that leads of that kind are always reliable, right? -- that five children, including one with Down's Syndrome, had arrived at the ranch sometime after the other children had been taken into government custody.

Last time, the CPS prevailed on Merrill Jessop, the Bishop (or Overseer) of the FLDS community, to order his followers to let the Child Snatchers in, despite the fact that their search warrant was entirely invalid.

Trained from infancy to comply immediately and without qualification to an order from their "priesthood head," the FLDS cooperated -- and as a result hundreds of children were abducted by the state at gunpoint on the basis of non-existent "evidence" of widespread abuse.

On Wednesday morning, however, FLDS officials were not as complaisant.

"If they have an honest complaint, we'll be honest, but we were lied to," protested Willie Jessop to the handful of reporters who had scrambled out to the ranch.

Asked later in the day about the abortive raid, CPS spokesliar Marleigh Meisner insisted (in the words of a Salt Lake Tribune paraphrase) that the agency, which "
does not conduct criminal investigations, never uses search warrants. "

Those blessed with memories longer than the life-span of the typical Mayfly will recall that the CPS did get a search warrant before the initial April 3 raid. Yes, I know that the CPS arrogantly claims that its investigators aren't impeded by familiar Due Process requirements. But it's odd, nonetheless, that the agency took the time to get a warrant (albeit a spurious one) for the first raid, but conducted the most recent one with such indecent haste that it didn't even bother with the pretense of filing the proper paperwork.

Another oddity: The 5-year-old with Down Syndrome for whom the CPS was searching on May 20 had already been abducted and was in the custody of the agency. While the CPS, even at what passes for its best, is hardly a model of competence, the haste and sloppiness of this most recent attempted raid suggests that, in addition to the agency's familiar malice, something akin to panic might have been at work.

I suspect -- but cannot yet prove -- that the attempted raid on May 20 had a great deal to do with the appellate decision (.pdf) handed down the following day (yesterday, May 21) excoriating the agency for abusing its "discretion" in conducting a mass child seizure without so much as a particle of evidence that abuse was underway or an imminent threat.

The CPS surely knew the weakness of its case against the FLDS, and could probably predict how the Third District Court of Appeals would rule. I suspect that they needed to find something to supplement its anemic brief, thereby buttressing the illusion that an investigation into actual abuse was underway and that the appeals court should let them have sufficient time to build a case.

The Court of Appeals decision is significant primarily for the tone of composed indignation with which it demolishes the CPS's claim to have conducted a "child protection" operation, as opposed to a straight-up mass child abduction under the color of State power.

On pages five and six of that document, the court makes four separate uses of the expression "no evidence" in dismissing the abuse claims made by CPS (the emphasis in each use is mine):

*"There was no evidence that the male children, or the female children who had no reached puberty, were victims of sexual or other physical abuse or in danger of being victims of sexual or other physical abuse";

*"... there was no evidence regarding the marital status of [twenty pregnant females identified by CPS as being from 13-20 years of age] when they became pregnant or the circumstances under which they became pregnant other than the general allegation that the girls were living in an FLDS community with a belief system that condoned underage marriage and sex";

*"There was no evidence that any of the female children other than the five identified as having become pregnant between the ages of fifteen and seventeen were victims or potential victims of sexual or other physical abuse";

*Except for that same group of five expectant mothers, "there was no evidence of any physical abuse or harm to any other child[.]"

The Court's ruling came in response to a petition for a Writ of Mandamus filed on behalf of thirty-eight women (referred to as "Realtors") whose children were seized by CPS. In conducting the seizure, CPS "failed to establish that the need for protection of the Realtors' children was urgent and required immediate removal of the children.... [N]one of the identified minors who are or have been pregnant are children of Realtors. There is no evidence" -- that phrase again -- "that any of the five pregnant minors live in the same household as the Realtors' children."

The decision likewise eviscerates the CPS's novel collectivist theory that the entire community should be treated as one "household" for the purpose of a child "protection" action. Under that approach, a single alleged incident of abuse would effectively incriminate every adult in the community and justify the "protective" seizure of all the resident children.

In words savoring of chilled contempt, the Court vivisected that theory and discarded the bleeding remains:

"The notion that the entire ranch community constitutes a `household' as contemplated by section 262.201 [of the Texas Code, which deals with child protection actions] and justifies removing all children from the ranch community if there even is one incident of suspected child sexual abuse is" -- here we go again! -- "contrary to the evidence. The Department's witnesses acknowledged that the ranch community was divided into separate family groups and separate households. While there was evidence that the living arrangements on the ranch are more communal than most typical neighborhoods, the evidence was not legally or factually sufficient to support a theory that the entire ranch community was a `household.'..."

Even if were proper to treat the FLDS retreat as a single undifferentiated household, the CPS is still left with that nagging, persistent lack of evidence that actual abuse of any kind was underway.

To make the case that the children at YFZ Ranch confronted a dire threat of abuse, the CPS had to go to the First Bank of Cosmic Supposition and borrow heavily on the assumption that at some unspecified future date the children may be abused. The "evidence" presented as collateral for this loan, notes the court, was that the children "live in a community where there is a `pervasive belief system' that condones marriage and child-rearing as soon as females reach puberty."

Once that belief is wedded (if you'll pardon the expression) to an actual, provable incident of sexual misconduct, it is proper to arrest the accused offender and put him on trial. Our system of laws -- as I remember reading about that system; it was dead long before my time -- was designed to deal out justice in individualized portions once due process had provided proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

The CPS has displayed disdain for that bourgeois approach: Why deal out individual justice for crimes that have been committed, when we can accuse the entire community of participation in crimes yet to be conceived, and then blackmail the adults into accepting their guilt by stealing their children?

To its considerable credit, the Third District Court of Appeals refused to ratify this Vladimir Lenin-by-way-of-Hillary Clinton approach to collective punishment in the name of "the children." And once again, the court was able to cite key factual concessions by the CPS to demonstrate how its innovative legal theory was unsustainable:

"The simple fact [writes the court in footnote 11 of the decision], conceded by the Department, that not all FLDS families are polygamous or allow their female children to marry as minors demonstrates the danger of removing children from their homes based on the broad-brush ascription of every aspect of a belief system to every person living among followers of the belief system or professing to follow the belief system."

Digested to its essence, the decision reads as follows:

If you're going accuse someone of child abuse, you have to follow the rules of Due Process. This means, among other things, citing tangible, plausible evidence of actual offenses, rather than presenting to the court the reeking discharge from your collective emunctory aperture and describing it as a novel theory of collective punishment.

This seems like a very simple and obvious proposition. But as Chesterton once said, sometimes it takes a certain kind of courage to stand up in public and say that two times two equals four.

Unfortunately, after demolishing the CPS's legal claims down to the sub-atomic level, the Court did not issue the desired Writ of Mandamus -- an order to the department to return the children immediately. This gave the CPS the option of keeping the children in its custody while appealing the decision -- a course of action the agency has, quite predictably, followed.

A new reason to hope -- but their children aren't free, yet.

Some observers believe the FLDS court victory presages an eventual -- and perhaps immediate -- restoration of the children to their families. I wish I could share that optimistic assessment.

As an appendage of the Texas government, the CPS has the resources to drag out this legal battle for as long as necessary -- until every child taken from YFZ Ranch reaches adulthood, should it come to that. Perhaps the only thing that could prevent this from happening would be a court order to CPS -- backed with a threat to hold in contempt, and arrest, non-cooperating agency officials -- that the children must be returned while the legal dispute continues.

But as I've pointed out, the CPS isn't interested in the law, only in the physical possession of the children. As long as the children remain in that agency's hands -- as long as the CPS in any state has the power to seize children in the first place -- the law simply doesn't matter.

Chipping away at the stonewall....

This is pretty compelling evidence that CPS knows its position is completely untenable, but they'll continue to drag out this matter as long as they can:

"State child welfare authorities have agreed to reunite 12 children from a west Texas polygamist sect with their parents until the state Supreme Court rules on their custody case. Teresa Kelly, a spokeswoman for the parents' lawyer, says Child Protective Services agreed on Friday to allow the parents to live with their children in the San Antonio area under state supervision."

Two things should be understood about this grudging tactical concession.

First, there is no need for the CPS to retain custody of any of these children while the legal challenges play out. The Court of Appeals decision makes it pretty clear that there is no evidence that any of the children abducted by the CPS was in danger of abuse, much less a victim of the same.

Second, even after these children are reunited with their parents, the CPS will continue to keep the families under scrutiny, as if the parents -- who have been charged with nothing -- were paroled criminals.

I'm a full-time cynic, and in my spare time cynicism is my favorite hobby. Perhaps this is why I think the Texas CPS is desperately trying to extort abuse accusations from at least some of the FLDS children over whom the agency retains custody.

These people are as disinclined to surrender the children as Hillary is to bow out gracefully, and for roughly the same reason: A pathological lust for power.

Available now!

What have you done today to earn a place on The List?


A Radical Whig in Chattanooga said...

I must compliment Mr. Jessup for having the courage to turn away to female kidnapper......... the harpy was openly carrying heat. No doubt the piece on her hip was intended to intimidate.

A Radical Whig (they know where I live!!!!!!!!!!)

fish said...

I hope that every sleazy greasy ambulance chasing attorney for every corner of this formally great country is on his or her horse as we speak!! I hope they break Texas!

santa's list said...

The law doesn't matter because the rule of law is dead. It died when that double digit IQ chimpface third rate Forrest Gump imitation Shrubya took office. F*@k them and their law. I don't respect their authoritay never have never will. The sooner people realize we are on our own and the gov leviathan is something to be avoided at all costs the better off we will be.

Anonymous said...

The blowdried hairdo who "governs" Texas issued the following statement:

"This is an ongoing legal matter, and our office is confident that state’s lawyers will review the appropriate next steps in this case to ensure the safety and welfare of the children involved."

Translation: "I'm too chickensh*t to intervene in this catastrophic trainwreck, so I'm just gonna lie low and pretend it has nothing to do with me."

What a lisping, simpering eunuch. If Hillary would donate a testicle to "Governor" Perry, they'd both have one.

Anonymous said...

I will keep praying for all of the children's release to their parents and their own home.

Rick Perry is the lead man in this filthy fascism. I will do every thing in my power to attribute this atrocious activity to him and his Bush and Bilderbergers buddies.

This was so wrong and so bad. Whatever real justifications Texas Department of Family and Protective Services ("CPS") and their "case workers" ever had for taking children from their homes is blown to kingdom come now. Their whole existence is illigitimate and crooked just like "governor" Rick Perry.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I never actually saw the gun. So much for "civil investigation" and "we are not law enforcement". I doubt she carried the "heat" because she was exercising her Second Admendment rights. Oops! If the FLDSers would have exercised that right it would have been a blimish...I guess it is only okay for "non-law enforcement civil investigations" to carry. I have never seen CPS carry a gun until today. I knew here in Texas they use police more and more (even SWAT teams now). Texas Homeschool Colaition Association reported this week that Texas CPS once again went crazy and ignored the fourth admendment. Some children went to the front yard to call after a dog that got loose and apparently a woman driving by saw them and stopped and told them they should not be outside and called the police. Texas CPS and police forced their way in (without a warrant) and took the children saying they were in "immediate physical danger". Now they are using this phrase to justify anything now. CPS needs to have better defined outlines of removal (I thought it was specific enough but I guess not enough for CPS) and punishment like the rest of government or citizens when they violate the law. All in the name of "child abuse".... (there is a vast difference between a father/mother beating their child or starving them to death and children chasing a dog). I also read that family whose children were on vacation in Colorado whose children were seized for being "skinny" and "vegetarians" never got their children back. This is plain wrong and I know people hate the comparision to Nazism, but I can't think of a better comparision than the SS to their own citizens. It is sad that BASIC constitutional rights are having to be reinforced in upper courts while the victims suffer. Read a post where a baby did not recognize his monogomous nonabusive FLDS father--you can never pay enough to make up for such punishment.

Daniel Maxwell said...

I was glad to see victory in this case.

WNG, I am glad you toned down your criticism of the FLDS themselves. For the most part, 99% of the families and their children seem happy and healthy. God knows they would be neither if they all stayed the abusive farm system known as foster 'care'.

traitor2tyranny said...

"What have you done today to earn a place on The List?"

Not enough! Well actually I don't know how much is enough.

Yesterday my wife and I stood with a pastor out in front of a Planned Parenthood killing center. Does that count?

Tomorrow I host a sign painting party to paint signs to show in front of planned parenthood.
I am considering what to put on the signs. Here are some ideas we have so far.

We have a friend with Downs Syndrome who might hold a sign that says "They murder people like me here".

"Baby Murders in Progress"

"Planned Parenthood Killing Center"

"Planned Parenthood Death Camp"

"Planned Parenthood = Murder"

"Innocent Babies Murdered Here"

"America's Holocaust : Planned Parenthood"

Planned Parenthood : Planned Murder

"Unjust War is Murder"

"America's Blood Guilt"

"Baby's Murdered here on Thursdays"

"George Bush Funds Planned Parenthood"

"Racially Motivated Murders Happen Here"

"Planned Parenthood is a Hate Group"

Maybe this will be enough to get on a list.

Anonymous said...

"reeking discharge from your collective emunctory aperture"...

man, the next time i get into a heated debate, i'm borrowing that one! that was pejoritively french while garbed in an english cloak.


Gerl said...

Investigating the TX Supreme Court, I find this on the side bar.

It is a "Commission"--guess what for:

'Permanent Judicial Commission For Children, Youth & Families'

These folks are not the 9 justices---rather, read their connections--CPS, Commissioners, DHHS, Rick Perry's cronies.

Go read its mission--then see the connections on the "commission."

The Supreme Court deck is already stacked against the FLDS.

MoT said...

"apparently a woman driving by saw them and stopped and told them they should not be outside and called the police."

Of course! Who needs enemies when socialist busy-bodies shuttling their glutamous maximus' around are ratting you out!

MoT said...

Whig... Isn't amazing how many agencies pack heat! They're scared that someone will finally snap after being pushed too far.

Anonymous said...

Here's a point to ponder. The CPS folks were so busy rounding up every kid in sight in the raid of the YFZ ranch that they had no idea whose kids they were kidnapping. Now the CPS is complaining that, if they have to return the kids to their parents, they won't know how to do that because they don't know who the parents are! Just another illustration of the collectivist mentality of round-'em-up first and sort-'em-out later.

Anonymous said...

Echoing the mass custody hearings for the FLDS children, a mass sentencing was conducted for the 270 immigrants seized at an Iowa meat packing plant. The NY Times describes its wonderful efficiency:

"The illegal immigrants, most from Guatemala, filed into the courtrooms in groups of 10, their hands and feet shackled. One by one, they entered guilty pleas through a Spanish interpreter, admitting they had taken jobs using fraudulent Social Security cards or immigration documents. Moments later, they moved to another courtroom for sentencing."

So instead of just sending these folks home to their wives and kids in Guatemala, the Fedgov is going to incarcerate them for five months at a cost that I estimate to be $7 million, maybe as much as $10 million. That's the only way this country can create jobs anymore -- hire one group of humans to feed and guard other humans in cages.

Somewhere the ghost of Joe Stalin is smiling. Obviously if the prison-industrial complex wants to grow from 2.2 million inmates to (say) 5 million, we're going to need mass trials to move the human meat through the system. (Note that gigantic federal "justice" palaces have been popping up like mushrooms across the land for the past couple of decades, as the fedgov grabs market share from the states in the human caging biz.)

Sheeple will be inclined to reason, "I'm not a cultist or an immigrant, so it don't confront me." Oh, the ovinity! After all the cultists and immigrants have been "processed," what's left but the good old defenseless middle class?

Sentence first, trial later! Move 'em out! Secure the Homeland!

Michael K. said...

Does posting a comment on your blog get me on "the list"? Man, I sure hope so!

Will, keep up the great work - you postings are a treasure I look forward to!

WorthNoting said...

First off, this wonderful site (or is it considered "a blog"?) has been so valuable to me - it has lifted my spirits again and again.. .
Your eloquence and firm stand concerning freedom is MUCH needed.
I apologize for putting this in comments. I'm new at this.
I have several things I would like to email you that I truly feel you'd be interested in.
However, they are NOT pertaining to the FLDS matter.
"Just" other looming losses of Constitutional Rights that are both current and critical.
Is there a regular email address that I can send these to?
How is this done?
Thanks for all your hard work.

William N. Grigg said...

worthnoting -- thanks for your very kind comments. It's very gratifying to know that what I'm writing has been useful!

At some point I'm going to have to include a contact e-mail in the blog. I can be reached at: WNGrigg [at] msn [dot] com.

Anonymous said...

There was an important article in the Houston Chronicle from the viewpoint of the lawyers defending the FDLS parents. Rather amazing.

" Summary...

Lawyers cry foul in FLDS seizures

Many lawyers for children and parents in a Texas polygamist sect are boiling mad about the growing number of legal errors they claim the state has made in seizing and holding more than 460 children. "They have created chaos. They don't know what to do. This case has holes in it the size of the Grand Canyon," said Laura Shockley, a Dallas family law specialist with six clients in the case. "There is no way to fix this." She and other lawyers say some of the seized people, especially those who it turns out are 18 or older, have potent federal civil rights lawsuits against the state -Mary Flood/Houston Chronicle "


Here is another story that amuses me no end. "Officials from the Texas Department of Family Protective Services say the agency is struggling to reduce a growing backlog in reimbursement requests for out-of-pocket expenses from caseworkers in the field "

The child abductors can't get their out-of-pocket expenses reimbursed by their NAZI agency. I hope every one of those unAmerican case workers get ripped off to the max in out of pocket expenses. In addition to those expenses, each of them will have lifelong destroyed consciences and souls. Their only chance of returned to the living is for each of them to quit their crooked jobs immediately and tell all to the nearest mainstream media reporters.

I know this is a horrible price to pay for the "ticket" to prevent Rick Perry from honestly ever winning another governor's race in Texas, but, by God, I am going to use it to the max.

This evil is his doing, his and his evil puppetmasters.

poster is Ms. Jeannon Kralj
Austin, TX
(Google won't let me sign in with a name for some odd reason, so I always have to post as "anonymous" here)