Issues Raised in Texas Supreme Court Decisions

State of Texas 35, King George 28

34. The Texas Supreme Court minority opinion appears to complain about use of the Fifth Amendment.

When the Department arrived at the YFZ Ranch, it was treated cordially and allowed access to children, but those children repeatedly pled “the Fifth” in response to questions about their identity, would not identify their birth-dates or parentage, refused to answer questions about who lived in their homes, and lied about their names.

There are valid reasons for the Fifth Amendment being part of our system of constitutional protections. The main motivation for that amendment was derived from religious prosecutions in England in which people were pressured to testify against themselves.One such victim of religious prosecution was John Lathrop, who arrived in the American colonies in 1634 after spending two years imprisoned in England for refusing to take the “ex officio” oath, which was the tool used by the Court of High Commission to compel religious dissenters to testify against themselves. Lathrop had been caught holding a religious gathering in a private home, which was against the law at that time in England. He spent two years in prison without ever having been convicted, merely because he refused to take the ex officio oath and testify against himself. It is not surprising that the founders, remembering their English history, made certain to protect the citizens of the new nation from such powers.

When CPS “arrived at the YFZ Ranch,” law enforcement possessed a search warrant that was limited in scope to the abused girl named “Sarah” (now presumed to be fictitious) and her alleged abuser, Dale Barlow (now presumed to be innocent of the abuse allegations, since he has never visited the YFZ Ranch).

CPS had no legal authority to be engaged in the line of questioning that they directed at the children when they arrived at the ranch, and I believe that the FLDS community would have been within their legal rights to refuse to discuss any issues not directly relevant to “Sarah” or to Dale Barlow (see item 30 in a previous post). I am disappointed that the minority opinion did not acknowledge the context in which those CPS interviews were conducted.

35. According to the Supreme Court’s majority opinion, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services “took possession of all 468 children at the Ranch without a court order.” With 468 cases of what essentially amount to kidnappings, it looks like someone could be in danger of having the pants sued off of them for civil rights violations…

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