- Today Judge Walthers held a hearing regarding a temporary restraining order to provide immediate access for attorneys, respect the right to privacy in prayer, and to prevent separation of breast feeding mothers from their children.
- Andi Sloan, an attorney and executive director for Texas Advocacy Project, spearheaded the hearing for the women and children and Deborah Keenum, a local attorney for young children, assisted.
- First complaint was that attorneys had to wait in line for hours just to get to see their clients and their clients had no way to get in touch with them and vice versa.
- The state said they just installed today, Monday, 8 telephone lines for use by women and children.
- Sloan said eight phones not enough for 400 plus children and 50 mothers.
- The judge ruled that her responsibility is to the children. The mothers are their voluntarily and can leave anytime.
- The judge ruled that 6 of the telephone lines will be reserved for children between the ages of 15 and 18 years old. Any child younger than that, the attorneys agreed, just wouldn't understand enough. 2 telephone lines will be made available for mothers and each mother has a time limit of one hour per phone call. The children no limit. Phones are available for teenagers and mothers 24 hours. If abused they will reevaluate. Calls, whether attorneys calling in or teenagers or mothers calling out, will be verified that they are speaking to attorneys only.
- The judge said they think they have approx 100 teenagers and that 6 phones plenty.
Regarding Privacy to Prayer
- The mothers and children have requested that they have a private place to pray twice a day at 6:30am and 7pm daily. Currently the mothers are being discouraged from gathering in groups.
- The judge ruled they have right to pray and ordered attorneys and state to get together. San Angelo has a Morman community. It was proposed to reach out to them ask for volunteers to come into the coliseum twice daily to be present inside the group prayers. If anything other than prayer occurs they can alert state. The state agreed this was a fair compromise and so did Sloan.
Regarding Separation of breast feeding mothers
- The judge first said she recognizes that breast feeding has unique health and immune benefits in addition to special mother child bonding.
- But the judge reminded the court that every day in America mothers leave their infant Children after only 6 weeks of maternity leave.
- That said, Judge Walthers said each child under the age of 2 will have their individual case evaluated. Waltherstold the court and Sloan that the state has yet to present a proposal on how, where and to whom they will assign these young children. Sloan's objection is premature and work with the state please. Walthersreminded the court she does not give advisory opinion and wait to see what choices the state presents and then she will deal with it on a case by case basis.
A REPEAT OF DNA TESTING INFO
- DNA Testing is occurring at three locations in Texas:
- Coliseum in San Angelo
- Schleicher Co. Memorial Building in Eldorado begins April 22 at 10am CT
- Cal Farley's Boys Ranch in Boys Town, TX. begins April 25th at 10am
- Testing done by Laboratory Corporation of America: Jerry Strickland with the TX AG's office says each test is costing $95 per person including swab and analysis and parentage results.