Lawyers seek Warren Jeffs contempt charge

A 5th District judge is being asked to find polygamous sect leader Warren S. Jeffs in contempt of court for failing to answer questions about the whereabouts of an ex-follower’s son.

Attorneys for Wendell Musser also want Jeffs brought before Judge James L. Shumate so they can ask him questions about the 2-year-old toddler.

In new court papers, attorneys Roger and Greg Hoole ask Shumate to order Jeffs to serve an additional day in jail for each day he defies a previous order directing him to provide information on Levi Barlow, Musser’s son.

They ask that the added jail time be tacked on to any sentence the sect leader receives from criminal charges pending against him.

“Our effort is to re-establish and maintain direct and unimpeded contact between Wendell and his son Levi,” said Greg Hoole.

Musser’s attorneys met with Jeffs last Friday at the Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, but the sect leader refused to answer any questions about Levi or his mother, Vivian Barlow.

Jeffs is set to stand trial in September on two counts of being an accomplice to rape for conducting a 2001 marriage between a 19-year-old man and his 14-year-old cousin, who opposed the union. He was arrested last August after more than a year in hiding.

Musser, 22, served as a caretaker for Jeffs’ family during his months on the lam. Last June, Musser was cut off from his family and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints after being arrested in Colorado Springs, Colo., for driving while impaired. The charge involves a blood alcohol content of between .05 and .08, just below the DUI threshold of .08 in Colorado and Utah.

FLDS

The FLDS is also considered to be a cult of Christianity. Sociologically,the group is a high-control cult.

Musser currently is serving a jail sentence, with work release, related to a March DUI arrest in Idaho, his second offense in that state.

Greg Hoole said Musser’s subsequent troubles stem from a “heartwrenching and difficult time in his life.”

“I think that the root cause to all this was his family being torn from him,” Greg Hoole said. “He is working through legal remedies to resolve that.”

Those difficulties have nothing to do with his parental rights, he added.

“Wendell is not looking to take Levi from Vivian,” Greg Hoole said. “He just wants to be part of his boy’s life, and I don’t think a court is going to deny him that right simply because he’s made a couple of bad choices.”

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Source

(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
The Salt Lake Tribune, USA
Aug. 1, 2007
Brooke Adams
www.sltrib.com

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This post was last updated: Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 12:11 PM, Central European Time (CET)