Thursday, June 26, 2008

Some FLDS women take the 5th?

In scanning around for some insight into the Grand Jury proceedings, I came across this story from Lisa Sandberg at the Houston Chronicle;

"(Rod Parker) said state prosecutors failed to provide written assurances that witnesses engaged in polygamist unions would not be tried later on bigamy charges, either here or in places outside their jurisdiction, like Utah or Arizona, where the FLDS has its stronghold.

'I think the whole thing fell apart because (state prosecutors) failed to offer the necessary immunity,' Parker said. 'There are Fifth Amendment issues here.'"


I think that the Grand Jury was anticipating longer testimony and therefore expecting to meet longer than just yesterday. It would appear that one, probably more FLDS women took the 5th. I base that on the fact that a number of witnesses came and went in regular cycles of about 40 minutes and Rod here virtually says at least ONE of them plead the 5th. The pattern suggests that perhaps all of them did. It also suggests that the state of Texas has no recourse but to offer immunity if they hope to have them testify. That in turns suggests they have taken the month off to figure about who among the FLDS women they plan to give that immunity.

This also suggests that if they do give them immunity and they don't testify, the state of Texas faces the unattractive prospect of jailing women indefinitely for contempt. The very people they say were being abused and were without any real strength of will.

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11 comments:

georgewiley said...

I'm really curious as to whether attorney Malonis asserted her client's attorney-client privileges. Or did she tell the grand jury some things that Teresa had told her?

How long was Malonis before the gj?

Hugh said...

She is supposed to have invoked attorney-client privilege for at least part of the testimony they asked her to give. I can't remember where I read that.

kbp said...

Malonis did not testify.

On that immunity, Rod pointed out, it was "in places outside their jurisdiction".

Makes one wonder if they planned to visit a few states next year on vacation, if they'd need immunity in all those states.

The outcome I'm seeing is nobody will ever testify, simply face charges I guess, if such happens.

This could drag on forever.

Hugh said...

They're going to scheme on who get's charged by the next meeting. That's what will be done in the intervening time. That is, unless someone pulls the plug on this, but Babs isn't going to do it.

The Trib reported that the kids had to stay in state ninety days after they were given back. That means labor day weekend at the latest CPS will try again.

georgewiley said...

Kbp, there are two things that jump out of the article to which you linked.

One was Malonis' reference to "my" attorney-client privilege. That privilege is not hers, it is her client's privilege.

The second was her suggestion that her client, by making emails public, would waive her attorney-client privilege. So here Malonis, is pre-emptively placing blame on her client, when it is Malonis who has been blabbing to the media. If Malonis thinks her client is endangering her attorney-client privilege by making those emails public, because the client is dis-satisfied with Malonis' conduct as her attorney, then Malonis should ask the court to permit her to withdraw as Teresa's attorney.

Pligchild said...

You have to take what Lisa said someone said (as in the first paragraph) to be exactly opposite of what the quotee meant. I know this from personal experience.

Hugh said...

It still makes sense that they took the 5th. I think I would strongly consider that strategy. Bigamy IS illegal. I know and most Polygyny advocates know, that if a test case on Bigamy every gets before the United States Supreme Court it will probably result in the decriminalization of Polygamy, but it's still against the law in the sense that there's an unconstitutional law against it that no one wants to enforce.

Thus, on the stand, one could take the 5th with good legal reason. That does force Texas to either grant immunity or pursue some other course. The immunity strategy MAY MEAN that Texas also uses that to threaten the witness with removal of her children by placing Mom in jail and either forcing the father into the open or rendering the child parentless by having no father (parental rights terminated) and a mother in jail.

kbp said...

Hugh

That "mother in jail / take children hostage" strategy may not be as simple as you make it sound (the short version you wrote).

I don't think that "bigamy" charge by itself passes the bar established to take custody.

Hugh said...

As long as Polygamy/Bigamy laws remain on the books, the criminal liability is in theory, still there. That's what the 5th is about, giving testimony that makes you liable elsewhere, if only in theory.

Teresa is "of age" in other states. She may travel there some day and be arrested for "bigamy", at least in THEORY. The fact that she will not be convicted either through jury nullification or the claim that in the eyes of the law she CANNOT be married is irrelevant. The fact that the conviction if it ever occurred may be overturned by SCOTUS, also irrelevant.

I'm operating on the theory that most if not all the FLDS women plead the 5th. Their testimony time indicates that the did do so, Rod Parker virtually claimed that at least one woman did.

I don't think they're really worried about bigamy/polygamy convictions. I think they're worried about the side effects of their testimonies.

cheese said...

Doesn't the Attorney-Client priveledge belong to the clien? Isn't it the intent of the priveledge to protect the client from having their attorney reveal things(voluntery or involuntery)that were discussed between them in private? So if Teresa revealed one item that they talked about in private, then Natalie now has the right to reveal every other thing that was talked about? Am I missing something? Doen't the "priveledge" belong to the client?

Hugh said...

Malonis is saying that the attorney client privilege is being breached by the client, and that since it is breached she may be forced to testify.