Radio Freethinker

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With God as my Witness, and Attorney, and Judge, and Jury…

Posted by Jenna Capyk on August 2, 2011

There is an almost unending list of talking points when it comes to the case of Warren Jeffs. I’m not going to go into the moral or even the legal intricacies of the case, but will rather focus on some of the latest developments.
By way of very brief background, Mr. Jeffs is the ecclesiastical leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints and is currently being prosecuted for child sex abuse in Texas. The charges are related to self-proclaimed “fundamentalist Mormon” practices: specifically polygamy involving the taking of child brides. Mr. Jeffs himself is being prosecuted for the sexual assault of two brides, aged 12 and 15. Legally there are a few angles that Jeffs and his legal teams have tried to take advantage of in defending his acts. Chief among them is the concept of “freedom of religion” guaranteed in the United States Constitution. He and his legal team have also tried to have the presiding judge removed from the case twice before now. All of this, however, was when he actually had a legal team.
In a recent move, Mr. Jeffs took the theatrical route of deciding to represent himself. After having gone through seven lawyers before the trial began, he kicked his carefully selected legal team to the curb right before opening statements. To many of us, this may seem like a risky move, but that’s assuming conventional legal standards and practices. Mr. Jeffs, however, seems to have something quite different in mind. In a move that has Hollywood screenwriters chomping at the bit, Jeffs has started to employ an unconventional legal strategy. Instead of addressing the DNA and testimonial evidence of the prosecution with contradictory evidence or even denial, Jeffs has elected to present different evidence: the direct word of God. This is not the abstract or objective, “look, it’s a sign!” type evidence, either; no, we’re talking actual declarations from the Big man himself. He has filed a formal motion to have the judge overseeing his case removed; this motion is based on a revelation he was granted from God himself. His outbursts in court have also included threatening the jury and other parties with sickness and bodily harm. Well, not threatening them directly, just passing on the message from You Know Who. Furthermore, he appended to his motion a document described as “Exhibit A” which included 29 orders directly from God. If that’s not solid evidence, I don’t know what is.

Clearly these proceedings have proceeded a little off-centre. If I’ve learned anything from TV court proceedings it’s that the opposing legal team must be given the opportunity to independently examine the evidence. If Jeffs’ star witness does manage to come through, good luck to the prosecution. Otherwise, it is my personal prophesy that some prison is about to gain a passionate new preacher.

One Response to “With God as my Witness, and Attorney, and Judge, and Jury…”

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