Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Will there ever be a trial? Judge G. Rand Beacham wanders away from the problem.

After taking an overly long time to decide what should be a simple matter, the Judge in the Allen Glade Steed (could be a rape) case, punts. Or maybe it's a "mulligan." In addition, the Judge seems to put the game into continuous overtime, as he specifies no time limit.

I have decided to "Fisk" the order:
"Having studied the memoranda supporting and opposing Defendant's 'Motion to Dismiss for Statute of Limitations,' the Court finds it necessary to require the parties to submit supplemental memoranda to clarify the facts before the Court for the following reasons:

1. Defendant's original memorandum contains fact statements in 23 paragraphs and subparagraphs, many of which contain multiple sentences. Many of those statements are made without reference to any evidentiary source."
I'm not sure entirely what Judge Beacham wants of Allen, though perhaps someone could enlighten me. How is it that you deny an event with evidence that the accuser can only give a "range" of times as candidates for the date the offense took place?

I passed through that section of southwestern Utah on multiple occasions during that rough time frame. On some days I have an ironclad evidentiary alibi. I can prove from California DMV records that I wasn't in Utah on certain days, but on other days, I can't. I would expect the innocent to be vague on when it was that they didn't do something.
2. "Plaintiff's opposing memorandum contains statements of fact in five paragraphs and Attachment A, for which some sources are cited but not provided to the Court. For example, Plaintiff refers repeatedly to a trial transcript as '9/19 Tr/.,' followed by numbers, but the transcript pages have not been provided to the Court. In addition, Attachment A contains references to unexplained 'facts,' such as 'the incident at the park' which is not otherwise explained."
Frankly, I have seen a lot of what appears to be "classroom" cheating in these cases, such as getting to look at someone else's paper. It would seem to me that Elissa wants Allen to be specific, before she is. Understandably, if I were Allen, the accused, I'd want to see specific dates and times before I started trying to prove I wasn't in town every day of the week, except for Thursday, and then suddenly, Elissa has a "recollection" that the "crime" occurred on May 10th, 2001. She's the accuser, let her pony up with some specifics.
3. "Both parties have also referred to additional facts within their legal arguments, some of which are not supported by any evidentiary source before the Court.

Although the Court has attempted to analyze the statue of limitations issue on the basis of the facts as they have been presented, the Court's analysis has been hampered by insufficient clarity in the facts as presented. For example, the memoranda disagree as to when the alleged rape took place, a fact critical to the statute of limitations issue."
"Both parties" really means "one party." That one party being Elissa Wall/the Prosecution (or "it"). Essentially Ms. Wall cannot remember exactly what happened, and not surprisingly, Mr. Steed cannot remember specifics to counter such a vague recollection on her part. If Elissa cannot remember with clarity, in essence, Judge Beacham has enough to rule already. Namely, enough to rule that the Statute has expired, otherwise he'd rule that her vague set of dates falls within the statute and that her vague recollections surrounding the rape represent a "preponderance of evidence," sufficient to bring charges, but not sufficient to determine guilt. At trial, the standard would be "beyond a reasonable doubt." Judge Beacham has stated clearly that as yet, Ms. Wall's accusation, is not believable.

As to Allen? Like I said, when you don't know what you're being accused of, you can't exactly deny it. He's not believable either, but for entirely different reasons. He's grasping at air. Nail something down and he might be a witness as unassailable as the rock of Gibraltar.

I cannot emphasize enough that Judge Beacham is trying to disguise the fact that Elissa Wall hasn't made a case that she was raped and reported that rape in a timely way, based only on "preponderance" standards. He has also made it clear that Allen has raised a credible point as to the time frame already.
"Defendant asserts that 'Mr. Steed is accused of only one count of rape which is alleged to have been committed more than 4 years before the legislative extension took effect on May 2, 2005.' [Defendant's Memorandum, p. 10, emphasis in the original.] Plaintiff states that it intends to proceed on 'the first time Mr. Steed had sexual intercourse with Elissa Wall' and asserts that 'the first act of sexual intercourse occurred before May 12, 2001 but no earlier than May 4, 2001.'* [Plaintiff's memorandum, p.2.]

* (The Information alleges that the crime was committed "between April 14, 2001 and September 30, 2004.)
I can't be sure what is being said here, other than one set of facts say the "crime" may have occurred in April 2001, as early as the 14th, and another range of dates says it may have occurred between May 2nd, 2001 and May 12th, 2001. The legislative extension on reporting, passed on May 2nd 2005. If I understand this right, a "rape" date of April 14th, 2001-May 1st, 2001 (remember there is only one count) puts the "crime" outside the reporting dates for the "extended" statute. Crimes occurring 4 years prior to the "extension" are taken in by the "extension." Crimes more than 4 years prior, are not.
"The court is required to determine by a preponderance of evidence whether this prosecution is barred. Utah Code Ann. § 76-1-306. Consequently, the Court must be able to weigh the evidence, and that requires greater clarity than what has been provided to this point in time.**

Ideally the parties would present a stipulated set of facts , set forth in chronological order. If that is not possible in this case, the Court will require that each party submit his/its comprehensive statement of facts, in chronological order and with citations to evidentiary sources."

** (I suspect that one reason for this is the parties' familiarity with the history of and the testimony given in State v. Jeffs, of which this Court has virtually no knowledge.)
And so the Judge begs off and says "I don't know your prior case and you haven't made one here, go back and make one." Elissa.

Again, I would observe that the Judge is stating between the lines that Ms. Wall and the prosecution have NOT made a "preponderance" presentation that convinces him a crime took place within the reporting framework of the statute. So they get a second chance to do so. A second chance with no due date.

What if Allen holds off and makes no "comprehensive" statement of facts? Will Elissa ever do so? What if she holds off? What the Judge is doing seems to be casting this case into the void, that is, unless the trial proceeds now because the Defendant's motion is "no longer under advisement."

If one or the other party speedily files a chronology and then goes back to the court to compel a ruling, will the Judge rule on one set of facts, absent the other? Here is the order:

"Accordingly it is hereby ORDERED:

A. Each party shall submit a supplemental memorandum containing only his/its comprehensive statement of facts related to the statute of limitations issue, in chronological order and with citations to evidentiary sources.

B. Each party shall also submit documentation of the evidentiary source cited for each statement of fact.

C. When each party has submitted the required statement of facts and documentation, one of them shall file a request to submit for decision.

D. Defendant's Motion will no longer be under advisement until the Court receives the supplemental memoranda, documentation and request to submit in compliance with this order.

DATED this 26 day of March, 2010.

No doubt some will crow that Allen's motion has been "thrown out." What I see is that unless a trial date is now set, this is a big and infinite stall. Personally, if I were Allen, I wouldn't file my set of facts, until I knew Elissa had filed hers. I'd be afraid she'd look over my shoulder, and cheat off my paper.

Sadly, it would seem that we're now playing a game of who goes first again, with Warren Jeffs' trial now put off for 7 months.

Or maybe something will happen with the Lamont Barlow interview that sabotages everything, in Warren's favor. Ruling in Allen's favor right now, might just crack the jail cell door open for Mr. Jeffs.

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I_hate_bigots said...

I doubt there will ever be a trial. The judge is probably waiting until a major even happens, so this case will not make the news.

He's probably also waiting for the SC of Utah's decision on Warren's case. (When will it be released?)

As for AZ case, the judge is probably doing Warren a favor by keeping him in AZ. Once the case is dropped, he will be sent to Texas for trial.

The Pharisee said...

Judge Beacham, IMHO is waiting for someone else to go first, so his decision doesn't affect the process.

This is why I have said (more behind the scenes than in public) that the FLDS are being FOOLISH to think that they will win on appeal, even though they ought to win on appeal.

Judges are people and can be influenced. Warren Jeffs is the equivalent of a pedophile vampire/monster in the minds of most people, a sort of "sexual Hitler" running concentration camps where the innocence of young girls is mercilessly immolated.

Would you want to be the judge that released a monster? To me, Judge Beacham doesn't have the sand to do the right thing, so he has apparently put it off indefinitely.

In what clearly should be a ruling AGAINST the prosecution, namely, a declaration that the alleged crime WASN'T reported in a way that makes it the business of the state what went on between Elissa and Allen, he ducks out the back and in essence, rules against Allen, by setting no time limit, or by making him give Elisa a road map.

Think of it this way. Unless I've missed something, or Brooke Adams has missed something, he just let the air out of the motion made by Steeds attorney by saying "whenever you guys get around to it."

He's set the bar for ASKING for a ruling to be a motion made by ONE of the parties AFTER they file a detailed chronology.

If Allen files a detailed chronology and reveals his hard evidence for that chronology, I promise you, it will find it's way into Elissa's hands, and her lawyers, and they will file a reasonable sounding proof based on already knowing what Allen will say.

He should have had them file some sort of sealed chronologies by a deadline, or better yet, acknowledged what he acknowledges between the lines. That Elissa can't prove that a "rape eligible" event occurred between her and Allen, and was reported by her, in a timely fashion.

Namely, the Judge should have ruled that Elissa hasn't charged Allen, with anything.

So Judge Beacham throws this trash out there, and counts on few if any, noticing.