Local Attorney Involved in San Angelo Custody Hearing

By: Ashlea Sigman Email
By: Ashlea Sigman Email

It's been a two day custody hearing like no other. One district judge, Texas Child Protective Services, and several hundred lawyers representing 416 children seized from a polygamist compound.

"The biggest word I would use here is frustrating, for everybody," said attorney John Quinn.

Quinn is a Bryan attorney involved in the process. He can't talk about who he represents, but can talk about what it was like in the courtroom, the part of it he could see.

Quinn and another 150 lawyers had to watch the hearing from an overflow auditorium.

"She would try to introduce documents and everybody wanted to see them," said Quinn. "The documents were in the courtroom, not the auditorium, so we had to wait for them to come over."

Quinn says it's a process complicated by the age of the children involved, the distance between attorney and clients, and the sect's unwillingness to trust outsiders.

"The child may be too young or too uncooperative or whatever you want to call it to give them much information, so much of the information needs to come from the mother. The mother has a lawyer who may not allow the child's lawyer to talk to the mother," said Quinn.

The judge has said each child will have an individual hearing by June. "I don't know they're going to logistically do all that, because one judge can't do all these," said Quinn.

Difficult circumstances or not, Quinn says he volunteered his time to represent his clients' best interests.

"I've got to make sure somebody speaks for them," said Quinn.

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