There were other parties – going back years – who were going to the media with this case. The Pages’ privacy – and that of Lexi’s – was compromised when someone else first started reporting private details of this case.
None of this information was public, including information reported that was only in locked DCFS case files.
The Pages did not think that DCFS would come to the house to take Lexi in front of the cameras. They had hoped and pleaded (1) that DCFS would at least permit them a short period of time to file for an emergency stay; and (2) if that failed that DCFS would give them instructions on how a private transition could take place.
The Pages have always been very cautious with Lexi’s confidentiality. The Pages treat Lexi as their own daughter and wanted to protect her as such. In this case, protecting Lexi meant going to the court – just like the DCFS did, just like the Choctaw Nation did – to seek a just and fair application of the law.
One important reason so few ICWA cases are not in the courts is that most families lack the support to ask the court to protect the child. It is not wrong to go to court and to ask the court to apply the law fairly. County governments and Indian Tribes are simply more powerful than individual families, so most families give up.
The Pages fought for Lexi.
You can imagine how any small child would feel when faced with the possibility that she would be taken from the only home she had ever known. Small children don’t know about politics and courts and history. Little girls know about their toys and their bed and their pets and the people who play with them, and hold them, and talk to them.
The world continued the story, because the world loves Lexi.
- The Pages ensured that every media outlet knew that any picture or video must blur Lexi’s face.
- The opposition produced information that was not public, including a statement on CLC’s main page which had information that was not in any court documents, public or private. The entire Court of Appeals document is public record and several of the briefs are available to the public on WestLaw as well. Notice the differing “facts” on CLC’s & the Choctaw’s public statements—both containing information not in any record, yet stated definitively without any proof. The Choctaw Tribe states, as “fact”, that the family has been a part of Lexi’s life for almost five years and waiting for almost five years to be together—yet, the court documents say Lexi didn’t meet them until after reunification services were terminated. And the Choctaw themselves prevented the family from getting to know Lexi until after reunification services terminated. A misstatement in a public pronouncement:
- https://www.facebook.com/choctawnationofoklahoma/posts/1314047688622080 – 5 years (as of 06/22/2016, although they will likely change it)
- https://www.facebook.com/ChildrensLawCenterCA/posts/1118846504794296 – 3 years
- The Pages were very proactive in ensuring that the name or place of the family in Utah was not disclosed, desiring their privacy to remain intact. To this date, the Pages have sought to protect the privacy of the Utah family.
- There is a difference between Lexi’s confidentiality and the protection of the opposition. The behavior of the County’s Indian Unit, tribe, judges, therapists and other parties is not protected as confidential. As a matter of fact, our country is founded on the right to speak against injustice done by the government—it’s called the United States Constitution. That isn’t confidential…it is of the upmost public interest. Since the Pages went public they have been reached out to by many families, both in LA County and other places of the US, who have been impacted in similar ways, all of them now emboldened to speak up. The government should not seek to punish American citizens for using their First Amendment rights to speak about actions which citizens believe to be wrong.
- The Court of Appeals ruled in the Page’s favor that the gag order was unconstitutional and not protecting confidentiality, but rather violated the Pages’ and their supporters right to free speech. The Pages do want Lexi’s privacy protected. But that does not mean that the Pages may not discuss what the government has done, when it has acted in a way which is harmful. Protection of Lexi’s privacy does not mean protection of the unjust acts of others when it comes to the life of a child.
- Considering private information about Lexi’s life was leaked and reported by Indian Country Today years ago with no repercussions, makes it quite clear that the trial court is more concerned about their own confidentiality than Lexi’s. Let’s call it an intellectual dissonance between allowing others to speak out previously, and preventing the Pages from doing so today.