Patterico's Pontifications

4/10/2008

Warren Jeffs’ Texas Compound: Legal Matters

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Current Events,Law — DRJ @ 7:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I read three interesting articles today about the Jeffs’ compound. First, the Eldorado, Texas, Sheriff has been working with a confidential informant for 4 years to gain information about the compound:

“A Texas sheriff says he has been working with a confidential informant for four years to get information about life inside a polygamist compound.

The sheriff declined to say whether the informant was in Texas or other sect compounds in Utah or Arizona. But he says it wasn’t until authorities searched the Texas compound that he learned about the beds allegedly used by men for sex with underage girls they had married. The beds were found on the top floor of the temple.

Despite having the informant for four years, state authorities are defending their decision to leave the sect alone during that time. They say the group still has civil rights that are going to be respected.”

Second, according to court affidavits, “one girl, younger than 16, has four children and says she is pregnant again.”

Third, there is this transcript of an interview with Texas officials regarding the physical and legal status of the women and children:

“Here are some questions put Thursday to Marleigh Meisner, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the agency now caring for the women and children, and John J. Sampson, a University of Texas law professor who teaches the Children Right’s Clinic, which provides legal representation for abused and neglected children in Travis County.

Q: What’s the next legal step?

MM: April 17, a full adversarial hearing, 10 a.m., in the Tom Green County Courthouse. At that point we will make a recommendation to a judge. There will be attorneys appointed or even perhaps have already have been appointed to represent the children.

Q: For each child individually or as a group?

MM: Normally, it’s each child individually but the judge is making a decision how she’s going to do that.

JS: You have X number of mothers and Y children and Z number of fathers, presumed fathers, alleged fathers, unknown fathers. All of the fathers are entitled to service. All mothers are entitled to service. All children are entitled to representation.

Q. Sounds like a crowded courtroom.

JS: It would actually be more or less a crowded stadium. I’ve never seen a case tried in a stadium but this might be a first.

Q: What if the judge decides not to grant custody?

MM: This is all to do with temporary custody. If the judge decided the children needed to be returned, then the children will be returned. It’s ultimately always the judge’s decision.

JS: They’ve already made something of a case to the judge when they convinced the judge we need an order not to investigate but to take possession of the children. This kind of gets into speculation because since this is unprecedented… Since there’s smoke here, we suspect fire. And so the court is almost always going to say: ‘Yes I realize the statute says the parent should walk out with the child unless it would be dangerous. I’ve already had a preliminary determination that there’s a danger to the child and we’ve had a hearing there’s a danger to the child, and I find there’s a continuing danger to the child so naturally the state is going to be continued in the foreseaable future.’

Q. How long is that?

JS: “Foreseeable future” is supposed to be one year. You can get an extension for six months, then the case needs to be decided. Each case is an individual case, however many children there are. I read in the paper there’s a whole lot of problems in identification. That does not help the parents get the children back when the children are not identified.

Q: Is it possible the 139 women could be separated from their kids?

MM: That’s a decision that’s to be made later and it’s a decision that’s not been made yet.

JS: The reluctance of a parent to cooperate doesn’t facilitate the parents’ situation. The only time a parent has a chance of prevailing is when they make a case. Now they have a presumption when they make a case that parents have a right to have and raise children, but that presumption is subject to trumping if there is a serious danger to the physical or emotional well-being of the child.

Q: If the judge says the state can’t continue temporary custody, will the women be free to go?

MM: They’ve been free to go always. They came because they asked to come. They’ve stayed with us but are free at any time to leave. They are here on their own choice.

Q: Have any departed?

MM: To my knowledge, none have left.

Q: Where would they go?

MM: I have no idea.”

There’s more to the interview at the second link.

It sounds to me like the authorities have been watchful of the polygamist compound, while respecting their rights. Obviously it’s a shame that the children there have suffered but the authorities had to have probable cause before they could proceed. And as Professor Sampson notes, this is going to be an unprecedented stadium-size legal case.

NOTE: I edited the title to add the word “Texas” since there are also Jeffs’ compounds in other states.

Related posts here, here, here, and here.

— DRJ

Detroit NAACP Headlines Old Uncle Jeremiah Wright

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 3:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

GatewayPundit reports that the Detroit branch of the NAACP has asked Jeremiah Wright to speak at its 53rd Annual Fight for Freedom Fund dinner:

“They made the official announcement this morning.
The event is billed as the largest sit-down dinner in the country.

The theme for the NAACP Dinner is “A Change Is Going To Come!”
…Amen to that!

He will no doubt get a standing ovation before he even opens his mouth.
Maybe he’ll include a few snippets from some of his sermons?”

I guess that puts to rest any possibility that Jeremiah Wright is just an “old uncle” who says things most blacks disagree with.

— DRJ

Homeland Security Announces “Deport the Criminals First” Policy

Filed under: Crime,Immigration — DRJ @ 1:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Patterico was among the first bloggers to push the idea of Deport the Criminals First and I think he deserves some credit for this ICE effort called “Secure Communities”:

“The U.S. Homeland Security department has launched an ambitious nationwide effort that would cost $2 billion to $3 billion a year to identify and deport the estimated 300,000 to 450,000 illegal immigrants locked up each year in jails and prisons.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation was denounced by immigrant rights groups and received cautiously by those favoring tighter enforcement.

”We can do something few law enforcement agencies can do: Not only ensure criminals are off the streets, but ensure they are removed from the country,” said ICE spokesman Tim Counts. ”Removing hundreds of thousands of criminals from the country is sure to have a positive impact on community safety.”

ICE has a presence in only 10 percent of the nation’s 3,100 local lockups. Last year, it filed deportation charges against 164,000 illegal immigrants in jail, and removed 95,000, Counts said.

”It’s a broad-stroke outline for a plan to locate more of the illegal aliens located in jails and prisons throughout the country,” Counts said.”

The details are at the link.

— DRJ

Dan Rather’s Lawsuit Against CBS

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 12:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Part of Dan Rather’s state court lawsuit against CBS, Viacom, and various corporate officers has survived a dismissal/summary judgment motion by the defendants:

“A New York state judge threw out parts of Dan Rather’s $70 million lawsuit against CBS on Thursday, but preserved several key elements, including the former news anchor’s breach of contract claim.

State Supreme Court Judge Ira Gammerman dismissed Rather’s fraud claim, saying he was too late in filing it, and rejected Rather’s charge that CBS executives damaged his future job prospects, saying Rather could not support the claim.

The judge let stand the portion of the suit in which Rather says the network breached his contract by not giving him enough on-air assignments after he was removed as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” in March 2005, following a scandal over a report on President George W. Bush’s military record.

CBS later acknowledged that documents used in the report, which aired on September 8, 2004, could not be authenticated. CBS aired the report two months before the presidential election pitting Bush against Democratic challenger John Kerry.”

I don’t have time right now to do anything more than post this. Hopefully Justin can add a post since Patterico and WLS are currently focused on the LA Times.

— DRJ

John Cornyn’s Statement on Iraq

Filed under: Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 11:20 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

From the website of Texas Senator John Cornyn on the Petraeus-Crocker hearings (emphasis supplied):

“America’s top military commander and chief diplomat in Iraq reported Tuesday that we are making significant progress there. They added that we cannot afford to squander our gains by losing our resolve. But was anybody really listening?

Just this morning, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said the following on the Senate floor: “Is the war in Iraq making America safer? By all accounts, the answer…is ‘no.'”

Senator Reid’s statement stands in direct contradiction to Amb. Crocker’s testimony on Tuesday. “Al-Qaeda is our mortal and strategic enemy. So to the extent that al-Qaeda’s capacities have been lessened in Iraq and they have been significantly lessened, I do believe that makes America safer.”

Gen. David Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker said the advances in security are fragile, and we must be patient in securing them.

Two-thirds of the 18 benchmarks set for Iraq reportedly have been met – a high standard even for the U.S. Congress. The counterinsurgency strategy has yielded positive results, and both civilian and military casualties in Iraq are down. Critics are rapidly losing topics to complain about.

Yet some of my colleagues persist in taking a short-term approach, and viewing the glass as half empty. This dreary pessimism is coming from the same people who declared the surge a failure a year ago – as it was just beginning – and claimed “the war is lost.”

The political pressure from far-left fringe groups like MoveOn.org is extremely important in Democratic politics. So some Democrats try to justify their calls for withdrawal with no real regard for the consequences. Sen. Barack Obama, for example, wondered aloud at the hearing why we can’t just leave Iraq in a “messy, sloppy status quo.”

There are two problems with this approach. It forsakes our only real option in the war on terror – winning. And it demonstrates a fundamental disregard for what happens next – what we face in the region and the world if we don’t win that war.

We all want to bring our troops home – there is no disagreement over that goal. The question is whether they will return after defeating the threat, or whether they’ll return to an America that is less safe and more vulnerable to another terrorist attack.

If we give up too soon, according to Petraeus and Crocker, Iraq would become a breeding ground for terrorists, much like Afghanistan before 9/11. Last month, Osama bin Laden declared Iraq would be a “perfect” base for al-Qaeda. But thanks to our volunteer military, we now have al Qaeda on the run, as Gen. Petraeus declared: “We have our teeth into the jugular, and we need to keep it there.”

Yes, the cost in blood and treasure is high. But the cost would be far greater should America again face another terrorist assault on our civilian population. This is a difficult mission. But as we maintain and fortify the gains we have made, Tuesday’s hearing was an opportunity to bring our broader goals into clearer focus.

Questions from the other side of the aisle about the Iraqi government’s work toward meeting the benchmarks were noticeably absent from the hearings. Instead, the air was filled with rhetoric about the financial costs and a blind need for withdrawal. Perhaps there is no longer suspension of disbelief in progress.

Too many people have stopped listening, and have determined that Iraq must be a failure for the United States, no matter the long-term costs. They insist on taking a short-term view, dismissing radical Islamic terrorism as an irritant instead of a deadly threat.

As we digest the testimony of Petraeus and Crocker and mark the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime five years ago today, we must remember that freedom is never free. We owe to the American people, and to our troops serving on the front lines – especially those who have made the supreme sacrifice – the political courage to see this mission through.”

I’m starting to like Senator Cornyn.

— DRJ

Elton John’s Concert for Hillary Clinton

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 10:53 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Last night’s Elton John concert for Hillary Clinton at Radio City Music Hall raised $2.5M:

“Elton John used Hillary Clinton’s $2.5 million fund-raiser at Radio City Music Hall Wednesday night to stand up for women’s rights.

“I never cease to be amazed at the misogynistic attitude of some of the people of this country, and I say to hell with it [*them],” said John, clad in a sequined black dinner jacket, red silk shirt and red sunglasses. “I love you, Hillary, and I’ll be there for you just like all the times you were there for me. Hillary should be the next President of America.”

The concert, billed as “Elton-Hillary: One Night Only” sold out just this week, with 6,000 tickets ranging in price from $125 to $2,300, according to a spokesman for the Clinton campaign.

Apparently they sold out of $125, $250, and $500 tickets but, judging by this Hillary Clinton webpage, they didn’t sell all the $1,000 and $2,300 tickets. Still, $2.5M is a lot for one concert.

Stashiu has more on Elton John’s disdain for misogynistic Americans.

I doubt Elton John supported Margaret Thatcher for Prime Minister. (In Billy Elliot, he wrote a song about her death described as “very offensive.”) Doesn’t that make him a misogynist?

UPDATE: * The correct Elton John quote is “I never cease to be amazed at the misogynistic attitude of some of the people of this country, and I say to hell with them.” Thanks, Stashiu (comment 38).

— DRJ

L.A. Times Editors Actively Disbelieve Numerous Philips Sources Besides Sabatino

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:03 am

Help me puzzle through this, will you? It seems to me that the editors of the L.A. Times have affirmatively said, not just that Chuck Philips got duped by some phony documents, but that they don’t believe several sources that Chuck Philips said were reliable.

Here’s how it plays out. Chuck Philips writes an article claiming that James Sabatino and two other people planned an attack on Tupac Shakur in 1994. (The article is now retracted and scrubbed from the paper’s website, but still available here.)

Before The Smoking Gun showed that Philips had relied on forged FBI documents, Philips had boasted in more than one forum that the purported FBI documents merely supported what multiple witnesses had already told him. For instance, in this interview Philips said:

The main thing I’m trying to say is I didn’t base my story on that informant [mentioned in the FBI documents]. I based this story on my own reporting. We came up on those documents later after I was pretty much sure of what happened. . . . So I mean, legally something like that is very good to have. And it confirms a lot of the stuff that’s in my story, that document. But I had reported my own story based on the people I believe were in involved.

And in a chat transcript that the paper has scrubbed from the site, Philips said:

as to the informant, i have verified that he was at the quad that night. his infomation corroborted what i had already learned from other source i know to be reliable

He also said:

the story says james sabatino told mr. combs in advance. my sources had direct knowledge of that. they were not passing on hearsay.

That’s sources — plural. Presumably, Sabatino is not one of those sources, unless Philips lied in his article when he said: “Sabatino declined to comment.”

But now look at what the retraction says:

The Times now believes that Sabatino fabricated the FBI reports and concocted his role in the assault as well as his supposed relationships with Combs, Rosemond and Agnant. . . . The Times also reported that Sabatino told Combs in advance that Shakur was going to be attacked. The Times now believes that Sabatino had no involvement in the attack and that he never spoke to Combs about it.

The editors are not just saying they can no longer prove Sabatino wasn’t involved. They are saying that they positively believe he had no involvement.

The editors say this, despite Philips’s claims that his proof went beyond the documents, and included interviews with multiple sources whom he believed were reliable.

Do you understand what I’m saying? The paper thinks his other proof is no proof at all — and that Philips’s multiple sources a) lied or b) didn’t exist.

If I’m wrong, please explain to me where I’m wrong.

I continue to believe we deserve an explanation. I’d leave a comment at the Readers’ Rep blog, except it wouldn’t get published. I’d write her, except I can’t imagine I’d be told anything meaningful.

I think they’re trying to sweep this under the rug, folks.

But, even under the rug, we can still smell it.


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