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Heavy Handed, Cold Hearted

The Texas DFPS has finally discovered limits to its arrogance. Following an Appeals court decision (and Texas Supreme Court confirmation), that the DFPS exceeded its authority in grabbing hundreds of kids from their families and dispersing them across the state in a fairly callous disregard for the rights of just about every civilian involved, another judge has ordered that all the children must be returned to their families.

Despite the excuses and claims of the DFPS, the general lesson one may take from their raid is that the state jumped to conclusions, failed to do its job properly, and in the end violated the rights of hundreds of innocent people. Two months after the raid, no evidence whatsoever exists to support the initial contentions against the group, despite a great deal of malignant rumor-mongering by the DFPS. The claims of abuse which the DFPS claimed justified the raid, turned out to be at best assumptions the state never tested, and at worst the deliberate portrayal of the FLDS as monsters its accusers knew were not so, in order to attack the group with public support. In a just world, the state officials who planned and approved the raid should be fired and made accountable for this injustice.

I am not so naïve however, as to believe that the FLDS is perfectly innocent simply because the State of Texas abused its power. The possibility that the group does indoctrinate young girls to 'marry' mutiple men in arranged marriages is a serious charge which ought to be investigated, but strictly within the scope of its authority. I have written before, that if someone molests a child they have committed a crime for which I would not hesitate to seek a life sentence for the guilty in a place where molesters serve a very hard sentence, but the charge does not excuse abuse of authority in seeking a prosecution, indeed one of the few crimes as foul as child abuse would be the false allegation of such a thing. In today's world, the media often portrays a suspect as guilty as soon as he is accused, and even if he proves to be completely innocent of the charge he may expect no real effort by the state or the media to make his innocence clear. In the case of the FLDS, the crimes of Warren Jeffs led to a broad public damnation of the whole group, on nothing more than the assumption that the charges must be true. It is also apparent that the State of Texas has no plans to apologize or make amends to the FLDS, much less to hold anyone accountable in its ranks. This should be unacceptable to anyone of conscience.

So what now? The State still has power, you know. The courts never said it could not do its job, and CPS has the right to visit families and assess risk and safety, but only on a case by case basis, as with any family. If abuse is going on, the State may investigate, collect and build a case, and bring the matter before a grand jury, with due process observed all the way. There will be lawsuits over the raid, of course, and we the taxpayers will have the privilege of paying for abuses by government, even as it denies both the act and accountability for it.

Arrests and raids by armed men should only be made when the evidence has led to a proper indictment or warrant, not simply because an excuse of good intentions is made, or the agency believes it holds rights and the accused do not. Rights are inviolable. On this point, one hopes that liberals and conservatives may agree.


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Comments (18)

Very well said. I am surpri... (Below threshold)
Wayneayne:

Very well said. I am surprise by the continue prevalence of lynch mob mentality and the MSM are some of the worst offenders. Lynch mobs have hung plenty of guilty men but unfortunately they have hung many of innocent ones as well. That is why we have a legal system which is suppose to minimize the harm to innocent people who have been accused of a crime.

Well done DJ. I've been pos... (Below threshold)

Well done DJ. I've been posting on CPS' excesses for two months and thought I was all alone.

BTW: I'd be glad to share some of the hate mail I got accusing me of supporting child molesters.

Um, it's also a bad thing w... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Um, it's also a bad thing when lynch mobs hang guilty people, Wayneayne.

Despite the excuses and ... (Below threshold)
Phogg:

Despite the excuses and claims of the DFPS, the general lesson one may take from their raid is that the state jumped to conclusions, failed to do its job properly, and in the end violated the rights of hundreds of innocent people.

I have a different take. Children are separate individuals who although they are unable to make decisions for them selves have rights apart from the rights of their guardians the problem I see is that the legislature has inadequately coded into law provisions for placing children into protective custody when there is any question during an abuse investigation.

The time for requiring a burden of proof regarding protective custody should be ... after the completion of the investigation. CPS did what was right in this case, but Texas law never conceived of having to investigate an extended family household so large as the flds compound

"CPS did what was right in ... (Below threshold)
Jess:

"CPS did what was right in this case,..."

Now that's laugh spewingly, soda up nose funny.

No, they (CPS) did not do what was right or legal.
Did you actually read the memorandum order??

Sheesh.

J

HyperbolistI concur ... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Hyperbolist
I concur that lynch mobs are a bad concept and shouldn't happen except in a few very rare exceptions. I was just making a statement of fact not condoning the action.

Phogg
Do you really believe the state should be able to take your child because of an anonymous phone call?

Ray Charles could see this ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Ray Charles could see this was an overreaction to a POTENTIAL problem. ww

Does Waco come to mind here... (Below threshold)
Stan25:

Does Waco come to mind here? A raid was conducted in similar fashion and it resulted in the deaths of 80 innocent people, just on the say so one person. Of course no heads rolled on that one

Excellent post DJ. I have ... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

Excellent post DJ. I have said from the beginning that this raid was a complete miscarriage of justice and a total abuse of authority. Child services in most states needs to be reigned in as for as the breadth of their authority and unaccountability of their actions.

Wayne, I don't believe chil... (Below threshold)
Phogg:

Wayne, I don't believe children are a possession of parents. The parents Wants are not part of the equation of protecting helpless members of society.

The children were not taken because of an anonymous phone call.

The anonymous phonecall prompted a social worker to make a simple visit to the compound.

What was seen there, and whet the FLDS adults said and did coupled with an investigation that has been ongoing for four years prompted CPS to go back with a warrant.

The information gathered on that second visit was the foundation for the second warrant. That third visit was what is now called the raid.

There is clear probable cause for the child abuse investigation into the FLDS that is occurring now.

The Children have a right to be protected when there justified concern for their wellbeing.

Period.

the adults in the compound knew what was going on and if it is true - as it appears then they are all accomplices. Accomplices to child abuse are not safe guardians for children.

Upon completion of the investigation the permanent arrangements for the children should be considered, but only after indictments if any come down. if it turned out that either nothing happened or that there was insufficient evidence for prosecution, then look at the parents to regain custody - otherwise supervised visitation is more appropriate.

"Jumped to conclusions, fai... (Below threshold)
Glenn:

"Jumped to conclusions, failed to do its job properly, and in the end violated the rights of hundreds of innocent people". Just another day at the office for a bunch of hack public employees. No consequences, pensions all round and permanent health care no matter how bad you screw things up. Sounds like baby boomer paradise to me.

Phogg,Due Process ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Phogg,

Due Process is not optional.

Period.

Phogg, (is that a name or a... (Below threshold)
Jess:

Phogg, (is that a name or a description)
are your reading skills in question? The links take one to the actual court issued documents - which do not agree with what you keep posting.
So - do you have some secretive source of information that is superior to the Texas Court of Appeals?

Didn't think so.

J

DJ pointed out the main and... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

DJ pointed out the main and most important reason.

At risk of clouding that point I will explain my opinion. Parents are the main entity that is responsible for their children. If a child hits a ball though a window, it is the parents who is financially responsible for that window not the teacher, mayor or government agency. Children are not simple objects but if anyone has possession of them it is their parents. With responsibilities comes right. Parents not only have rights as a person but also for being a guardian. Only after is it is proven that they have fail at their responsibilities are their rights as a parent is taken away and yes they do deserve due process. Maybe you are one of those who think your child is the responsibility of the government but I don't.

In many opinions including mine, the government has been overaggressive in the name of protecting children. They often have done unnecessary harm in taking kids away from parents when it wasn't call for.

Also are people teaching enough to take a child away? Are we going to take away all the children from the parents in Obama church because the majority doesn't believe in that church's teaching?

DJ, I think you have gotten... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

DJ, I think you have gotten confused about the definition of "due process". There was a lot of "due process" in this case, the reversal of the CPS and local court's actions was over the sufficiency of the evidence.

Jess, perhaps you should read the court opinion yourself. Because the appellate court opinion does not refute Phogg's statements. Rather, the appellate court opinion finds that there was not sufficient evidence to support the concept of imminent harm, nor that CPS had attempted other means of mitigating potential harm short of removal of the children. The appellate court also disagreed that the evidence showed the entire compound legally qualified as a single household. None of that refutes Phogg's comments.

SP,Please refer to p... (Below threshold)
Jess:

SP,
Please refer to post #4, above, and I quote:
"the problem I see is that the legislature has inadequately coded into law provisions for placing children into protective custody when there is any question during an abuse investigation"

While as a matter of legal fact, this very point of law was availble (TEX. FAM. CODE § 262.104(a)) to TDFPS, which they exercised.

Also, from post #10, and I quote: "if it is true - as it appears". The Court says "it" is not true.

Who should I believe? I think I'll stick w/the Texas Supreme Court.

PS - it's funny, in a sad way - the TCASAs couldn't even support the TDFPS

As soon as I heard this stu... (Below threshold)

As soon as I heard this stuff on the news, I immediately got "lynch mob" in my head. For one, do these people refer to themselves as a "sect" or a "cult?" If not, why does the media continue to do so?

Do they refer to their own community as a "compound?" No? Then is there any reason for the media or law enforcement to do so OTHER than to just conjure images in the public's eyes?

I tell you what, someone tries to take MY kids away, government or not, will likely get themselves hurt.

Exelent a judge with some c... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

Exelent a judge with some common sense which is rare or nonexistence here in california




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