Attorney enters not guilty due to mental impairment plea for woman whose call sparked raid on FLDS sect

Swinton’s attorney enters not guilty due to mental impairment plea

A Colorado Springs woman is not guilty of false reporting because she suffers from multiple personality disorder, her attorney told a judge Monday.

Rozita Swinton, 33, was charged with a misdemeanor false reporting charge after Colorado Springs police alleged she called 911, posed as a teenage girl named “Jennifer” trapped in a basement and led police on a wild goose chase for hours, according to an arrest affidavit.

Swinton is named by Texas Rangers as a person of interest in a tip that may have sparked an April raid on a polygamist group in Texas where hundreds of children were taken into protective custody.

Her attorney, David Foley, entered a not guilty, mental condition impaired, plea on her behalf Monday.

“It’s a general denial. My client and I are unable to determine if she was even involved because of her dissociative state,” Foley told El Paso County Judge Dan Wilson. “It’s a unique situation.”

Dissociative disorder used to be called multiple personality disorder. People suffering from it often have memory problems because they have two or more personalities.

The plea is similar to a not guilty by reason of insanity plea. Psychologists will examine Swinton to determine if she suffered from the dissociative disorder at the time of the alleged crime. One of the required elements a prosecutor would have to prove is that Swinton knowingly made a false report to police.

[Swinton] became well-known over investigators’ suspicions that she pretended to be an underage bride and called a crisis hot line in Texas. Investigators say such calls triggered an April 3 raid on the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints‘ Yearning for Zion Ranch compound near Eldorado, Texas. More than 400 children were temporarily made wards of the state.

The Texas Supreme Court later ruled that the children were improperly separated from their families.

– Source: Swinton’s attorney enters not guilty due to mental impairment plea, Dennis Huspeni, The Gazette (CO, USA), Sep. 15, 2008 — Summarized by Religion News Blog
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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday September 16, 2008.
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