Friday, May 29, 2009

The State of Utah Replies to Warren Jeffs Supreme Court Appeal (UPDATED)

Parallels to the Parlay Dutson case would seem not to apply, as Warren's attorney's consented to the seating of a new juror. In Parlay's case, the compromised juror was allowed to complete deliberations.
I find this language to be the most interesting:
The Plural Life - "The state has finally filed a response to Warren Jeffs’ Utah Supreme Court appeal. It will be months before we know whether the court will hear the case.

The state’s 84-page brief makes these points. Point 13 is interesting because of what happened yesterday in the case of Parley Dutson.

1. Elissa Wall expressed lack of consent to sexual contact with Allen Steed when she 'repeatedly and tearfully begged [Warren Jeffs] and Rulon, in Jeffs' presence, not to make her marry at age 14 or marry her first cousin.

2. Elissa expressed lack of consent when she later told Jeffs Steed was touching her in ways that made her uncomfortable and that she wanted to be released from the marriage.

3. Because of her age, she could not legally consent to sexual relations.

4. Jeffs held a position of 'near-absolute authority over Elissa.'

5. Together, those elements made Jeffs an accomplice to her subsequent rape.

'In other words, while Jeffs himself may not have had non-consensual sex with Elissa, and while Jeffs may not have specifically intended that Allen forcibly rape her, everything Jeffs did ensured that Allen would have non-consensual sex with Elissa.'

'The statute requires only that Jeffs intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly solicited, requested, commanded, encouraged, or intentionally aided Allen to have non-consensual sex with Elissa.' "
The reply excludes the idea that Warren "intentionally or knowingly" "requested, commanded, encouraged or intentionally aided Allen to have non-consensual sex with Elissa." What's left is "recklessly."


If Allen did not have "non consensual sex" with Elissa, then if Warren is doubted to have "intention" or have "encouraged" or "requested" or "commanded" or knowingly done any of the preceding, then he can only have "recklessly" encouraged it. The case hangs on the idea that Warren created an environment for rape, and then the rape happened. That alone makes my skin crawl as a concept, as it makes us play God, knowing men's hearts, but be that as it may, it's the only thing left.

Suppose that Allen is acquitted. There was no lack of consent. The majority of the statute does not apply and we are left with only the "reckless" part. Granted it could still be said that Warren was "reckless." I think he probably knows that legally, he would be considered as "reckless" now, but did he really know then? It would be as if they saw Warren driving drunk, and convicted him of murder, when no one was even injured. I understand the principle, he basicly is said to have pointed a gun into the dark and fired off blind shots, convinced he was doing no harm, and I get that, really, I do.

But it's not murder unless he connects. It's something else.

(UPDATE) It would be my thought that it can be no crime if Allen is not convicted for these reasons. What Warren is expressing in speech and thought is protected speech. He CAN believe that it is proper for a young lady to marry at 14. That is his right. He MAY express that belief as part of both free speech rights, and his right of religious freedom.

Does Utah and this country say that Warren may NOT believe as he clearly believes? He may not express that belief? Ultimately if Allen is not convicted and Warren's conviction is upheld, then it's probable that this law will wholly or partially be set aside on constitutional grounds.

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