Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Case goes to Jury, Location continues to be an issue (UPDATED)

Both sides have rested their cases. (UPDATED- VERDICT = GUILTY).
The Abilene Reporter-News - "The jury will return at 9:30 a.m. today to hear closing arguments from the defense and prosecution, and then jurors will deliberate on the verdict.

Attorneys and 51st District Judge Barbara Walther had spent the day looking at documents to establish Jessop was at the YFZ Ranch at the time of the alleged offense."
Apparently, more that in the other cases, the location of Merril is in doubt. Most of the silence coming out of San Angelo yesterday has to do with the Judge, Prosecution and Defense looking at documents.

The way this story is phrased, is puzzling. I would have thought that if there was any doubt, the defense would have speculated loudly in open court to the effect that the prosecution "couldn't prove it," "it" being where Mr. Jessop was. Much has been made in the past among FLDS detractors that location wasn't an issue, but it now seems hugely clear, that it is.

Do I think this will matter? Not really. It would seem that the defense is relying on Judge Walther to rule to dismiss charges if there is clear evidence that Merril was not there. Walther, I am convinced, would rule that Merril Jessop was there even if he had time stamped pictures sent by certified letter from Kenya showing that he was there hunting Water Buffalo around and about August 20th, 2006.

The FLDS has been all along, stacking issues up for appeal, both thin and strong. Essentially the strategy is to impeach Walther and/or the evidence later with minor emphasis on things like Grand Jury/Jury racial composition.

The case has gone to the jury. I'm not holding out any hope for Walther ruling Merril (and therefore his "underage bride") weren't in Texas during conception. I wouldn't be surprised if the jury returns before lunch, with a guilty verdict (turned out to be 12:30pm).

According to KCSG's 9:49 AM EDT version of the story, closing arguments will be today and are probably are taking up a good portion of the morning if not all of it.
"The prosecution and defense rested their cases Tuesday in the trial of Merril Leroy Jessop. The jury (returned this) morning to hear closing arguments from the defense and prosecution, and then jurors will deliberate on the verdict."
Judge Walther did not allow a CPS worker to testify in front of the jury regarding the level of fear that had been created among the FLDS. A CPS worker testified away from the jury about how children were taken from their mothers.

If the testimony is emotionally loaded in favor of the prosecutions case, such as testimony from Rebecca Musser, the Jury hears it, if it is loaded in favor of the defendant. (You guessed it!)

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