On June 9, 2010, at the request of a motion by Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith, Judge Steven Conn dismissed the four charges of "accomplice to sexual conduct with a minor" in Arizona against Warren Jeffs, leader of the rogue Mormon sect, the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS). Dismissing the charges "with prejudice," Arizona quickly sent Jeffs back to Utah where he was convicted of similar charges in 2007.
The Arizona prosecutor Matt Smith had actually requested that the charges be dismissed. In his filed motion requesting the dismissal, Smith gave a number of reasons. Warren Jeffs had already spent two years in an Arizona prison - longer than he would serve if he was actually convicted of the charges. He had had significant health problems at the Kingman, Arizona, prison, which is about 200 miles away from the major city, Phoenix. Jeffs faces even more serious charges in Texas, even after his 2007 Utah conviction is eventually concluded after appeal. Lastly, the two alleged victims in the charges no longer want the Arizona charges against Jeffs to be prosecuted.
In 2007, Jeffs was convicted in Utah of accomplice to rape, for coercing the underage marriage of the then-14-year-old Elissa Wall to her unmarried then-19-year-old cousin. Following Jeffs' conviction, Elissa Wall became a cottage industry. She wrote a book and started giving public speaking and TV appearances on her so-called "polygamy experience" – even though she had never experienced polygamy.
As AZCentral reported, Jeffs' defense attorney Michael Piccarreta "said he believes the charges were dismissed because the victim, the chief accuser in the government's case, made false statements during the Utah trial and to officials in Arizona that undermined her credibility... (He) said a midwife who was scheduled to be a witness in the Arizona case recently admitted re-creating and backdating records of Wall's miscarriage, an event that verified the marriage was consummated while she was underage. According to Piccarreta, Wall misrepresented the medical records during Jeff's first trial in St. George, Utah, and during a more recent discovery interview."
For his Utah convictions in 2007, Jeffs was sentenced to two consecutive terms of five years to life in prison. The convictions are now on appeal before the Utah Supreme Court. Also, the Utah Attorney General's Office has agreed to an official hearing to review the false testimony allegations that have now been raised regarding Elissa Wall and the Canadian midwife.
The dismissal of the charges in Arizona made it easier to more rapidly expedite the process of getting Jeffs through the Utah legal proceedings, so that he could then more rapidly face the more serious charges in Texas. As CNN reported, "He was indicted in Texas in 2008 on a felony charge of sexual assault of a child. The indictment accuses Jeffs of assaulting a child 'younger than 17 years of age and not legally married to the defendant' in January 2005... If convicted on the Texas charges, Jeffs could face a maximum penalty of five to 99 years or life in prison and a fine of $10,000."
Accordingly, Texas is seeking to extradite Jeffs. The indictment was the result of the raid on the FLDS in Eldorado, Texas, in April 2008. "Legal authorization" for the raid was based on an anonymous tipster who later proved to be false. Jeffs will be adamantly fighting the extradition, asserting the technicality that any evidence against Jeffs was obtained illegally from an "illegally authorized" raid.
In numerous press releases and media reports, the National Polygamy Rights Movement for Consenting Adults has always declared its vehement opposition to underaged marriage, arranged marriage, and Warren Jeffs. Pro-polygamists have also expressed genuine sympathy for Elissa Wall for her being coerced into an arranged monogamous marriage with her 19 year old cousin when she was 14. However, Wall's later profit-mongering with her false "polygamy experience" - deceptively re-labeling her cult abuse as polygamy "experience" - exposed her willingness to dishonestly make money by misrepresenting her non-knowledge of polygamy. If Jeffs' defense successfully proves the false testimony allegations, then Elissa Wall's increasingly visible dishonesty could very well have caused the very legal technicalities by which Warren Jeffs could escape legal consequences in both Arizona and Utah. It still remains to be seen as to whether the other legal technicalities (e.g., "illegally obtained evidence") can actually get the charges in Texas dismissed too.
Regardless, even if legal technicalities do cause Jeffs' release, it would not change normal pro-polygamists’ utter opposition to Warren Jeffs and his very real criminal abuses.
[Reviewed for publication - Pro-Polygamy.com Review Board.]