LITTLE ROCK — An attorney for the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries said Monday that he needs more time to prepare a brief outlining his arguments on why the ministry’s lawsuit against the Arkansas Department of Human Services should be reinstated.
The lawsuit, which accused the Human Services Department of violating members’ religious freedoms by removing children from the ministry, was dismissed in February by U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes.
Barnes found that the Human Services Department had not acted in bad faith in removing children from ministry properties in Fouke, Texarkana and Fort Smith. The children were deemed to be at risk of abuse. He also said the ministry should raise its arguments in child-welfare proceedings rather than through a federal lawsuit.
The ministry’s brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court Appeals is due today, but attorney John Wesley Hall Jr. said in a court filing Monday that he needs more time to prepare it. Hall said has been busy preparing an appeal for ministry leader Tony Alamo, who was sentenced in November to 175 years in prison for taking underage girls across state lines for sex. Hall said he also has two jury trials scheduled in April and two in the first week of May.
Hall said he had conferred with an attorney for the Human Services Department who had no request to the extension of time. A ruling on the request had not been issued late Monday.
Arkansas, Pages 10 on 04/06/2010