By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
The ick factor: Here Buzz was, ready to congratulate the 3rd Court of Appeals on its courage and commitment to the rule of law for deciding last week that the state overreached in taking more than 450 kids from the polygamist FLDS compound in West Texas. Gotta be tough, hearing the tales of girls raised to be teen brides in the isolated religious sect, but realizing that the state didn't have the evidence it needed to strip the kids from their parents. Way to go 3rd Court of App....wait a minute, whazzat?
Oh, ick, someone just sent us a link to a Salt Lake Tribune Story about photos entered into evidence in one of the FLDS custody hearings being held in the case in San Angelo. You can see the photos at www.sltrib.com/polygamy/ci_9361767. One's a picture of Warren S. Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, holding a 12-year-old girl and kissing her, and not in a fatherly peck sort of way. It's a full-on, heads-turned, let's-get-it-on face-sucking. ("Jeffs...was convicted in Utah this year of being an accomplice to rape for performing a marriage between a 14-year-old FLDS girl and her 19-year-old cousin," the Tribune adds.)
Holy hell, 3rd Court of Appeals, what are you thinking? You want to return the kids to these wack-a-doos? Screw the law. Please, Texas Supreme Court, when you rule on the 3rd Court's decision, just say no.
Which pretty sums up the FLDS case. Seems unfair, taking the kids with so little evidence...yeah, but they "marry" underage girls...but with their parents permission...but the parents are nuts...but they have the right to be nuts, when it comes to religion...and so on.
The fact that Texas Child Protective Services identified the girl in the photo epitomizes the pull between outright creepiness and the law in this case. CPS seems to be playing a little loose with the privacy rules that normally apply in child abuse cases. On the other hand...
You want to know how radioactive this case is? Last week, Buzz spoke with a respected state legislator, trying to find out what the political repercussions of this case may be. OK, honestly, we wanted to know if the state's handling of the case could come back to bite Governor Rick Perry in the behind. No, he said, he hadn't heard anything like that. This was a Democrat, talking to a media pinko like Buzz, who was fishing, and the lawmaker wouldn't bite.
It's almost, but not quite, enough to make one feel sorry for the state Supreme Court.