Thursday, October 02, 2008

FLDS Action quickens pace. Warrant issue looms despite being dropped, for now.

The operative words are highlighted.

The San Angelo Standard Times - "District Judge Barbara Walther formally vacated Wednesday a hearing that was to determine the admissibility of evidence alleging underage marriages at a polygamous sect's Schleicher County compound - ending, at least for now, what could have been the ultimate showdown over the validity of search warrants executed at the YFZ Ranch in April."

Here's the reasoning;

"FLDS attorneys said that because their clients are not among the nine defendants indicted thus far by a Schleicher County grand jury in the case, they have no need for the hearing to take place. The motion, released by the court Wednesday, seems to leave the door open for attorneys representing any of the indicted men to file a similar motion and begin the process again."

I do think that this allowed FLDS attorneys to get a "sneak peek" at Texas CPS strategy. Maybe I'm ascribing too much to their planning. They also may have been anticipating that by this time one of their clients MIGHT have been under indictment. Perhaps Texas delayed indicting one of those people so as to avoid confronting the issue now. They're going to have to confront it someday though.

While to some it may have seemed that the superficial signs were that the FLDS were lying down and dying, there was this development.

The Deseret News - "Attacking Child Protective Services' case that the children were removed en masse from the polygamous sect's Eldorado property because they were in immediate danger of abuse, (Robert Gibson Jr.) said the agency still hasn't made its case for his client's 2-year-old.

'DFPS and its attorneys knew or should have known that at the time they filed this suit that such an allegation was frivolous, unreasonable and without foundation and that it continues to this date to be frivolous, unreasonable and without foundation,' he wrote."

This is a reload of the warrant argument to some extent. This is the second time that I've heard a rumble that Texas KNEW at the time it went in, in one way or another, that there was no basis. Now that echo shows up in Gibson's action. Naomi Johnson, his client, is alleging "wrongful misconduct" against DFPS.

" 'At all relevant times prior to the filing of this lawsuit, DFPS was not aware of any facts and did not have any facts within its knowledge which indicated, in the slightest degree, that (Naomi Johnson) had perpetrated or had allowed anyone else to perpetrate any physical or emotional abuse towards the child,' Johnson's attorney, Robert Gibson Jr., wrote in court papers filed here."

This is where I hear the echo of the warrant argument again. It insists that at no point was there any cause against Naomi Johnson. The truth is there is cause now against the FLDS men indicted by the Grand Jury but up until the point that they began collecting evidence seized in the initial part of the raid, there was no cause against them either, just as there was never any against Naomi Johnson.

It is axiomatic that if there was no cause at any point against Naomi Johnson, there was no cause against anyone else in the FLDS either. Texas would have to drop the whole idea of an "environment of abuse" to have any hope at all that the warrants were valid, if Naomi wins her action. There will be a hearing next month on the 19th.

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1 comment:

ztgstmv said...

You are absolutely correct. It comes down to recognition that there were distinct family units on the ranch. Almost the only way to validate the whole action, both civil and criminal, is to continue to pretend or claim "they thought" at the time that the whole place was one family unit all living together as one household, which is absurd.

Case law shows that warrants are thrown out when authorities do not recognize the living quarter separations between families:

The only way around this is to ascribe probable cause by association. Or they will claim that crimes took place at the location of that address, and every one automatically was a suspect. If that argument is determined to be valid on appeal, it will definitely be a first, not only by the scale of the raid, covering numerous households, but by the nature of the crime -- bigamy and child abuse. The only other time, as far as I know, that a raid like this was validated was on a place (ask TBM for the case) where weapons/contraband allegedly were being manufactured, implying systematic criminal activity. That is why the state sees it as absolutely necessary to prove abuse of a systematic nature. But seeing as the raising of children is a highly personal affair, as opposed to weapons or drugs manufacture, I don't see how the state can determine child abuse at YFZ to be a systemic thing.