FLDS Leader's Conviction Overturned: Warren Jeffs

Sad Greetings to the Ladies Jane!

If you haven't yet heard, the Utah Supreme Court overturned the conviction of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs because the "jurors in the case were given improper legal instructions . . . before reaching their 2007 verdict that Jeffs contributed to the 2001 sexual assault of teenage victim Elissa Wall, then 14, by directing her to marry an adult cousin." *

Once among the FBI's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives, Jeffs was at one point charged with offences relating to child rape in three different states. Because Arizona recently dismissed charges against him after Utah convicted him, the Utah Supreme Court decision could mean that Jeffs now faces charges only in Texas.

Generally, the reason for the overturn:

      The Utah Supreme Court found Judge Shumate incorrectly advised jurors they could find Jeffs guilty as an accomplice to rape based on the notion that his authority and marriage ceremony led to the sexual assault, regardless of whether that was his intent. *

Specifically, the reason for the overturn:

      the instruction erroneously interprets the statute’s use of the term “actor,” as used in Utah Code sections 76-5-406(10) and (11), to refer to the defendant, Jeffs, rather than to Steed. Those sections provide that the intercourse will be deemed to be nonconsensual if “the victim is younger than 18 years of age and at the time of the offense the actor . . . occupied a position of special trust in relation to the victim,” or if “the victim is 14 years of age or older, but younger than 18 years of age, and the actor is more than three years older than the victim and entices or coerces the victim to submit or participate . . . .” * (page 9)

So, a man can lead and brainwash an entire 10,000+ religious community to believe that forced polygamist marriage and forced sex between children and adults is required by God, preside over such marriages, and then have his conviction for the forced "consummation" of same overturned because he didn't physically perform the rapes with his own penis? 

As the community's religious leader and brainwasher, he doesn't qualify as the person "[of] special trust" or "[who] coerces the victim to submit"?

We have one sick legal system, we do.


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