Enterprising Lawyer Needed
It now seems clear that the Child Protective Services were guilty of at least:
1. Restraining women whom they knew to be adults under the pretense that they were minors--including a pregnant 22 year old married woman with a birth certificate as proof of age.
2. Deliberately defaming particular women, for instance by claiming that that one was a pregnant minor when they had no evidence that she was a minor and a birth certificate showing she was an adult.
3. Deliberately defaming the FLDS with a set of claims for none of which they have any evidence beyond allegations and some of which they knew to be wildly false--for instance the 31 minors now reduced to five.
I suspect that further investigation, of the sort that could result from a tort suit, would turn up additional damning evidence, in particular that the reclassification of a group of women from adults to minors was a deliberate attempt to inflate the number of minors they could claim had been mothers or were pregnant.
And all this is aside from their real crime--separating hundred of children from their mothers with not a scrap of evidence that those children were in any immediate danger (see the court statement). That, I suspect, is one for which there is unfortunately no legal recourse.
On the other hand ... . The CPS, as an agency of the state of Texas, is protected from most tort liability by sovereign immunity. According to one commenter on of my earlier posts, child protective service generally have even greater immunity than other state agencies.
So the question is whether an enterprising lawyer could get past whatever sorts of immunity they have by demonstrating that their torts were deliberate and malicious, perhaps even that they were a deliberate attempt to use state power to suppress an unpopular religion in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution. It's hard to believe that a state can use immunity to shield actions by its agents that are deliberately unconstitutional. But then, I'm not a lawyer, and the law does allow for the possibility of legal wrongs for which there is no legal remedy.
A commenter points me at an informative (but not unbiased) page on legal rights of parents and children in dealing with state child protective agencies. Googling turns up a discussion of 42 U.S.C. 1983 from which it seems clear that sovereign immunity does not provide protection for state agents who violate federal law. My inexpert opinion from this is that the FLDS parents, and the FLDS adults who were put under CPS control on the pretence that they were minors, do indeed have a potential tort claim against those responsible.