Patterico's Pontifications

11/4/2009

FLDS Trial of Raymond Jessop

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Law — DRJ @ 11:21 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

The Raymond Jessop trial continues but it may be over soon. On Monday the prosecution presented evidence that Jessop had one legal wife and 8 “celestial” wives:

“Walther allowed jurors to see a Washington County, Utah, marriage certificate for the union of Jessop and Mary J. Musser from Aug. 29, 1994. Prosecutors contend that Musser is Jessop’s legal wife and that he took eight “celestial” wives, including an underage bride who gave birth to his daughter.

Defense attorneys have a keen interest in keeping talk of polygamy out of the trial, as well as evidence to prove the location of the sexual assault their client is accused of.

Under Texas law the age of consent to sex is 17 — unless the underage person is legally married.”

In addition, a prosecution DNA expert witness testified there was 99 percent probability Raymond Jessop is the father of the alleged victim’s child. During cross-examination, the expert was criticized for documented lab errors in 2008 and questioned about the effect of FLDS inbreeding on the DNA results.

In an abbreviated hearing on Tuesday (shortened so jurors could go vote), Texas Rangers recounted the entry and search of the YFZ Ranch that resulted in the confiscation of “boxes and boxes” of family documents, computer equipment, photos, and other evidence. One document recounted the alleged victim’s difficult labor and the decision not to seek medical care because of her age and Warren Jeffs’ legal status.

A computer forensic examiner also testified “about the training and software he used to extract ‘deleted’ information from computers seized in April 2008 at the YFZ Ranch.” The content of the evidence was not revealed.

Finally, Wednesday’s testimony included a UT Law professor who stated Jessop and the alleged victim did not have a legally recognized marriage under Texas law. Wednesday also included an appearance by an ex-member of the FLDS sect who had been married to Warren Jeffs’ father Rulon, the former sect leader. Her testimony was apparently designed to authenticate FLDS documents recovered at the YFZ Ranch and to provide insight into the sect’s inner workings.

The Judge asked the jurors to bring their overnight bags with them Thursday since the case may go to the jury soon. This suggests the defense does not plan to present witnesses or has a limited witness list.

— DRJ

14 Responses to “FLDS Trial of Raymond Jessop”

  1. Thanks for covering this. It’s really in depth and thoughtful.

    Dustin (bb61e3)

  2. While I’m not opposed to polygamy qua polygamy, I do think that the FLDS is Seriously Creepy on a whole lot of levels.

    technomad (0b1234)

  3. I’m also not opposed to polygamy if it’s truly among consenting adults. But the FLDS is worse than creepy, in my opinion. Warren Jeffs ran an operation in which middle aged men were rewarded with young girls, some as young as 12. Even during his trial though, I was undecided for a while if they were really sincere religious people who had different norms than most of the rest of us or a bunch of abusers. In the end I came to think the worst of them.

    mikeb302000 (6127bb)

  4. Don’t know FLDS jargon but LDS “Doctrines and Covenants” read ‘telestial’ not ‘celestial’, or so I remember.

    Joseph Smith had some 14 such and was the central cause of his arrest(some wifes were already so occupied).

    Jailed, someone snuck him a pistol, with which he started the gun play gut-shooting a deputy. As he tried to exit by a second floor window, a man on horse back terminated the prophet.

    gary gulrud (75a696)

  5. Don’t know FLDS jargon but LDS “Doctrines and Covenants” read ‘telestial’ not ‘celestial’, or so I remember.

    Joseph Smith had some 14 such and was the central cause of his arrest(some wifes were already so occupied).

    Jailed, someone snuck him a pistol, with which he started the gun play gut-shooting a deputy. As he tried to exit by a second floor window, a man on horse back terminated the prophet.

    Smith received the revelation that polygamy was “God’s will” when his house keeper turned up preggers …

    quasimodo (4af144)

  6. I understand the defense’s interest in keeping polygamy out of the trial. But it seems to me that the marriage license had to go in; in order to prove its case the prosecution has to be able to demonstrate the absence of a legal marriage.

    Her testimony was apparently designed to authenticate FLDS documents recovered at the YFZ Ranch

    Any more word on what the documents were?

    aphrael (73ebe9)

  7. Obviously, it is creepy but the massive law enforcement abuses that went in to getting the evidence makes me very wary of wanting a conviction.

    CAL (9dbc16)

  8. gary gulrud – You may be right about the telestial-celestial discrepancy. I was basing this on the reporter’s account but that would be an easy distinction for the reporter to miss in court.

    aphrael – I’m sorry my post wasn’t clear on that point. Apparently there have been no deleted computer records offered at trial – yet – but there have been many other documents offered/admitted. Click on the Wednesday link for more details but basically the sect kept detailed records of marriages and births.

    The former wife of Rulon Jeffs who testified Wednesday explained records were kept because men who married multiple wives earned extra points in heaven, but they would not get credit in heaven without accurate earthly records (which may be why brides are referred to as celestial or telestial brides). She also testified the Eldorado FLDS records were consistent with what FLDS records typically look like. Thus, IMO her testimony suggested the records would be reliable evidence of marriages and births and, in effect, authenticated them.

    DRJ (dff2ca)

  9. DRJ – That makes very liitle sense. God needs earthly records to reward someone in Heaven? It sounds like this is more a record of rewards granted by the leadership of the church.

    (Understand I am not criticizing your comments but the theology these folks are espousing.)

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  10. DRJ: thank you. That makes sense to me as a means of authentication.

    I’m troubled by deleted computer records, however. I mean, sure, as a computer guy, I can rescue some information from computers, but I’m not sure that a jury is really going to be competent to tell whether or not the data I extracted that way was legitimate.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  11. Thanks, DRJ.

    Now we have actual evidence presented in open court. I hope this guy enjoys his new same-sex wives in a new compound. Lots and lots of same-sex partners who present no age issues. From what I hear, even consent isn’t an issue!

    Ed from SFV (4b493e)

  12. Aphrael – What would be illegitimate about the recovery of deleted files? IANAL (thank you allah) so maybe there is extra authentication required, like having the tech testify as to what was done to recover the deleted files?

    JD (8a886b)

  13. aphrael,

    Maybe the testimony was offered to show something was deleted while the raid was occurring? If so, then it would be offered for the fact that things were deleted, not the content of what was deleted.

    DRJ (dff2ca)

  14. Wow! Nine total wives. Eight of them must have it soft.

    /ducks/

    daleyrocks (718861)


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