Sunday, June 13, 2010

What Just Happened with Warren Jeffs (and is Sun Tsu smiling?)

I promised "more" later. This will be a long post, as I will quote all the motions and filings made in the last week. They're short, but there are a few of them. The press is neglecting to mention their content and therefore their meaning.

First, Matt Smith's motion to dismiss, With Prejudice, which I shall "Fisk."
"The State of Arizona, by the Mohave county Attorney, hereby moves the Court for an order dismissing the Two Counts of Sexual Conduct with a Minor in cause number CR-20078-0743 and the Two Counts of Sexual Conduct with a Minor in cause number CR-2007-0953, all the charges being Class 6 Felonies, for the reason that the two victims in these cases no longer desire to proceed with prosecution in the State of Arizona for the following reasons:

(1) The Defendant has already served more jail time in Arizona than he would receive even if he was convicted of all the crimes charged;"
Correct me on this first point (someone) if I am wrong, but this goes back to February when Judge Steven Conn first uttered these words. (I'm not wrong about the preceding, but may be wrong about what comes next): As we will later learn from these filings, Warren Jeffs was only in the physical custody of the State of Arizona, he was actually being housed in Arizona, for convenience of prosecution.

This would mean that when Judge Conn stated that Warren had already served enough time (back in February), he was taking rather proactive stance, choosing to regard time served (in legal fact) in the Custody of Utah, as time served in Arizona. This put a lot of pressure on Arizona since before they would have been able to imprison Warren for whatever length of time he was sentenced, provide he was convicted in Arizona. Something that will now never happen.

If true, Judge Conn had clearly signaled Arizona that he thought their case was something he didn't want to step on in his new shoes in their "hate plig barnyard." Put another way, Judge Conn was disgusted with the prosecution and had already begun to take sides. This is a drift you can see if you start at the beginning of the public filings at Mohave County's site, and read through them.

This is rather significant stuff for another reason, as yesterday's highly slanted article in TIME magazine inadvertently lets us know:
"In June 2005, days after being indicted in Arizona on the charges of being an accomplice to sexual conduct with a minor, Jeffs fled the Colorado City, Arizona, area, home to a large FLDS community. A warrant was issued for his arrest and he was placed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list. Fourteen months later, he was arrested outside Las Vegas, Nevada, and began his journey from court to court and jail to jail."
These are the "Crown Jewel" charges. The charges that led to Warren Steed Jeffs being placed on the FBI's ten most wanted list. There were no crimes, they have all been dismissed. These last two cases with prejudice, as requested by the prosecutor.
(2) "The State of Texas has much more serious charges against the Defendant that involve the Defendant being the direct perpetrator of the crime, and both Texas and the victims want the Defendant to face these more serious charges as soon as possible;"
This is the purest of spin. It's ugly too. I have stated (and will stick by it) that if we were the proverbial mouse in the corner, the conversation instead, went like this:

Matt (to the witnesses/complainants): "You're unbelievable."

Complainants: "Why thanks Matt."

Elissa: (Winks) "And I'm back on the market, I changed my Facebook Status to 'Single.' Want a signed copy of my book?"

Matt: "It's not a compliment, I'm dismissing the charges and won't file them again. I never want to SEE you again."

Complainants: "You can't drop they charges, we're dropping the charges, um, because, um, Texas wants Warren, and um, that's what we want, um, MORE, yeah, that's the ticket."

Matt: "I was hoping you'd say that, now get out."

(Ok, I filled in a few blanks, but you get my drift.)

Next point 3:
"The State of Texas has already started extradition proceedings against the Defendant;"
Um, Warren isn't in the custody of Arizona. Oh well, this is probably proof that Matt is a good lawyer, and knows who he is working for, he's going to try.
(4) "The Defendant, Warren Jeffs, had significant medical problems while incarcerated in the Mohave County Jail, and the State believes that he should be transferred to another facility as soon as possible;"
This smacks of sour grapes. But it's true Captain Obvious, if Arizona is not going to prosecute, it's time to stop spending money on everything but safe and secure transport, ASAP.
(5) "Some of the State's witnesses no longer desire to testify in the State of Arizona due to the above-mentioned circumstances;"
Um, could this be because they may be pleading the 5th in a related matter very soon?
(6) "It would be impractical and unnecessary to spend taxpayer money on this Defendant under all the above mentioned circumstances;"
Yes, we know, thanks again Captain Obvious.

Now, back to the real Meat of the Motion (Apologies to Henry Glover and Lois Mann):
"The State requests the dismissals in Cause No. CR-2007-0743 and CR-2007-0953 to both be With Prejudice."
Prejudice is "opinion." If Matt had dismissed "Without Prejudice," he would mean he wants to take this up again, but the time is not right. He however, moves to dismiss With Prejudice meaning he never wants to hear about this case again and furthermore, he's asking the Judge Conn to solemnify that opinion, so that no one else can either. Like Texas' evidence collection methods were earlier ruled "Guilty," and Matt concurred, Matt Smith is now saying that Warren is "Not Guilty." Without trial. The motion could delete all the numbered reason Fol-de-Rol in between and just be condensed to this last statement, and the case numbers being dismissed. If Matt wanted to sink Elissa's ship, he could just say she didn't want to testify anymore.
"Defense Attorney, Michael Piccarreta, has been contacted and does not oppose this Motion or Order."


This is significant, because a hearing involving "unbelievable" witnesses was to be held the next day, and Hoole and King (Elissa's representation) were bailing on him. Matt waited until the last minute, just as he did in February, and caved. Good for him. He does work for somebody. He owes them the effort, but he caves completely, just as he did before when the jig is up. Shades of Sun Tsu.  (The General says that best strategy ends up with your opponent, surrendering without a fight.)

There is of course the page attached to this motion, the actual order, which is the real deal, and Judge Conn signs it, but not before removing an offending piece of text:
Upon motion of the Mohave County Attorney, and good cause appearing; IT IS ORDERED dismissing the charges of Two Counts of Sexual Conduct with a Minor in Cause No. CR-2007-0743 and Two Counts of Sexual Conduct with a Minor in Cause No. CR-2007-0953 With Prejudice, and exonerating the bond, if any, and quashing the warrant, if any, in this matter. SFC (initialed strike out by Judge Steven F. Conn)

Though your Modern Pharisee is not a Judge or Lawyer, this was either superfluous language, or an attempt to remove Judge Conn from the case. Since the court is done with a defendant when the Bond is exonerated, Warren would have been literally afoot in Arizona, with Texas wanting him. Arizona could have then detained him for extradition. At least that's the way I read it. Judge Conn is no dummy and was having none of that. He makes this clear in a separate order:
"The State has filed a Motion to Dismiss in each of these cases asking that all charges be dismissed with prejudice. Counsel for the Defendant, unsurprisingly, has indicated that he has no opposition.

The Court signs the Order Dismissing Charges as to each cause number.

The Court enters this separate Order to address what may appear to be a separate issue regarding extradition to Texas. The Court does so because the State indicates in its Motion to Dismiss that the Sate of Texas has already started extradition proceedings against the Defendant and because counsel for the Defendant has submitted in each of these cases a pleading entitled Non-Waiver of Extradition to Texas. The Court believes that under A.R.S. 31-481, the Interstate Agreement on Detainers, extradition proceedings cannot be initiated against the Defendant while he is in the State of Arizona and that he could not waive extradition to the State of Texas even if he wanted to. Under the Agreement the temporary custody which Mohave County assumed over the Defendant was only for the purpose of permitting prosecution on the charges contained in the untried Indictments which formed the basis of the detainers. Once those untried charges have been resolved, he must be returned to the sending state, in this case the State of Utah, and he cannot be held to answer a Fugitive Complaint filed in the State of Arizona alleging that he is a fugitive from the State of Texas. Any such proceedings will have to be inititiated through the State of Utah.

IT IS ORDERED directing the Sheriff to transport the Defendant back to the appropriate correctional facility in the State of Utah pursuant the Interstate Agreement on Detainers."
Several times, I have read articles that said, while Warren was in Arizona, that he was in custody in Utah, serving a sentence there. Judge Conn seems to be concurring with the notion that Arizona's custody is only physical, and he says, that Warren is on Loan from Utah, and he has to go back, per the Law. Warren can't even opt to waive extradition to Texas. That's a Utah decision, as they have had him all along, legally. Again, I point to the curiosity that Judge Conn said Warren had already served enough time in Arizona.

According to the Judge, apparently, Warren was serving it in Utah. It is not unprecedented that inmates in one State, serve that time while physically in another State. I will omit Piccarreta's filing about extradition, it's redundant in view of the Judge's concurrence. It is linked in the above ruling by Judge Conn.

Next, Michael Piccarreta's last word:
"Defendant, Warren Jeffs, does not object to any dismissal provided it is with prejudice. Defendant does object to some of the reasons provided by the State as the State has directly omitted the fact that one of the complaining witnesses has been implicated in the creation of false evidence that was introduced at Mr. Jeffs' trial in Utah. In addition to involvement in the creation of the false evidence, the complaining witness and others may have been involved in an ongoing cover-up and conspiracy."
Now we're talking. Is Judge Conn a member of the "Tin Foil Hatters" by allowing this on his record without comment? He took umbrage at Matt Smith's Faux Filings, he takes none here. Piccarreta clears his throat for the FLDS and for Warren Jeffs and states for the record that there probably is conspiracy involved. Who and what this conspiracy involves, that's a matter to be discovered, but there is a conspiracy.
"Defendant believes that the prosecution was ethically obligated to dismiss the cases with prejudice and believes that the prosecutor fulfilled his ethical duties by so doing. An additional reason for the dismissal was that there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction in either of the cases especially in light of recent developments. Defendant has and will oppose any attempts to extradite him to the State of Texas due to the constitutional infirmities and the legal inadequacy that may occur in the Texas criminal justice system."
This is Piccarreta saying "Thanks Matt," and "Nice Try."
"Further, due to the ongoing religious intolerance and religious animosity direct toward the Fundamental Church of Latter Day Saints by the State of Texas, the fairness of the Texas criminal justice process cannot be assured."
"There ain't no Justice" (TANJ) in Texas, they're religious bigots up to the level of the Statehouse. Well, that's the way I read it.
"There are additional legal and factual inadequacies in these cases against Mr. Jeffs which defendant beleives led to their dismissal with prejudice, but the defendant supports the County Attorney's decision in fulfilling his ethical duties and obligations in dismissing these prosecutions.

No really, thanks Matt, have a nice day.

What really happened? The lead cases that led to Warren's inclusion on the FBI's 10 most wanted list have now completely collapsed. Frankly I don't know of any Fugitive on that list, that when apprehended, was not convicted (barring their death before prosecution). It's an odd category, and I'll have to research it, but it seems unprecedented or at least rare to me.

That collapse is directly tied to Warren's "successful" prosecution in Utah. Elissa Wall wants him in Texas, for dang sure. She might escape or delay perjury charges in Utah if Warren is busy in Texas. Warren is going to back to Utah, and this matter will be continued there, even if we are delayed in knowing the truth because Arizona threw the case over the side to protect her.

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