April 17th, 2008
10:52 PM ET

Dispatch from the FLDS hearing: Cross Examination

Ismael Estrada, CNN Supervising Producer

6:45pm CT

Several attorneys cross examine Angie Voss, who supervises the investigation for Children Protection Services.

They ask CPS reasoning for removing the children, whether CPS followed policy in going in, who gave the authority to allow DNA swabs. (How and when DNA swabs were taken is not clear.)

They asked what immediate danger the children were in...was their religion, their following of their "prophet" Warren Jeffs enough to remove the children?

Voss testified one of the reasons was the belief that children are supposed to have children, that they are supposed to be married when they are told..

Voss said"it's not about religion, it's about child abuse"

Other issues raised: Why did they take the boys? Were children taken even after birth certificates were provided? And more...

Filed under: FLDS court hearing • Ismael Estrada • Polygamy
April 17th, 2008
09:22 PM ET

Another dispatch from the FLDS hearing today

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Ismael Estrada
CNN Supervising Producer

5:46p CT

More testimony from Angie Voss, Supervisor for investigation for Child Protection Services:

She began to see a pattern, she began to note that there were mothers who were 16 and they were married and called each other sister wives. 

Many of the girls talked, said that if the prophet wanted them to marry, then they were supposed to do that. 


Filed under: FLDS court hearing • Ismael Estrada • Polygamy
April 17th, 2008
09:18 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 4/17/08

Tonight, Anderson has an exclusive interview with three victims of sex abuse speak out about their meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. Olan Horne, Faith Johnston and Bernie McDaid were part of a small group of people abused by clergy who were asked to share their stories with the pope in a Washington chapel. The meeting was emotional, frank and hope-filled but will it make a difference.

Also, the aftermath of last night’s debate. Sharp exchanges from both candidates, but was the real loser the media?

And the largest child custody case in American history. David Mattingly was inside the courtroom as mothers and lawyers and the state of Texas battled over 416 children of Warren Jeffs' polygamist sect.

Please check out a post that may be helpful if you wonder why some comments get posted while others do not. LINK TO COMMENTS POST

And be sure to check out our live web camera from the 360° studio. The shot features a behind the scenes look at the set. We’ll turn the camera on at 945p ET and turn it off at 11p ET. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA

We’ll start posting comments to this blog at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.

Filed under: Live Blog
April 17th, 2008
08:19 PM ET

Dispatch from the FLDS court hearing

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Ismael Estrada
CNN supervising Producer

3:08 pm CT

Testimony of Angie Voss, supervisor for investigation for CPS, been a supervisor for 6 years, and investigator before that.

The department received a report on March 29th and 11:32 pm. Allegations of a 16 year old girl of abuse she had received at the YFZ ranch.

Also the concern that there were other girls living at the ranch where this young lady was believed to be living...100 to 150 other girls.

Initially 12 case workers assigned, they needed more. She was there to coordinate and supervise the investigation.

She arrived at the ranch gates with a team at 9pm on Thursday the 3rd. Law enforcement had arrived first. There were Schleicher County Cops, and Texas Rangers...


Filed under: FLDS court hearing • Ismael Estrada • Polygamy
April 17th, 2008
08:04 PM ET

I should have watched ‘Criminal Minds,’ skipped the debate

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Roland S. Martin
360° Contributor and Radio Host

My radio callers this morning were up in arms at the Democratic presidential debate last night, believing that questioners Charlie Gibson and George Stephanolopous were dead set against Sen. Barack Obama.


Frankly, that didn't concern me.

What I took issue with was so much focus on Rev. Wright, "bitter" comments, Bosnia, affirmative action, and other stuff that really didn't amount to much.

For instance, Obama got asked about not wearing a flag pin. Was Clinton wearing one? Nope. Was Stephanolopous wearing one? Nope. Was Gibson wearing one? NOPE!

So, if NO ONE was on stage wearing one, how big of a deal is it?!

But one of the most pressing issues in the nation – gas prices – was tossed out by Gibson near the end, saying there wasn't much time left to discuss.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Roland S. Martin
April 17th, 2008
07:22 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: What is wrong with people?!

Erica Hill
AC 360° Correspondent

I am OUTRAGED by this story. I’ve been following it this week – finally, there is a decision and while it’s the one I wanted, I cant help but wonder if it was done for the right reasons.

In Yemen, a judge (thankfully!) dissolved the marriage of an 8 year old girl to a 30 year old man. The simple fact that any man could marry a child is disturbing enough, but to make matters worse, this marriage was consummated AND the girl’s father not only OK’ed it, he forced his daughter to marry a man almost four times her age. She should be playing with dolls and climbing trees, not being beaten and forced to have sex. It is sick and so, so wrong… and it happens more than we’d like to know.

The reason this scary reality is in the headlines is because this young girl is not your average 8 year old. Luckily, she was smart enough to know the marriage was wrong and strong enough to stick up for herself. Sadly, her family didn’t stand with her. This little lady didn’t let that stop her, instead she went to the court for help.

While the judge did end the marriage, he didn’t do it for the reasons you might imagine – not because she’s 8 or because he’s 30, not because the marriage was consummated, which in most circles is clearly sexual abuse, not because this man allegedly beat her, nope, none of the above. The judge dissolved the marriage because she "had not reached puberty." And the kicker? Her family has to pay “compensation” to the ex-husband! Ummm, yeah, I get it – here, take my daughter, violate her, mess her up for life and we’ll pay you!


Filed under: Erica Hill
April 17th, 2008
06:21 PM ET

The Innocent Children of the FLDS

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Gary Tuchman
AC 360° Correspondent

Let me tell you about the children of Warren Jeffs polygamist sect. But first, some brief history.
We've been going back and forth to the epicenter of the FLDS polygamy world for about two years now. Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah sit across the state line from each other. Most of the sect's ten thousand followers still live here. 

Unlike the compound in El Dorado, Texas, anyone can enter this neighborhood, but the likelihood is you wouldn't want to. In addition to being ignored, you are also the subject of intimidation tactics by people in vehicles with tinted windows who follow you, and police who are members of the church who stop you for no good reason.

With all the allegations against the FLDS, it's our journalistic obligation to try to get the other side of the story. But under the threat of damnation, followers are told not to talk to outsiders. 

When we walk up to women, almost all of them look at us like we are dangerous criminals and scurry away. The men are usually not so frightened, but treat us like we're invisible.


Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Polygamy
April 17th, 2008
05:40 PM ET

The Democrats, Economic Justice and Pay Equality

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Faye Wattleton
President, Center for the Advancement of Women

Forty-four years after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Acts to end pay inequity and 40 years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., while in the midst of a campaign seeking equal justice for workers, it’s hard to believe the Supreme Court has violated the spirit of the legislation. But it did in Ledbetter v. Goodyear, which upheld 19 years of blatant workplace discrimination against Lilly Ledbetter. The decision must be overturned, and Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have the best chance this year to push for it.

The Fair Pay Restoration Act (S.1843), passed by the House (H.R.2831) only two months after the Court’s decision, sits stalled in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, on which both senators serve. Their failure even to call for hearings toward moving it out of committee for passage by the Senate is perplexing. While the legislation is languishing in committee purgatory, the Chimp Haven is Home Act (S.1916) has been quickly signed into law by President Bush. The first woman and the first African-American presidential candidate in U.S. history should know better.

The presidential hopefuls are attempting to convince Pennsylvanians that they will stem job losses due to trade agreements. They could engage in the kind of unified effort for change that they both promote and simply press for a vote to end discrimination that prevents women from receiving fair treatment at the workplace. FULL POST

Filed under: Democrats • Economy • Women's Rights
April 17th, 2008
03:47 PM ET

FLDS hearing: So many children... so many lawyers

David Mattingly
360° Correspondent

I am sitting in the very back of a very crowded courtroom in Texas.  On my left, there are maybe 50 men and women from the YFZ Ranch.  Women outnumber the men about 2 to 1.  They are all represented by about a dozen attorneys.

On my right there are more than 70 attorneys appointed to represent the children removed from the gated compound of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).

The biggest piece of evidence presented by the state so far–a list of 10 women who were either married or pregnant before they were 17 - that is, before the age of consent in Texas.

This hearing is the slowest moving court procedure I have ever witnessed.  You can't have this many attorneys in one room without someone objecting or commenting.

Filed under: FLDS court hearing • Polygamy
April 17th, 2008
02:46 PM ET

Beat 360° 4/17/08

Hey Bloggers! It's time for tonight's ‘Beat 360°.’

Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption. Our staff will get in on the action too.

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite! Can you Beat 360°?

Here is today’s “Beat 360°” pic of the day. Have fun with it.

BEAT 360

Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment. Thank you!

Filed under: Beat 360°
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