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Arizona Dismisses Charges Against Criminal Warren Jeffs

Date: Jun 10, 2010
Word Count: 750 words
Cross-Reference: Warren Jeffs, Arizona, Elissa Wall

As requested by the prosecutor in the Arizona case, a Judge dismissed all charges against Warren Jeffs, returning him to Utah where his 2007 convictions are on appeal, and expediting the process for Jeffs to also face more serious charges in Texas.

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. 


Bibliographic URLs:,0,692690.story 
[Reviewed for publication - Review Board.]

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