Well, Texas has not done anything right in this case from the inception–why start now?. So, while I am disappointed to hear they plan to appeal the ruling, it is not really a surprise. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
SAN ANGELO, Texas — The Texas Department of Family and Protective Service says it will file an appeal with the Texas Supreme Court in an attempt to stop an appellate court ruling that FLDS children were kept in state custody improperly.
A department spokesman had planned a statement this morning, but postponed it until after a 1:30 p.m. Central time hearing regarding Louisa Bradshaw, who gave birth while in state custody. Bradshaw is one of three women named in mandamus appeal that was approved by the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin on Thursday.
From the local San Angelo newspaper:
SAN ANGELO – Texas child welfare authorities plan today to appeal a stinging ruling that found they had no right to seize more than 440 children from a polygamist sect’s ranch, a court spokesman said.
Child Protective Services notified the Texas Supreme Court today that “they will file something today,” court spokesman Osler McCarthy said.
The state can ask the high court to block the ruling Thursday by the Third Court of Appeals in Austin. The appellate court found the state failed to show the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints children were in any immediate danger when they were rounded up from the sect’s Yearning For Zion Ranch near Eldorado and sent to foster facilities around the state.
A message left for a Child Protective Services spokeswoman was not immediately returned Friday.
Yeah, if I worked for the Texas CPS I wouldn’t return any phone calls either. In fact, I’d be looking to make certain the legal defense fund and potential judgement pool from which to satisfy future Section 1983 lawsuits was more than adequately funded.
The Deseret News is reporting that Texas has already filed the appeal:
SAN ANGELO, Texas — Texas child welfare authorities have filed an appeal with the Texas Supreme Court challenging yesterday’s appeals court decision that ordered the return of children seized from the Fundamentalist LDS Church’s YFZ Ranch.
The appeal was filed just before noon Mountain time.
Attorneys representing 38 FLDS mothers told the Deseret News they are already drafting a response.
Rod Parker, a Salt Lake attorney representing the FLDS Church, said any appeal by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services would be an uphill battle.
I agree with Rod Parker, Texas has an uphill battle here. About the only folks on the planet who can’t see the Texas sized disaster this has been since CPS became involved are Judge Barbara Walther and CPS itself.
The money quote from Mr. Parker:
“They ought to take a step back and think about what they’re doing here and if it’s really best for the children in the face of what’s happened to them so far and their inability to produce any evidence,” he said.
“This is an agency that’s out of control.”
Out of control is a charatible description. Texas erased any doubt–if ever there was any–that they do not have the children’s interest in mind here. What they have in mind is a way to cover their back sides for such an inept and incompetent way they have bungled this disaster from minute one.
In California, and at the federal level, the supreme court does not have to hear an appeal. It is discretionary. I assume Texas is the same; however, I have long ago stopped making reasonable assumptions about Texas. My only hope is that there is some procedural way to expedite the appellate process here. If Texas is wrong–and I am convinced that it is, every minute longer that these children are under their control they continue to suffer irreparable harm.
I applaud the attorneys, most of whom are likely working pro bono representing the mothers, children, and fathers in this case. They are the unsung heroes who are bringing real justice to the cowboy mentality which has reigned far too long out there in West Texas.