On the issue of the FLDS women and children being allowed contact with attorneys, the judge ordered eight phone lines to be set up in the shelter six for the children and two for the mothers with 24-hour access to their attorneys. Lawyers for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said the phone lines were already set up.
The women's attorneys said that when cell phones were taken from the women, they lost the ability to communicate effectively with their clients.
The cell phones were taken after members of the FLDS Church inside Fort Concho spoke to the Deseret News, complaining of cramped conditions. The women provided the Deseret News with photographs taken by a cell phone to show the conditions. Shortly afterward, they were moved to the San Angelo Coliseum, where some of the children have remained. Many of the women have been sent back to the YFZ Ranch.
In another sign that the legal fight for custody of the FLDS children is just beginning, the judge indicated that she had 35 writs of habeas corpus, challenging the state's decision to remove the children. She also said she had a large stack of legal motions to go over.
As the hearing concluded, Julia Balovich, an attorney representing another group of FLDS women, tried to bring up a motion for a restraining order that she had filed. Walther said she hadn't seen it, but Balovich pressed her to consider the issue. It was then the judge stood up and announced: "Ladies and gentlemen, this hearing is concluded," and abruptly left the bench.
Balovich told reporters outside the courthouse that she wants to stop the separation of the mothers from the children expected later this week. She complained that child protective services workers aren't telling them when or how the children will be removed."I don't think it's in the children's best interests to be separated from their mothers, especially when they're under 5 years old," she said.
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