Warren Jeffs files handwritten motion for new trial

In a handwritten motion, polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs is asking for a new trial on sexual assault of a child charges in Texas.

Lindsay Whitehurst reports in The Salt Lake Tribune:

The motion for retrial relies on the violation of religious freedom argument Jeffs made as he represented himself last month. Jeffs, 55, was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of assaulting two girls, ages 12 and 15, whom he took as plural wives.

The one-page motion is written in the same rambling, archaic style that characterized Jeffs’ speech at trial after he fired his team of high-profile attorneys. It was filed late Friday afternoon and appears to be written on lined, loose-leaf paper.

“The Constitutional protection for religious faith and freedom of practice not being of full protection in previous trial … is legal grounds sufficient to rule in favor of defendant allowed a new trial …” it reads.

Jeffs also asks for a new hearing on the suppression of evidence gathered in a massive 2008 raid on his followers’ remote ranch in Eldorado, Texas. That evidence formed the basis of the case against him.


Throughout the trial, Jeffs voiced continual, rambling objections, asking for more time to prepare and saying the proceedings violated his freedom of religion, all of which were overruled. […]

Jeffs had 30 days after his sentencing to file a motion for a new trial; the court now has 75 days to rule on a motion for new trial, according to the Texas rules of appellate procedure. Filing the motion for a new trial also gives Jeffs more time to file a notice of appeal — 90 days from the day of sentencing rather than 30 days.

Whitehurst’s Polygamy Blog at the Salt Lake Tribune includes pictures of Jeff’s handwritten motion, along with its full text.

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This post was last updated: May. 9, 2014