2/18/10 – TG: Court of Appeals: Ruling says Alamo followers should have argued point at custody cases ***COMMENTS***

Texarkana Gazette
February 18, 2010
By: Lynn LaRowe

Court of Appeals: Ruling says Alamo followers should have argued point at custody cases

The Arkansas Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that five Tony Alamo loyalists have a valid point for appeal that they should have raised while their custody cases were still in state court.

The children at issue were seized in November 2008 while custody hearings for six girls seized in September 2008 were ongoing.

Al Reid, Richard and Debra Ondrisek, Greg Seago and Brian Broderick all have daughters that were seized in September and boys that were seized in November.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services presented evidence from the girls’ hearings during the boys’ hearings and argued that if one sibling is found in danger, another should be deemed so as well.

Miller County Circuit Judge Joe Griffin agreed and determined the boys would remain in state care without hearing arguments from the parents’ defense attorney.

In their appeals, the parents complain that Griffin denied them due process of law.

The court of appeals agreed.

“ … The grant of a judgment or directed verdict for the plaintiff at the close of the plaintiff’s case-in-chief, which essentially forecloses the defendant from presenting his own case, is simply improper under our rules of civil procedure,” the opinion states.

The opinion says Griffin’s ruling amounted to finding the state, which has the burden of proof in a custody case, presented “unassailable” evidence, without giving the parents a chance to defend themselves.

But because the parents’ argument wasn’t raised at the trial level, while the case was still in state court, it won’t be considered by the appellate court.

“It is incumbent upon the parties to raise arguments initially to the Circuit Court in order to give that court an opportunity to consider them,” the opinion states.

The opinion notes that Griffin’s rulings concerning the six girls were affirmed by the court of appeals Nov. 18, 2009.

“During the girls’ adjudication hearings, DHS presented evidence:

• that their parents were aware of beatings administered to Tony Alamo Christian Ministries children by Ministries adults;

• that some of the parents and younger children witnessed the beatings;

• that the parents condoned the marriage of underage females to adult males and placed their daughters in the residence of Tony Alamo without parental supervision;

• that Alamo sexually abused one of the girls and spent time in his bedroom with another;

• that the parents neglected to provide the children with proper medical care and education;

• and that the parents condoned extreme disciplinary measures for young children, such as fasting,” the opinion states.

Last month, Griffin terminated the parental rights of the Ondriseks, Seago and Reid. Broderick’s children have been permanently placed with a relative.

In: 2010

| Back to Top |
Want to help?

Click the button!

One Post

  1. Anonymous Says:

    The whole thing makes me want to weep.

Post A Comment

Please note: All comments are moderated. There is no need to resubmit your comment. Please submit a well thought out post with proper punctuation and spelling, so that it can be reviewed and posted promptly (as space allows).

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.