In In re Steed (No. 03-08-00235-CV) (orig. proceeding) (per curiam), the Third Court of Appeals has conditionally granted the petition for writ of mandamus and vacated the district court’s order placing more than 400 FLDS children in state custody.  The Supreme Court of Texas Blog, the ABA Journal, and other media outlets are reporting additional details.

Chief Justice Law, Justice Pemberton, and Justice Waldrop made the decision, but we don’t know who wrote the opinion.  It’s difficult to criticize deciding this case per curiam, given its  highly politicized and controversial subject matter and the national publicity it has received.

Update:  On closer examination, the Third Court’s ruling in In re Steed does not purport to return all the FLDS children in CPS custody, only those belonging to the 38 relators in that proceeding.  The court reached the same result in a related case, In re Bradshaw (No. 03-08-00298-CV), also issued per curiam, which involved three additional relators.

After these orders, however, CPS would presumably change course on all the affected children.

A third case involving three more relators, In re Jessop (No. 03-08-00236-CV), remains pending.

5/23/08 Update:  Per coverage at CNN.com and the Salt Lake Tribune, the State is taking the matter up to the Texas Supreme Court.  The Deseret News posted unsigned PDFs of the mandamus petition and motion for emergency relief apparently filed today.

5/24/08 Update:  Per the Supreme Court of Texas Blog, the response to the State’s motion, the Court’s docket sheet, and a page with the electronic versions of the briefs (which should be updated when any further briefs are filed) are now available through the Texas Supreme Court’s web site.

Given the present uncertainty, I have added a question mark to the title of this post.