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Removal of Children from FLDS Ranch "Was Not Warranted":

So holds the Texas Supreme Court, apparently 9-0 as to boys and prepubescent girls, and 6-3 as to pubescent girls. This thus lets stand the court of appeals decision from last week. More as I read further through the opinions.

Thanks to How Appealing for the pointer.

some guy in Ohio:
anything noted about the removal of adult women?
5.29.2008 6:51pm
EH (mail):
Nifong rears his head.
5.29.2008 7:06pm
Stephen Aslett (mail):
There are 9 justices on the Texas Supreme Court, not 7.

http://www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/

[EV: Whoops, sorry, and thanks -- fixed it.]
5.29.2008 7:26pm
Jacob Berlove:
Seems to bode well for the state as to the ultimate resolution of this case. Even the justies in the majority seemed very inclined to accept the basic theory of the government in this case; they were just "not inclined to disturb" the COA decision that the pre-trial seperation from the childrens' mothers was unwarranted.
5.29.2008 7:37pm
Houston Lawyer:
The Supreme Court is clear that protective orders may be issued regarding such issues as removing the children from the State and otherwise hindering the investigation. However, it looks like the kids get to go home soon.

We haven't moved nearly into Nifong territory yet.
5.29.2008 7:37pm
whoever:
Soooo... Are they back?
5.29.2008 7:59pm
R Gould-Saltman (mail):
I'm curious to hear, from someone, anyone, who actually practices "abuse and neglect" law in Texas, as to the frequency of appellate intervention (based on the inadequacy of fact-finding)in initial pre-trial placements in protection/foster care (based on investigators' recommendations) in average, "low-profile" garden-variety abuse/neglect risk cases.

I could be completely mistaken, (I neither practice in Dependency Court much, nor have I ever practiced in Texas) but I'm going to guess that "rarer than hen's lips" is not too far off the mark.

If I'm right, I suspect the Texas appellate courts are about to get writ applications by the truckload in those cases in which the trial court was somewhat cavalier about the procedural niceties...
5.29.2008 8:17pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Yes, can anyone tell us how rare this is? I have the impression that CPS seizes kids all the time with much less evidence than this. The court almost always approves what CPS does, and cases are rarely appealed. I also expect a bunch of writ applications, now that it is known that they can actually succeed.
5.29.2008 8:35pm
Thoughtful (mail):
One might think a 9-0 state Supreme court decision re removing boys from their parents goes a long way toward making the case state officials were acting maliciously and recklessly (and unconstitutionally if done due to dislike of the parents' religion). Does this make a civil suit against individual state agents a realistic possibility?
5.29.2008 8:39pm
R Gould-Saltman (mail):
Thoughtful:
there's a long legal distance between "not supported by evidence presented at the pre-trial hearing" and "maliciously and recklessly, so as to support a cause of action for damages". My guess is that this case is sufficiently sui generis, and the standards applied in most other Texas cases of this sort are likely sufficiently low, that it's going to be hard to sell the idea that the FLDS folks, given the logistical nightmare of the case, were treated any much worse than the average parents and kids sucked into the ependency/abuse-neglect court system grinder(as R. Schlafly and I agree; mark the moment; it's a first) )


Also, I'm not a Texas licensee, as I noted above, but I'm guessing that individual state agents may have some degree of sovereign immunity.
5.29.2008 9:34pm
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
The link is bad for the decision, Eugene. Try this one.
5.29.2008 9:54pm
ReaderY:
As I wrote in an earlier post, I agree that this is the heart of the issue and if the community is not regarded as a single household, Child Protective Services' argument basically falls to the ground. I also agree that the Court of Appeals was correct in saying that the evidence simply did not CPS's claim.

I think the point that the actual number of pregnant minors after all the dust settled is completely comparable to the number in the general population (just as the number of children with broken bones tuned out to be) is also well-taken and instructive.
5.29.2008 10:40pm
Haberdash:
Maybe it was not warranted. But haven't the authorities learned a lot since the raid? If CPS places a child in protective custody on bad information but later gets good information that abuse is occurring, what happens?
5.30.2008 12:30am