Thursday, December 18, 2008

CPS Violates Texas law by refusing to release information?

Your Modern Pharisee has asked precisely this information from Patrick Crimmins, personally on November the 3rd.

The Houston Chronicle - "On Wednesday, agency spokesman Patrick Crimmins confirmed that the abuse investigation is finished but said the findings would not be released because CPS officials want to release them later in an upcoming report. The agency hasn't set a date for that release, Crimmins said.

'The findings are going to be included in an overall report on the Eldorado operation,' said Crimmins. 'And that's the point when the findings will be released.'

The Texas Public Information Act does not provide for an agency to withhold readily available public information unless it meets certain exemptions.

But CPS officials are not claiming the abuse investigation findings meet any exemption.

The Chronicle's request does not seek the names of the children, only the sex and the age of each child and whether the agency found a 'reason to believe' abuse occurred or that investigators were 'unable to determine' any abuse or neglect happened."

I began asking this precise question over a month ago and began to contact Patrick by phone, myself. Patrick referred me to the state's Attorney General and Larry Strickland. The Attorney General's office at best, did nothing more than take messages. I wanted nothing more than the demographic information on the remaing 37 children. Now there are only 19. My contention at that point was the case was no longer 436 or more children, but down to an "inbox" sized stack of files or a page size summary. It should be therefore "fingertip" type information. A sheet probably exists, and could have been accessed by Mr. Crimmins, and it is public record.

I would say that I am shocked to find now that it is against the law to withhold that information but that would not be the case. Unexpected might be a better term since I asked for something clearly within the scope of public knowledge and something that was clearly a manageable number. Now we're down to 19 and the Houston Chronicle is being refused the information. This is a lawless agency.

I remark from time to time that the Former Soviet Union had a wonderful bill of rights in their constitution. Bullying autocratic refusal on the part of the despots in power made that bill of rights nothing more than window dressing trotted out to prove that the USSR had a concern for human rights. In this country we are now sliding quickly to the point where our own rights are mere window dressing, and we aer doing nothing about it. Texas arrogantly ignores it's own law. We can't even get Barack Obama to produce his "President's License" to show he can be President of this country. When these things do not outrage us, and we don't used our voices to demand what is ours, very soon we won't even be able to raise our voices to do that.

Legally, CPS owes an immediate accounting to the Chronicle, and to all of us. I suggest you call Governor Perry's office and demand that CPS be forthcoming or show good reason why not. The Citizen's opinion hotline in Texas is Toll Free: (800) 252-9600. Out of state the number is (512) 463-2000, the Office of the Governor Main Switchboard, I called the non toll free number, and was put on hold for 15 minutes because I wanted to talk to a person. There is an option to leave a message. I never got through.

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Toes said...

Don't you love it when government employees think they are above the law, while expecting the general citizenry to obey every law on all the books down to the letter?

The Pharisee said...

I'd like to be upstream from some of these people someday.