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CPS lawyers say court abused its discretion

AUSTIN — Less than a week after an appeals court ruled that Child Protective Services overreached its authority by seizing more than 460 children from a polygamist ranch in West Texas; lawyers for the state agency on Wednesday accused the court of abusing its discretion by issuing the ruling.

The counterpunch came as the state agency and lawyers representing a group of mothers from the polygamist ranch seeking to regain custody of their children wait for the Texas Supreme Court to decides which side is standing on firmer legal ground.

The latest development

That situation contributed to a climate of sexual abuse that passed from generation to generation at the ranch run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the court filing said. The lawyers again asked the state’s highest appeals court to set aside the Third Court’s ruling that would return the children to their families.

The lawyers said that the Third Court had given too much weight to assertions by FLDS members that the state had failed to demonstrate each child removed from the ranch was likely to be abused.

Clarifying a legal point

“It’s often customary for an appeals court to give a 10-day window for a case like this, but in this case there was none,” said Martinez, representing Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid. “So [the lawyer] made an assumption that turned out to be untrue.”

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