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Rights of the Unpopular

I'm worried, and I think maybe you should be, too. The media had a lot of fun covering the April 3 raid by law enforcement on the FLDS' so-called "polygamist compound" just outside San Angelo. The FLDS members have been roundly mocked, and in the public eye have been branded as outlaws and malcontents. If the charges against them are true, the FLDS members have engaged in conduct so far outside acceptable mores, that the leaders of that group should expect to never step outside a prison again in their lives.

But that's the rub. There are, to be sure, problems with the legal case. First, it turns out that the call which started the raid may well be a hoax.

And a state judge has ruled that the FLDS has the right to challenge the legality of the raid.

Law enforcement and Child Protective Services have reacted defensively, almost in paranoia, arguing that concern for the children trumped any legal rights the FLDS had. This is where I think a line was crossed. Look, I don't think there's any chance I could conclude that the FLDS is the kind of group I could ever sympathize with, but even so the last I checked even the strangest kooks have rights. The Constitution protects the Klan, the New Black Panthers, Scientology, and all sorts of groups whose beliefs offend the general sentiment. It's been twenty days since the raid, and more and more it's looking as though there was not much in the way of 'probable cause'. I mean, what evidence has the state shown to the media?

It turns out the phone call which prompted the initial warant is probably a hoax. So right from the start, a reasonable person could worry about whether this raid should have happened. The state has not shown any other evidence it had prior to April 3 which would justify its actions;

The motive for the raid, we are told, is the fear that children were being abused. Well, aside from being dressed strangely, the kids I have heard about all turn out to be pretty healthy, well-fed, not abused so far as anyone has been able to determine so far. And after nearly three weeks, I have to believe that if there was evidence of abuse, we'd have seen it. Instead, all we see are claims it happened, even though the FLDS unanimously says such behavior not only never happened, but would be considered sinful if it happened.

Some folks have gone on to claim that the FLDS leaders must be guilty, since they have not spoken out in public. But there are two problems with that claims - first, the FLDS women have come out and denied the claims, as do the FLDS' lawyers. As for anyone else, last I checked the 5th Amendment and the old Miranda ruling say a person is not required to speak at all, especially to the press.

So, a raid based solely on a phone call probably made by a person known to have made similar fraudulent calls in the past, fails to produce evidence supporting any of the main allegations. Instead of freeing the FLDS members and apologizing for the mistake, Texas doubles down and asserts unproven claims which appear to be meant to spin the group as dangerous in absence of any real evidence, and instead of sending the kids home sends them off to CPS and 'foster families' while it continues to pursue charges in the absence of any probable cause. Look, if someone commits a crime and you can prove it, nail them to the wall, but I am very concerned about the idea that a group's ranch can be raided and everyone held in custody without charges, on no substantive evidence whatsoever.

I don't agree with the FLDS, but I cannot agree with denying them their rights. Prove the charges have merit, or let them go. Anything else would be an insult to the Constitution of the United States.


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Comments (51)

DJ, I have said that from t... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

DJ, I have said that from the beginning. I think they are kooks, but kooks with freedoms. Can anyone say Nifong? ww

DJ,Agree with you ... (Below threshold)
Mattnu:

DJ,

Agree with you 100%. At least they didn't surround them and burn them out for the "children."

I live in San Angelo. I hav... (Below threshold)

I live in San Angelo. I have taken some pictures you and others might be interested in seeing. I agree with your arguments. We must obey the law, not brush it aside. No matter the reason. All people have rights. The children, the adults etc... I think as this goes through the courts we will see that. The police and social workers are not trained in the constitution. The lawyers are and in the end the rights if their clients will be protected, hopefully and hopefully so will all of ours in the process.

DJ,Sorry, off topi... (Below threshold)
nehemiah:

DJ,

Sorry, off topic. Would you consider posting a thread that mentions the new movie "Expelled"? It stars Ben Stein, and addresses how the intelligent design argument has been shut out of academic discourse. It is an important movie and I strongly recommend you watch it first. Brent Bozell reviewed the movie and has a column about it today in Townhall.com.

The children don't know the... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

The children don't know their own ages -- they can't tell who is an adult and who isn't.

The children don't know who their parents are.

The children don't know who their siblings are.

I'm for intervention in this situation.

Of course they didn't, Matt... (Below threshold)
Cannonshop:

Of course they didn't, Mattnu, this is STATE cops here-not Feds. The initial allegations are turning out to be based on a false premise. Eventually, the State's going to be forced to settle.

The truly delightful part of all this, is that nobody died, nobody turned up a gun and resisted (thus giving license for official thuggery), and the State's organs are probably going to get a good, thorough washing out from the embarassment, (or a nice class-action lawsuit of the civil-rights variety from the targets of the investigation) and if the State Courts do their damn job, it'll remind Agency types that they DO have a duty to investigate accurately before pulling this sort of PR stunt again.

The subjects of the investigation are kooks, but they're not Kriminals. Eventually, it's going to out, and people would do well to remember that we DO have "Freedom of Religion" even when said religion is "Weird".

DJThe whole "plyg" t... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

DJ
The whole "plyg" thing is no hoax. these kids typically get zero education, and the boys are disgorged from the sect when they reach puberty. It's nothing like garbage on HBO. take my word for this, or read Krakauer's book.

Adrian: Under those conditi... (Below threshold)
Jody:

Adrian: Under those conditions, are you for interventions for adopted orphans? You know, the ones which don't know their parents, siblings or ages?

IF (note the capitals) the ... (Below threshold)

IF (note the capitals) the phone call was a hoax, it is analogous to a police raid based on faulty premises: it might (or might not, depending on the facts) preclude prosecution of the suspect who but for the raid would not have been charged, but in no way does it obligate society to give the suspect back his drugs or guns or whatever else taken from the suspect that he shouldn't have had in the first place. In this case, if it turns out the kids are being abused, they get removed by social services. If not, their 'parents' can get them back. and either way, if the raid was improper, the suspects can sue for the violation of their rights.

Steve, in the absence of ev... (Below threshold)

Steve, in the absence of evidence, who has the responsibility, the defendant to prove he is innocent or the state to prove their claims?

It's been 20 days, and bupkis from the state. Ya think the media would let that ride if, say, the defendants were a union or Planned Parenthood?

DJ: definitely the state (w... (Below threshold)

DJ: definitely the state (what, you thought we'd disagree on this?), and especially in the case of alleged child abuse, where the parent would have to prove a negative (i.e., 'I didn't abuse my kids'). And I hate the idea of the state taking kids away from their parents without some serious probable cause to do so (how many parents have flinched from taking their kids to the emergency room because of fears that the gestapo, oops I mean child services, shows up?) My comment was addressed to the allegation that there may have been some procedural hiccup in the raid, that such wouldn't preclude the state from removing kids who were being abused and I wasn't addressing at all the allegation of whether there was or wasn't abuse.

See my comments on the Bran... (Below threshold)
JoeC:

See my comments on the Branch Davidian post:
(comments 28&30)
"http://wizbangblog.com/content/2008/04/17/the-davidian-raid-15-years-later.php#comment-728211"
and:
"http://wizbangblog.com/content/2008/04/17/the-davidian-raid-15-years-later.php#comment-728215"

This happens in Texas with too much regularity. Before the same thing happened to my friend Gary, I figured no way this would happen....until it did (9/11 anyone?)

When an employee of the state could make unsubstantiated allegations of child abuse AND GET AWAY WITH IT, and still has her job today; that made a believer out of me. And here we have a phone call MADE ON A CELL PHONE, one of the EASIEST methods to trace.... and they didn't bother to check it out for a week????

I live in Texas and I hope the FLDS sect sues the heck out of the CPS and wins. I have seen several posters ask "Where is the ACLU on this?" I'll tell you, because the FLDS is a RELIGIOUS sect, there isn't an ACLU lawyer who would touch this case. That would be too much supporting a rightist view, not the latest leftist cause dujour. THAT is where the ACLU is. I hope there are a bunch of CPS hacks and supervisors that lose their jobs (but I doubt it will happen.) This will all get swept under the rug until it happens again, and again, and again. It was swept away to obscurity in Gary's case. It will be swept away again.

"Its for the CHILDREN" That excuses all.

The children don'... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:
The children don't know who their parents are.

The children don't know who their siblings are.

The same can be said for many inner city kids. Should we have child services step in and steal over 400 kids on that pretense as well?
The state has no physical p... (Below threshold)
hermie:

The state has no physical proof that the children were abused.

Now, the state took the DNA of each child under the premise that they had to determine the parentage of each child. Where in the law says that is allowed? If there is no actual probable cause for the raid, then there is no reason to take the DNA of the children...except to try to 'prove' there is DNA evidence of incest.

Now this might be viable in a normal circumstance, where a number of matching DNA markers could point to that conclusion, but the FLDS population is made up of numerous close relations with many intermarriages amongst members. DNA markers have a greater chance of being similar and would bolster a claim of incest, although none may have occurred.

How dare the police take th... (Below threshold)

How dare the police take them little girls from the old men what was educating thee in the ways of love! They ought to be free to do whatever they want to their children, right? I mean they are their children, which pretty much makes them their property, huh? Next thing they'll be tellin' folks that brothers and sisters cain't be getting married. Where will it end?

Yeah Swanny, that's pretty ... (Below threshold)

Yeah Swanny, that's pretty much how the MSM has spun this. Now riddle me this:

What, exactly, do you know about what the FLDS teaches and practices?

What evidence is there for even one of the claims made?

What does it say when people like you think that insults and mockery are good enough to send hundreds of armed men into someone's home and separate families? What happens when the rule of law only gets applied to "normal" people? What happens when rumor replaces evidence, when reasonable doubt is not allowed to play its critical role in a legal investigation?

Steve, I have to say this d... (Below threshold)

Steve, I have to say this does not look like a 'hiccup'. The ONLY source for the warrant was an unvalidated phone call, which was not even traced?

Please.

This is changing from trage... (Below threshold)
Gnostic:

This is changing from tragedy into butchery!

Within the week the tears will have dried and the sorrow will begin to show itself as the clinical symptoms of depression. Now they can begin pumping the psychotropic drugs into them. Once addicted to these depression drugs they can be very difficult to get off.

How much of the spirit do you suppose the state can destroy between now and June?

Is there no Champion in the state of Texas or America that can save these innocent children?

DJ -- The FLDS are essentia... (Below threshold)
ann_in_arizona:

DJ -- The FLDS are essentially a religion built around polygamy. They follow Joseph Smith's teaching (called The Principle) that only men with more than two wives can attain the highest heaven ("Celestial Kingdom", "Heavenly Father's Presence,"). These men take their wives and children to the third heaven upon death, where they continue to live as a family and to procreate "spirit children." If anyone leaves the cult, or disobeys the Prophet, he or she is forever separated from his family in the hereafter. The Prophet is God's representative, and he has the power to bestow wives, and to take wives and children away from one man and give them to another.
The horrifying aspect of this belief is that little girls are groomed from birth to be submissive and to prepare them for "temple marriage" at a young age. One woman who left the cult in Az/Utah says they are constantly admonished to "stay sweet" as they are growing up. Soon after puberty they are given as plural wives to men based on whom the Prophet wishes to reward. Childbearing follows, which ties the young woman to the society (with no job skills or experience of the outside world), and to the Prophet lest she be separated from her children. In Utah, polygamous wives are told to get on welfare rolls for their sustenance, claiming their children are the result of anonymous sexual encounters.
Young men, as pointed out earlier, are superfluous, and are often turned out of the only homes they have ever known to fend for themselves.
Sorry, some religious expression is so evil that the state has a compelling interest in removing children from its grasp. Utah and Arizona have failed to take action. Good for Texas for stepping up.

There are elements of the F... (Below threshold)
Terryeo:

There are elements of the FLDS practice that are galling and distasteful, particularly the inculcated marriage of underage females. Texas thinking broke the doors of a temple. But those doors were broken on the basis of a single, flimsy, non-emergency phone call. Code Red break-your-doors is Texas Thinking, not lawful practice.

Sorry, some religious ex... (Below threshold)
Jody:

Sorry, some religious expression is so evil that the state has a compelling interest

You seriously want the state regulating the beliefs of churches? Doesn't that seem, you know, unConstitutional to you?

If you want to go down that path, where's the bright dividing line preventing your position from becoming a slippery slope, or does that matter?

Evidence ann, you need evid... (Below threshold)

Evidence ann, you need evidence.

You say Utah and Arizona fa... (Below threshold)
nate:

You say Utah and Arizona failed? Really? Utah convicted and sentenced the "Prophet" to prison. Texas has not even filed charges against anyone.

DJ,I think <a href... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

DJ,

I think nehemiah has a good idea, particularly for a post late on Friday or on Saturday. There was nothing happening on Wizbang last weekend and a post on the move "Expelled" is sure to stir things up.

If only they were Muslims..... (Below threshold)

If only they were Muslims... then the Obama delegate wouldn't have been so "judgemental".

2 exams, 2 term papers this... (Below threshold)

2 exams, 2 term papers this weekend Mac. Also, my mom was in surgery yesterday and I will be taking her home this weekend, so I will be out of pocket and then some.

It's a good idea, but I have no time!

13:The children don'... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

13:
The children don't know who their parents are.
The children don't know who their siblings are.

"The same can be said for many inner city kids. Should we have child services step in and steal over 400 kids on that pretense as well?"

You don't need a "pretense" in that situation. That's a reason.

Do not allow your preconcei... (Below threshold)
Christian Prophet:

Do not allow your preconceived ideas to color your judgment. I lived in a foster home, a Christian boys' home, and a state school for boys. All were hell. Also, what business has the state in deciding who can be married anyway? Help free these children. See:
http://christianprophecy.blogspot.com/

Seems like you're pretty wo... (Below threshold)

Seems like you're pretty worried about the police breaking down your door, DJ. Got something you feel guilty about? Confession is good for the soul and God will forgive you, even if the state must exact a punishment upon you for your evil ways.

I wonder how many of the folks who are decrying this have some pics on their computers that could make them the most popular girls in the cell block for the short time they survived?

Swanny,You could a... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Swanny,

You could ask the same question of those who decry the use of warrantless wire taps by Bush.

Thank-you for posting about... (Below threshold)

Thank-you for posting about this! It is a horrible travesty of justice and I agree that we all need to be worried.

"The children don't know their own ages -- they can't tell who is an adult and who isn't."

We know this how? Because CPS said so? But CPS also refused to accpt their birth certificates, tax returns, or social security numbers as I.D. The judge agreed, saying they 'might be forged. CPS insisted that many girls who said they were over 18 were lying, but their attorneys presented papers to the judge a couple days ago saying they'd proven they were adults.

"The children don't know who their parents are."

You know this because.....? The children have been counseled (*thanks to the Short Creek raids of the fifties) not to tell authorities, because that has gotten the parents arrested in the past. And when they do tell, CPS simply chooses not to believe them.

The state presented only the records of ten girls between the ages of 16 and 19 that ti claims were married 'under-age.' Only five of them are pregnant or have children. FLDS lawyers say some of these girls were married several years ago and are now adults. Texas only changed the age of consent from 14 to 16 in 2005.

We do not even know if the five girls who are pregnant were involved with over age men or teens their own age, because CPS investigator Angie Voss testified under oath that she 'did not know' whether or not she'd even tried to find out if any of the boys were the fathers.

Incidentally, Texas has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, and more than half of their teens have been impregnated by adult men old enough to constitute statutory rape, making this obviously a case where the real issue is not what the FLDS do, but what they believe.

I am all in favor of prosecuting adult men who sexually abuse under-aged girls- everywhere in the country, not just in icky religious sects. But the way Texas has handled this case is to hold captive the women and children in what even CPS calls 'untenable situations,' and leave the men free to come and go and roam at will- warning them that DNA testing will reveal their crimes, so they have been free to flee and commit abuse another day in another state.

Oh, and did you also catch that after holding everybody in custody for more than two weeks, CPS discovered it had 34 people than it realized? 21 more children and 13 more women. That speaks highly of their competence.

This stinks and I don't car... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

This stinks and I don't care if it "done for the children" and their "unintended consequence as result of doing something for the common good. Show signs of abuse charge people or let them go home.

The call was hoax made several times from out of state. LE and CPS did not even check phone records. Statements from those living in the are said they kept to themselves. The men bought gas and the women went by themselves to buy food and other stuff at big department stores.

So all the women as scared chattel does not sound so real.

The county worried about the FLDS marriage's so they changed the legal age from 14 to 16 two years after these folks move into the area.

The people who looked after the 400 odd children said they were well behaved and wanted to go home and did not show any signs of abuse.

Many of the kids were still with their mothers however a week later
They took the kids away again saying there was abuse but had not interviewed the kids and just now l taking DNA evidence.

Not one person has been arrested are charged. However they confined the men to the ranch. (Cause they men where supposedly hiding the abused girl)

The took cell phones away from the women when they tired to talk to their husbands.

However looking at CPS record they like to take children away.
http://www.fortbendnow.com/pages/full_story?page_label=home&id=59264&article-Appeals-Court-Rules-Fort-Bend-Woman-s-Suit-Against-Texas-CPS-Can-Proceed%20=&widget=push&instance=home_news_bullets&open=&

But do not have the people to look after the,now they add 416 people to the system.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/DN-cpsside_13tex.ART.State.Edition1.463e556.html?npc

So right now we have allot of rumors. I hope that the government has facts before they take anyone child away.

Are their still arrange marriages in the world? Yes, Should we outlaw them? If the legal age of marriage is 14 or 16 and some one is married is it underage marriage? Is giving condoms and teaching children how to use it in 1st and 2nd grade sexualizing them?

Let see them charge these people under the law. If they case prove otherwise this is illegal.

Polygamy is incompatible wi... (Below threshold)
LenS:

Polygamy is incompatible with Western civilization. The original GOP platform when the party was founded stated that it was against the twin evils of slavery and polygamy. They were very wise then and we need to stop tolerating this nonsense. Whatever force is required to end this evil should be used, just as was done to end slavery. The truth is polygamy under the guise of faith is just another form of slavery.

And yes, Islam is also incompatible for this reason (among many others) and it should not be rooted out with extreme prejudice from our society.

These people have chosen to reject Western civilization -- therefore they deserve none of it's benefits or protections. Kill them, exile them, lock them up for life -- do whatever it takes. And their lawyers need to be disbarred.

LenSCharge the men... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

LenS

Charge the men or women with Bigamy. Charge someone with a crime that is on the books. However let hold everyone until we can think of something to charge you with does not seem like equal protection, or innocent until proven guilty.

DJ, it would be wise to wai... (Below threshold)
E. T.:

DJ, it would be wise to wait for more information to surface before castigating Texas or Child Protective Services too indignantly. It is not their job to present evidence prematurely to satisfy your curiosity. Neither of us can know with certainty what occurred earlier or in the last few weeks. I have close friends in CPS and know they and their peers are very professional and conscientious about doing their jobs correctly, and protecting children who have few others looking out for their well-being. Their's is often a thankless job, too. Keep in mind that their normal work load is so great, they certainly do not ever need to manufacture something to do where no need exists. And the consequences of not removing at-risk children soon enough from dangerous situations can be terrible, if not catastrophic. I believe many of your concerns, if not most or all of them, will be shown to be unfounded in time. And the consequences of allowing this particular situation to stand unchecked would be disastrous for the children and society. Be patient; let's err on the side of caution.

I've seen the same people a... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

I've seen the same people around the blogs defending the FLDS. They repeat the same arguments about religious freedom.

But that is an intentional red herring to distract from the actual issues. There is no religious right to violate laws of general application. There is no religious right to violate the laws of age of consent, nor those criminalizing polygamy.

As for those who bring up criminal standards of proof, but that is a red herring. That standard is not in play here because the issue is the status of children. These are not criminal proceedings. Keep the legal standards straight.

The red herring is the age ... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

The red herring is the age of consent.
The age was 14 and then changed to 16. Specifically for this group. Since they moved in the Sherif has been inside and inspected the compound. Bigamy is the law they would have to violate and that is only if they have petitioned the state for marriage otherwise it cohabitation with multiple partners.

Again no one has been charge with any crime. They call of abuse has been verified as false. They interviewed the boys and found that they were educated and well taken care of. The girls were not found to be abused but there been statements of brainwashing.

Again let have CPS ask the DA to bring charges against the men and women for specific crimes.
Sexual assault , Statutory Rape, Bigamy etc. However I not heard of holding someone for 20 days with no charges.

Also as has been stated CPS has chosen to ignore the current law. The age of consent is 16 the 5 girls who are pregnant are 17. Even though some claim to be above 18.

I do not like this sect but the law has to be applied to all and not arbitrary and change definitions to suit the state.
Lex Rex not Rex Lex.

I am sure CPS has good people but they also contain idiots who take kids away from families on baseless charges and put them into unsupervised foster care. In NJ we had many deaths of children taken because of the system. Texas CPS just paid 4 Million in fine for not properly supervising children in their care and they hope to reach 90% inspections by 2012. This was with out inserting 416 children into the system in 1 day.
So at some time we are going to need to ask are the children better off in the hands of the state. Maybe
I

Len has unwittingly hit upo... (Below threshold)
Jamie:

Len has unwittingly hit upon the crux of the issue. Polygamy is an intolerable offense because it offends most people's sensibilities due to the way we've all been programmed by Western culture. Not to knock monogamy, but it's neither a Jewish nor a Christian tradition...it was a Roman imposition upon the Jews. Do your history, folks.

That said, the laws against polygamy have likely not ben violated here, as there were likely no marriage licenses issued to those within the compound. That leaves the state free to charge some with adultery, if that's still illegal in Texas, but that raises all sorts of problems as well. I dare say that there's a lot more adultery going on outside the FLDS compound than within.

Perhaps me viewing polygamy as One Of The Great Evils makes me less of a republican, or less of a conservative, but it tends to amuse me that other social and sexual lifestyles MUST be tolerated under the law, yet this one stands out as absolutely intolerable, though it has a history of toleration and practice in the very moral code practiced by much of Western Civilization.

As to the ages of children being married, keep in mind the fact that a couple hundred years ago, right here in America, marriage at the age of 12 or 13 wasn't uncommon. The rising age of consent, too, has been a fairly recent arrival in Western Culture. The idea of a man in his early twenties marrying a 13 year-old girl seems patently offensive now, but it doesn't change the fact that many of our own grandparents and great-grandparents were wed at those ages, and subsequently had children and managed things with relative success.

What makes these things EVIL now? Again, not necessarily defending the practices, but just throwing out some food for thought.

Here's my greater point: "Evil" is a word stemming from a concept of moral rights and wrongs. Though the role of government in imposing morality is debatable, one fact is not. Morality comes from some authority. If one cites Judeo-Christian morals against these practices, they're misinformed. If one believes morals to be a component of "conventional wisdom" then there is no true right and wrong.

On which side of that fence would you rather be?

If what has been insinuated... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

If what has been insinuated about this group is correct (that they force themselves on the underage girls) then they need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and then some. But what has happened here should scare everyone, the thought that over 400 children can be removed at the drop of a hat is frightening and it has been almost a month they have been in custody for doing nothing more than growing up in this compound.

If there is abuse of young girls, then why separate the boys from their mothers, especially if the mothers were not complicit in the abuse?

Also, how can the state of Texas summarily decide that they can conduct DNA tests on all these children? This is ridiculous and deserving of our scorn. This abuse of power can not go unchallenged, the result will be easier raids and easier removal of children based on shoddy evidence.

"Len has unwitting... (Below threshold)
Christoph:
"Len has unwittingly hit upon the crux of the issue. Polygamy is an intolerable offense because it offends most people's sensibilities due to the way we've all been programmed by Western culture. Not to knock monogamy, but it's neither a Jewish nor a Christian tradition...it was a Roman imposition upon the Jews. Do your history, folks."

Jamie, you're a moron.

Okay, I'm not a fan of polygamy, but gee.

Anyway, I disagree with SPQR above in the main:

"As for those who bring up criminal standards of proof, but that is a red herring."

Yes, this is a child safety investigation and the standards are different than criminal law. However, the CPS doesn't even seem to have come near finding fault rising to the level of the Texas statutes, which refer to imminent/immediate harm.

Perhaps one could make an argument the teenage females are in danger, assuming the allegations against the FLDS are true. Which doesn't seem to be established here. I'll grant you some of them probably are.

Now one thing I will mention is, as one would expect in a religious community, the teenage pregnancy rate in this "compound" is significantly lower than the Texas average. And this is in a community of people who believe REPRODUCTION is their sacred duty.

That tells me that the incidence of premarital sex among young people in this community is much lower than Texas statewide. Probably no more than half as common and, unlike in many other communties, there don't appear to be any pregnancies whatsoever in females under the age of 16.

(As an aside, for those here who think the age of consent of Texas is currently 16, it isn't: It's 17. Marriage is an option with parental consent at 16, without parental consent at 18.)

So while I don't agree with their religion — I am notoriously opposed to Joseph Smith and the religion(s) he founded — the state of Texas needs to get a grip and stop violating these people's constitutional rights. It's shocking to see government forces working to destroy a faith absent serious credible evidence of actual abuse.

DJ Drummond, your point:

"The Constitution protects the Klan, the New Black Panthers, Scientology, and all sorts of groups whose beliefs offend the general sentiment."

... is right on the money.

Jamie, *I'm* a moron. You w... (Below threshold)
Christoph:

Jamie, *I'm* a moron. You were saying monogomy was a Roman imposition, not polygamy. I misread you and I apologize.

Further, Jamie, you make (m... (Below threshold)
Christoph:

Further, Jamie, you make (more) great points in your April 24, 2008 10:09 AM comment.

incidence of premarital sex... (Below threshold)
Christoph:

incidence of premarital sex among young people = sex generally among young people, I meant

I saw problems from the ver... (Below threshold)
Jim:

I saw problems from the very beginning on this raid. Methinks that Texas screwed up big time when they raided too soon. I see defense lawyers drooling from the mouth and down their legs on this on. What a mess.

Thanks for the clarificatio... (Below threshold)
Jamie:

Thanks for the clarification, Christoph...I was about to take you to task for not letting petty facts stand in the way of your opinion...lol.

I do need to make a clarification...the beginning of my 2nd paragraph should have read, Perhaps me NOT viewing polygamy as One Of The Great Evils...

One more point I probably should have made in that previous post, although it was getting a little long, was that if one decides the real problem here was girls marrying too young, and that issue made necessary immediate intervention, we should be seeing a rash of interventions and subsequent prosecutions to reflect the rate of teen (and pre-teen) pregnancy, shouldn't we?

Jamie, DJ Drummond, and SPQ... (Below threshold)
Christoph:

Jamie, DJ Drummond, and SPQR et al:

Do you think the raising of age of consent — with legislators bragging that they did so because of this FLDS sect — is a Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law?

Just sit tight.Mor... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

Just sit tight.

More teenage mothers under the age of 18 are being identified. You guys might like it but these persons are horrible. Levi is Warren Jeffs' son and there is no doubt about what was going on.

No doubt.

I hope DJ revives this thread in a little while.

I am in a position to know.

<a href="http://news.yahoo.... (Below threshold)
drjohn:
My BIGGEST problem with thi... (Below threshold)
Paul:

My BIGGEST problem with this whole thing is the state changing their story.

First they said the whole raid was based on this one (now apparent hoax) set of phone calls. Then a few days later they said "no, no, no, it was a 2 year long investigation." -Then they switched back and said it was this single set of phone calls. Which is it?

And there is no right answer

* If the state had any sort of evidence 2 years ago that this so called abuse was real, then when the hell took them so long to run it down?

* If all they had was this one set of phone calls and they removed all these kids and disrupted a whole community based on a hoax... well, that pretty much defines over-reaction.

--------------

The next problem. It is HIGHLY doubtful that they can get a conviction if the probable cause was indeed a hoax.

--------------

Lastly, removing hundreds of children from the only parents (or care givers) they have ever known is its own sort of abuse. --You may disagree with them.-- But the fact remains these kids are completely unfamiliar with the outside world and are -no doubt- terrified at what has happened in the last month.

It might sound like a good idea but this is terrorizing these children. Was it worth it to "save" them? We don't know yet; perhaps it was the right call... but we DO KNOW that the kids are suffering presently.

Never forget that part.

==========================

It's just a gut hunch but I have a bad feeling about this one. I hear echoes of Nifong.

With all due respect doc...... (Below threshold)
Paul:

With all due respect doc....

So far all we have is rumor and innuendo... You claim to have first hand knowledge.

If you do, I hope you have gone to the authorities and testified against these people.

Mostly we have:

1) A Media circus.

2) A raid based on what is basically accepted to be a hoax.

3) Clear evidence of a lack of investigation of the hoax.

4) Sweeping actions of the state with no definite cause. (save the aforementioned hoax)

Can you understand why many reasonable people are (a month later) looking at this with a jaundiced eye?

At the hearings, CPS presen... (Below threshold)

At the hearings, CPS presented the records of ten girls they said had married as minors, only five of whom were pregnant- Supposedly, they just 'found' twenty-five new minor girls who are mothers- except that in at least one newstory they do not identify these minors as mothers, just girls who had claimed to be adults and then weren't. I can see older teen girls trying to 'pass' as adults so they can go home. I can also see young mothers now insisting that they are only 17 since that is the only way they get to stay with their children. I would like to know how CPS is determining their ages, since at the hearing, the judge said their birth certificates and other I.D. were not adequate as they might be forged or somehow a case of identity theft.

But there's another problem- their numbers do not add up. Here's some other news:

An attorney for FLDS families in Texas today challenged the state's claim of a pervasive pattern of underage girls having children, saying the state's own documents show that just two teenagers in custody are pregnant.
Rod Parker, who also acts as a spokesman for the polygamous sect at the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, said he was basing his statements on a list that was given to him by an unnamed source who said the document was generated by Texas Child Protective Services.
Of the three teenagers listed as pregnant, Parker said, one is about to turn 18 and another refused to take a pregnancy test, he said.
"That leaves us with one," he said.
Based on that list, Parker said, "I challenge the CPS to come forward with the pregnant minors."

CPS is coming close to admitting what others have been saying all along- they don't have twenty pregnant teens:

Chris Van Deusen, a CPS spokesman, Ah, says:
The count of children in custody rose again Friday after CPS determined that 25 girls who claimed to be adults are actually minors, said spokesman Chris Van Deusen. **That group may overlap with the 20 listed in the court document** as pregnant or as mothers, he said. "The only thing we can say is we're aware of 20 young girls who became pregnant when they were between the ages of 13 and 16," Van Deusen said. "That's not to say that there are 20 now, but at the time they conceived they were 13, 14, 15, or 16.
"At the time they conceived," which may have been in another state than Texas- the ranch has only been there for around four years. Texas only raised the age of consent from 14 to 16 in 2005- three years ago. And he admits that this does not mean all 20 of these girls are currently under-aged and with child.

FLDS' lawyer is claiming that CPS is talking about at least some pregnancies that did occur before the group ever got to Texas:

Parker said the 20 minors the state has identified either as pregnant or mothers actually had children over a 10-year period. He also said some of the purported minors in state custody are or are about to become adults.
"They need to let those people out," Parker said.

There's more here, emphasis mine own:

One CPS document reviewed by The Salt Lake Tribune lists just three pregnant teenagers. The court document, also reviewed by The Tribune, includes women who became mothers before the FLDS' move to Texas or before the state raised the age of marriage, with parents' permission, from 14 to 16 in 2005. The chart does not indicate whether the women are legally married or the ages of the children's fathers. Among them: One woman, now 30, listed as having given birth to her first child in 1993 when she was 14. A reference to this situation was made by a CPS investigator without explaining when the pregnancy occurred during the two-day court hearing in which Judge Barbara Walther made her decision to keep the children in state custody.


And a story on Saturday reports that:

"Two teenage girls are pregnant, and although identities and ages have been difficult to nail down, CPS officials say no more than 30 minor girls in state custody have children."

Meanwhile, the same day that one CPS representative is saying that there are no more than 30 minor mothers, and only 2 or 3 pregnant girls, another CPS spokesman is insisting there are *dozens* and another says that there could be some 'overlapping' of the new figures with the ones we already knew about- including a case from 1993.

I won't be surprised if there are some cases of abuse involving minor girls married to adult men. BUt I will be very surprised if all those men do not get away with because of the lousy way CPS is handling this case.




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