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On Polygamists, Blawgers' Silence is Deafening

Why is the biggest legal story in the news being ignored by the legal blogosphere? On Thursday, more than 400 lawyers will appear at the Tom Green County Courthouse in San Angelo, Texas, to represent the interests of the 416 children removed by Texas authorities last week from a polygamist sect's compound in West Texas. At a preliminary hearing yesterday, District Judge Barbara Walther "was clearly struggling with how to organize the largest child-custody hearing in Texas history, and perhaps the nation," reports the Houston Chronicle. No matter where you come down on the week's events in Texas, the state's roundup and temporary custody of these children raise any number of difficult legal and policy questions. Why are hardly any legal bloggers addressing them?

I have searched through blog posts using various methods and found only one legal blog consistently posting about what is happening in West Texas. That one blog is Grits for Breakfast, which is written not by a lawyer, but by former journalist Scott Henson. Henson has a longstanding interest in criminal justice and is the former director of the Police Accountability Project of the ACLU of Texas. His blog covers the Texas criminal justice system "with a little politics and whatever else suits the author's fancy thrown in." He has provided regular coverage and commentary ever since the raid. On Friday, he rounded up his posts as of then, and he has had more since.

Henson also points to other blogs that are covering this story. None are legal blogs, but one blog Henson singles out for the superiority of its coverage is The Polygamy Files, written by reporter Brooke Adams, who covers polygamy for The Salt Lake Tribune. Adams, Henson writes, "has been reporting circles around the 20 or so Texas reporters assigned to this story from various media."

But as the biggest legal story in recent weeks moves forward, one involving hundreds of lawyers and affecting the lives of many hundreds of women and children, the legal blogosphere seems blind to it all. As one who has come to look forward to blog commentary for insight and perspective, I am disappointed.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on April 15, 2008 at 02:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)


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