Polygamist offers no opening statement in his rape trial

Dear Readers,

I am glad Judge Barbara Walther did not allow Jeffs to delay his trial by firing his legal team.  If you’ll remember, he did the same thing in Utah/Arizona and his trials were delayed and in Arizona dismissed altogether.  I know Judge Walther will not play games with this alleged religious pedophile. 

Nancy Mereska, President
Stop Polygamy in Canada

Boston Globe

Associated Press / July 29, 2011

SAN ANGELO, Texas – A Texas prosecutor told jurors yesterday that he would present an audio recording of a polygamist sect leader raping a 12-year-old and other evidence showing the 55-year-old impregnated a 15-year-old girl.

The trial of Warren Jeffs on sexual assault charges began shortly after Jeffs fired his high-powered defense team and a judge allowed the ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to defend himself.

But when it came his turn to present an opening statement, Jeffs was mute, sitting silently in his courtroom seat.

Then, as the prosecutor continued to present his case, Jeffs stared off into space, appearing not to pay attention to the proceedings.

“You’ve sat here now for an hour and not said a word,’’ District Judge Barbara Walther said, adding that his continued silence could have “a very bad result.’’

The silence was a sharp contrast to Jeffs’s earlier behavior in court. Then, he spoke for more than 20 minutes, telling the judge he had spent extensive time training his lawyers, but they were not able to present “a pure defense.’’ He then pleaded for more time to prepare the case by himself.

But Walther turned down that request. Jeffs has burned through seven attorneys in six months, and prosecutors complained that his frequent switching of counsel was a delay tactic.

Jeffs’s sect is an offshoot of mainstream Mormonism that contends polygamy brings exaltation in heaven, and followers see him as God’s spokesman. He is accused of sexually assaulting two underage girls at a remote compound in West Texas. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

The surreal day in court began with Jeffs addressing Walther in long and complicated sentences frequently punctuated by awkward pauses when he would stare intently at the floor.

Walther ordered all of Jeffs’s attorneys to remain on as side counsel, but held firm on no further delays.



The Associated Press

Polygamist offers no opening statement in his rape trial

The court said Warren Jeffs may represent himself . The court said
Warren Jeffs may represent himself
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