The appellate saga of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs’ sexual assault conviction has ended, says Matthew Waller in the San Angelo Standard-Times:
His appeal was refused by Texas’ highest criminal appeals court Wednesday.
Jeffs, who has represented himself during and since his trial last year after firing high-powered attorneys, sent a variety of letters addressed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in April, purporting to be revelations from God making demands of freedom for himself and for other members of Jeffs’ Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Jeffs is serving a sentence of life plus 20 years in Palestine for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl.
“You have only authority to fully dismiss the present cases now before prosecuting court and past court actions, thus preserving thy nation from full whirlwind judgment,” one of the letters states.
The paper quotes Patrick Metze, a criminal law professor at Texas Tech University School of Law as saying Jeffs should have let his attorneys file the appeal, and that judges most likely will not be amenable to pleas from Jesus Christ for Jeffs’ release.
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has generally been savvy in the courts over the years, hiring top-notch attorneys. So why the rejection of that strategy?
You could say there are mental issues at work, or point to the fact that Warren also took the “answer them nothing” approach around 2005 as lawsuits were filed against the FLDS property trust.
Or you could argue, as Willie Jessop told me for this story, that he’s trying to avoid a re-airing of the damning facts of the case and confronting his own guilt.
But it also occurs to me that a release won by an attorney doesn’t fit into Warren’s myth-making. An opinion wrung from a government court (assuming it could be won) doesn’t exactly measure up to the prison walls crumbling and Warren walking out a free man, does it?
Whitehurts maintains a Google calendar tracking Jeffs’ ‘revelations.’ (Click on ‘More details’ at each entry).