The appeal Wednesday was transferred from the Court of Appeals to the justices. The high court will review 3rd District Judge Terry Christiansen’s ruling Monday that Jeffs must be sent to Texas to face sexual assault and bigamy charges there.
Christiansen said he did not have the authority to halt an extradition that Utah’s governor has already approved. Jeffs’ attorneys immediately appealed; the Utah Court of Appeals halted the extradition late Monday afternoon.
Defense attorneys told the Utah Supreme Court in filings that sending Jeffs to Texas would violate his right to a speedy retrial on accomplice-to-rape charges in Utah and his right to bail, since the Texas warrant denies bail. But prosecutors responded that those issues do not have any bearing on extradition, and that approval or denial is up to the governor, not a judge.
Utah Supreme Court Gets Warren Jeffs Extradition Case
The 54-year old leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) was previously convicted in southern Utah as an accomplice to rape of a 14-year old girl, a member of his congregation that Jeffs’ married spiritually to her 19-year old cousin.
The conviction was overturned by the Utah Supreme Court in July citing flawed instructions to the jury. Prosecutors in Washington County where he was tried and convicted have not determined whether they will re-try Jeffs.