Faith in the System
SAN ANGELO, Tex. - A Texas appeals court said Thursday that the state had no right to take more than 400 children from a polygamist sect's ranch, a ruling that could unravel one of the biggest child-custody cases in U.S. history.
The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that the state offered "legally and factually insufficient" grounds for the "extreme" measure of removing all children from the ranch, from babies to teenagers.
The state never provided evidence that the children were in any immediate danger, the only grounds in Texas law for taking children from their parents without court approval, the appeals court said.
It also failed to show evidence that more than five of the teenage girls were being sexually abused, and never alleged any sexual or physical abuse against the other children, the court said.
It was not immediately clear whether the children scattered across foster facilities statewide might soon be reunited with parents. The ruling gave Texas District Judge Barbara Walther 10 days to vacate her custody order, and the state could appeal.
FLDS spokesman Rod Parker said sect members feel validated, having argued from the beginning that they were being persecuted for their beliefs.Every child at the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado was taken into state custody more than six weeks ago, after Child Protective Services officials argued that members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints pushed underage girls into marriage and sex and groomed boys to become adult perpetrators. Only a few dozen of the roughly 440 children seized are teenage girls; half were under 5.
WITH NO EVIDENCE! - my emphasis.
The appeals court said the state was wrong to consider the entire ranch as an individual household and that the state couldn't take all the children from a community on the notion that some parents in the community might be abusers.
The court said that although five girls had become pregnant at age 15 or 16, the state gave no evidence about the circumstances of the pregnancies. It noted that minors as young as 16 can wed in Texas with parental consent, and even younger children can marry if a court approves it.Bottom Line: No matter how goofy you think a hairstyle is, taking those kids based on stereotypes, a phony phone call and the misconception that the State was going to do right - was totally wrong, and I hope that all the people involved are unemployed and counter sued for the trauma they put those kids through.
Let me reiterate a point when I brought this to you the first time - if there was ANY child abuse by the men - hang 'em by their privates. If the sect is collecting Welfare checks - you can go ahead and stop that with force. But to take the kids on no evidence? - just because you think the State has to 'save them' is exactly the kind of run away insane government that I've been trying to highlight here.
Now get those kids back to their mothers!