Texas Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Returning FLDS Children
The high court, which released its decision at 4 p.m. Central time, found that 51st District Judge Barbara Walther had ruled improperly to take the children into state custody and upheld a subsequent decision by the Third Court of Appeals that the children should be returned.
In its brief opinion, the court said "we are not inclined to disturb the Court of Appeals' decision. On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted."
Kevin Dietz of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid said he would work with the courts and Child Protective Services, a division of DFPS, to do what's in the best interest of the children.
"Right now, that means reuniting these families," he said.
DFPS had argued the appellate decision left it unable to guard the children's safety from what it had deemed imminent danger of sexual and physical abuse due to the FLDS practice of polygamy. The state contended that the FLDS condoned marriages of underage girls to men and groomed its boys to continue the practice.
The State Supreme Court of the State of Texas is perfectly okay with this:
Let me just point out that the State of Texas elects its Supreme Court justices. If you live in this state, and you don't believe pedophilia is a religious sacrament, these are the people you want to vote against in November. From now until the world looks level, if that's what it takes.
Shame on the "justices".
From an AP story carried in the NYT:
The Supreme Court, in a terse ruling, said, “We are not inclined to disturb the Court of Appeals’ decision.” It added, “On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted.”
(WARNING: PDF at link)
In the partial dissent, Justice Harriet O’Neill said the state had acted reasonably in seeking to remove “demonstrably endangered” pubescent girls but abused its discretion by removing younger girls and boys, too.
In its petition to overturn the appeals court ruling, the Department of Family and Protective Services said girls in the compound had reported being consigned to marriages by a church elder, “Uncle Merrill,” and “no age was too young to marry, and they wanted to have as many babies as they could.” Boys, the agency said, “were groomed to be perpetrators.”
But the Supreme Court ruled that the agency had means short of wholesale removal to protect children in danger.
Some expressed disappointment at the turn of events. Benjamin G. Bistline, a former sect member and a historian in Colorado City, Ariz., said the ruling would encourage the church’s leaders to continue their practice of polygamy and under-age marriages.
“This will embolden them,” said Mr. Bistline, who has written a history of the polygamist community and who is now a member of the mainstream Mormon Church. “It’s definitely a big win for the polygamists.”
"On the record before us" included the photographs of Warren Jeffs sexually assaulting not one but two underage female children.
Dissenting justices aside, the court today anointed the rules of the FLDS -- and theocracies, patriarchic and otherwise -- supreme above the laws of the State of Texas, and put the interests of "prophets" before the interests of innocents.
Shame on you, Justices -- you could
have taken a stand on behalf of the law. You could have taken a stand on behalf of the children. You could have said, "wait until the DNA tests come back." You did not.
Instead you chose to side with Warren Jeffs, to uphold fugitives, to anoint slavery anew -- so long as those enslaved are minors and women, who matter naught in the eyes of the money-craving monster pit that is electoral politics in the US, not less evil because the stage is smaller when the seat is in Austin -- and you chose to spit in the faces of the children whose lives could have been changed had you upheld justice.
Instead you "reunited families".
You chose to allow this:
Cynthia Martinez, spokeswoman for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which brought the appeal on behalf of the mothers, said by telephone: “We are extremely happy with the decision. Clearly the Supreme Court found it’s in the best interest of the children to be reunited with their families.
“We are communicating with our mothers right now, letting them know the news. They are one step closer to getting their kids back, and that’s been the most important thing to them this entire time.”
In Hildale, Utah, another sect stronghold, Mayor David Zitting said, “It sounds like good news” but he added he still had questions about the return of the children. Church leaders had moved many of the families from Hildale and Colorado City to the ranch in Eldorado, Mr. Zitting said, and it was unclear where they and their children would go now.
Some lawyers representing children were torn. Mary Jo McCurley, a Dallas lawyer and a former chairwoman of the state bar’s family law section, was appointed legal guardian of three of the children, including a daughter of the church’s prophet-leader Warren Jeffs, who is now in prison. Although the state did not win its case, Ms. McCurley said, it was important to remember that there were signs of abuse uncovered.
State and federal criminal investigations are under way and could still produce criminal charges.
“It’s really unfortunate, because obviously there are some children who have been sexually abused,” Ms. McCurley said. “But this doesn’t keep them from coming back and having another hearing. They could get their proof together, for example have a doctor come in and say this child is 13 years old and she has already given birth to another child, and the father of that child is 46 years old.”
Shakespeare might've been onto something after all when he wrote Henry The Sixth, Part 2 Act 4, scene 2, 71–78 .
I have never before in my life been ashamed to be Texan.
Tonight, I am.