Thursday, June 12, 2008

Judge in FLDS Case Requires Police Protection

More than once on this blog, I have written about the removal and subsequent return of the children who are a part of the FLDS ranch in Texas. And, as I have mentioned before, this well-publicized battle between religious freedom and the duty of the state to protect children is far from over. More chapters, both inside and out of the courtroom, are still to be written. Any doubt that emotions aren’t still running high despite the decision of the Texas Supreme Court to reunite the FLDS families? Yesterday’s Houston Chronicle published a story stating that the judge who first ordered that the sect’s children be separated from their parents is now facing threats.

Police have been assigned to the home of Judge Barbara Walther and given photos of sixteen men and women who have been deemed possible threats. The basis for the concern stems from a website run by a Florida man named Bill Medvecky. Although not a member of the FLDS church, he is sympathetic to their cause and donated money to their legal battle. Medvecky posted Judge Walther’s home address and phone number and asserted that someone should pay her home a visit.

Rod Parker, an attorney for the FLDS, believes that law enforcement is creating a threat where none exists. Medvecky has no official ties to the sect and the FLDS members cannot be held responsible for what an individual chooses to write or say. In a newspaper interview, Parker said,

"Have they ever seen an act of intimidation or violence against law enforcement from the FLDS community at all, ever? Before they start spreading those kinds of rumors, they ought to be able to ID an example of them ever doing that in the past."

Of course, proper steps should be taken whenever a life is threatened. A judge should not fear for her safety simply because she is interpreting the law as her education and experience see it. However, unless law enforcement has some evidence that they do not wish to share with the public (which is entirely possible), the case for any members of FLDS to be viewed as a threat seems a bit thin.

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