The Local Crank

Musings & Sardonic Commentary on Politics, Religion, Culture & Native American Issues. Bringing you the finest in radioactive screeds since 2002! "The Local Crank" newspaper column is distributed by Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.

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Location: Cleburne, Texas, United States

Just a simple Cherokee trial lawyer, Barkman has been forcing his opinions on others in print since, for reasons that passeth understanding, he was an unsuccessful candidate for state representative in 2002. His philosophy: "If people had wanted me to be nice, they should've voted for me."

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Eldorado Round Up

My ideological evil twin brother, Cicero at Red State, has shown typical conservative thoroughness (no doubt due to the invisble hand of the free market, unencumbered by burdensome regulations) in providing a link farm on this developing story.

As for the removal being granted, no one who has experience with CPS cases is surprised. Typical Removal hearings are held so quickly (it used to be within 24 hours) that there is very rarely any reliable evidence for the judge to hang a ruling on. As a result, much like with applications for protective orders, judges tend to err on the side of caution, knowing that he or she will have several opportunities in the future to return the kids if the agency still hasn't managed to dredge up anything. In fact, in nearly ten years of CPS cases, I have only seen a judge deny a removal petition exactly once, and that was only after I (as ad litem for the children) demonstrated that the CPS caseworkers (who were from out of county and declined to even show up for the hearing) had committed perjury in their affidavits. In this case, the Removal hearing took longer to set up, but the sheer overwhelming numbers made it extremely difficult to get any straight answers, especially when CPS insists on calling "expert" witnesses who freely admit on cross-examination that everything they know about the case in general and the FLDS in particular comes from watching television. Stay tuned.

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8 Comments:

Blogger kbp said...

Thanks Crank!

"...judges tend to err on the side of caution..."
...and the end result? More problem than solution!

" In this case, the Removal hearing took longer to set up"
About 4 years from what I read.

All should know there will not be changes in that CPS system, as you never reduce policing in this nation and it probably would not help actual victims.

It is still my opinion that the CPS was pulled into this so strongly to take all the blame. Their system is evidently untouchable. No better candidate for the job.

Though I know little of Texas law, I feel safe assuming the CPS workers have qualified immunity. Add in how the Family Codes are written, those I've read, and there doesn't look to be any room to file a complaint against them, ever.

4/19/2008 6:34 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

"It is still my opinion that the CPS was pulled into this so strongly to take all the blame"

I've felt from the start that CPS was not the ones driving this bus. Too many basic CPS rules and operating procedures were violated. For example, why remove the mothers and children when SOP would be to remove the alleged offenders (i.e., the husbands)? And if the kids are removed from the home, CPS NEVER, and I mean NEVER, lets one parent come along for the ride. And CPS would've had enough sense to arrange placements for this many kids IN ADVANCE. No, I think this was law enforcement (hence the HUGE turnout of lawmen, including APC's from Midland SWAT) and CPS was along for the ride.

4/19/2008 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Guyk Murray said...

What are your thoughts on the denial of individual hearings for each child before the judge ruled? My reading of the Texas Family Code statutes led me to believe each child removed by CPS is entitled to a full hearing on the merits. Nothing even close to that happened in this case.

4/19/2008 11:25 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

As I said at your place, it's not unusual to have one hearing for, say, multiple siblings. What IS odd is the State trying to claim that all 416 kids are part of the same "household" for removal purposes. If true, that would suggest that any town in Texas with less than a 1,000 people, or any apartment complex, is a "household" as well.

4/19/2008 11:38 PM  
Blogger dmarks said...

416 kids? Reminds me too much of that old Kenny Rogers song:

"You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille. With 400 children, and a croc in the fields"

4/20/2008 11:03 AM  
Blogger Tracee said...

"If true, that would suggest that any town in Texas with less than a 1,000 people, or any apartment complex, is a "household" as well."

Not really. The basis of the argument that it's one household is because each family does not own their home and is not ultimately in control of their home. There is documented evidence that FDLS leaders control every home in their communities, to the extent that they can and have excommunicated men and then "reassigned" their wives, children, and houses to other men. Even in FDLS communites that are set up in towns instead of "compounds" like Eldorado, when you leave the faith, you are thrown out of your home, because the church (usually through a holding company) owns the home and property you live in.

I don't think that argument washes, either (and of course you are in a better place to speak to the legal issues) but the argument is more than just "they're all together".

4/20/2008 8:00 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

"The basis of the argument that it's one household is because each family does not own their home and is not ultimately in control of their home"

Okay, a fair point. But what about an apartment complex? Or a duplex? Nobody there owns their own home. And really the legal definition of "household" makes no reference to ownership.
Don't get me wrong; the FLDS strikes me as a gang of theocratic mysogynists with a twisted ideology. And if in fact there were adult men having sex with underage girls not their wives, then they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. My only concern is that the government rarely stops if it is allowed to abuse the rights of "unpopular" groups. Plus, as an American Indian, I know well from history what tends to happen when the government or the church decides it can do a better job of raising your kids than you can.

4/20/2008 11:06 PM  
Blogger Brody said...

Wait wait wait... Back up. Midland has a SWAT team? With APCs!?!?! What in God's green earth for? To protect them against marauding tumbleweeds? Or is it for self defense just in case George W decides to come back and run some other facet of the local economy into the ground?

And I think that I can almost buy the "household" argument- in this case it goes much deeper than either home ownership, place of residence, or having a lot of land and living with extended family in arms reach (when I was growing up we called it "the farm" rather than "a compound")

Rather, it seems that the differentiating factor in this case is that the entire FLDS community makes decisions not as a community would but rather more like a family would. Because the community makes decisions that are normally within the purview of family units (marriage, birth, living arrangements, even membership) it makes a little sense to treat them as a household. While you're right in that the definition doesn't make any reference to home ownership, it doesn't make any reference to occupying a single dwelling place either.

4/22/2008 12:44 AM  

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