Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Arizona Judiciary doesn't buy it.

"No, no, we're not going to use the evidence at YFZ." That is Arizona's position, but they keep LOOKING at it. One of the reasons behind taking multiple DNA swabs from Veda Keate's children in Texas may have been to establish a second superficially untainted trail to the evidence outside that seized in the raid. How did they know who to swab? Similarly, how will Arizona know where to look for evidence? This is still fruit of the poison tree, but a sham trail is being established to that fruit.

If you were under legal scrutiny and concerned that something you did could at least be made to look bad, would you let the government come and go in your house, look through all your mail and your sock drawers, paw through your diaries and checking accounts and generally disrupt your life for 6 months? Um...no. If they end up not using the evidence they're going to use it to look for other evidence. This is why there are rules about collecting evidence not willingly turned over. The court it seems, is now waking up to it's responsibility in this matter.

The Deseret News - "(Warren Jeffs') criminal defense attorneys also say they don't buy Arizona prosecutors' assertions that they won't use evidence seized in the April raid on the FLDS Church's YFZ Ranch in Texas.

'The court is concerned that perhaps the state for now will want to reserve its options, not commit itself one way or the other as to whether it intends to use any of the Texas evidence and only make that decision at some time in the future,' Mohave County Superior Court Judge Stephen Conn wrote in an Oct. 23 order released Monday.

'The problem with the latter possibility is that the court and the defendant have the right to know now rather than later whether the state intends to use the Texas evidence at trial'."

Thanks for that, the defendant has rights. It cannot be that at the last possible moment Arizona suddenly says "I think we'll use that evidence now" placing an unreasonable burden on Warren Jeffs' defense and their strategies. What the court doesn't touch on is the fact that both Arizona and Texas are mining the evidence that could very well be thrown out, to find other paths to prosecution that appear legitimate. Paths they would have had no knowledge of, except that they looked at evidence illegally seized. This is why I brought up Veda Keate.

" 'Given the extraordinary extent of these coordinated prosection (sic) efforts, the court may understand the defendant's reluctance to accept the state's assurance that those efforts, designed specifically to obtain evidence against him and others, will have no bearing on the current criminal proceedings,' (Richard) Wright and (Michael) Piccarreta wrote.

The judge said that unless a deal is struck between prosecutors and Jeffs' defense team, he may have to rule on the legality of the search in Texas.

'How the latter determination would be made is difficult to fathom,' Conn wrote."

The judge clearly doesn't want to "go there" but the prosecution is forcing his hand and he's warning them. What he's warning them is that he anticipates a strong possibility of ruling against the use of such evidence. Then we have the thorny problem of looking at what Arizona has collected and used and seeing if they have also used that evidence to find other supposedly "untainted" evidence. That would be decidedly "no fair" and the prosecution's case would start to fall apart over the issue of not being able to unscramble their evidence omelet.

It was disturbing to watch FLDS members sign "family service plans" that would later be used against them, and to prolong CPS involvement in their lives. Those families may ultimately escape the worst consequences of those actions, but Warren IMHO opinion should NOT make a deal with the prosecution as FLDS families and their attorneys repeatedly have. He'll end up in jail for the rest of his life. It would appear the imprisonment already threatens his sanity.

"Jeffs' lawyers have complained of difficulty in getting interviews with Texas authorities. They also expressed frustration that a woman connected with one of the cases refused to meet with them. In another filing in one of the Jeffs cases, the attorneys did file notice that they had scheduled an interview next month with ex-FLDS member and anti-polygamy activist Flora Jessop."

My guess is that the judge will permit all interviews eventually.

If the judge ends up ruling on the evidence he starts a cascade effect. Either he rules against it and that becomes a precedent for use in Texas or he rules against it and sets up an appeal. He really doesn't want to go there. That's why he wants a "deal." WARREN, DON'T MAKE THAT DEAL.

Sphere: Related Content


kbp said...

"...Either he rules against it and that becomes a precident for use in Texas "

I do not see it as a precedent, but it could surely be a good road map.

I like how you point out the way this mess leads to "fruits...".

The Pharisee said...

Technically no, it's not a precedent in Texas if so ruled in Arizona, but it becomes hard to use evidence ruled out in one venue because of it's illegal origin and not have that issue surface in another jurisdiction.

The fact that Arizona ruled against the evidence as tainted will influence all the cases either as they are handled or in the appeals process.