Fredrick Merril Jessop was a very bad man, and a very bad man was he.
The San Angelo Standard-Times - "When his eligibility date arrived, the parole board already had voted against releasing (Merril Jessop).But:
"The parole panel voted in October against releasing Jessop, Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles spokesman Harry Battson said. Such pre-emptive actions are not uncommon."Merril's crime, you know, the thing he was convicted of doing?
"Fredrick Merril Jessop, 76, is serving a 10-year sentence, which along with the $10,000 fine levied against him is the maximum penalty for the third-degree felony of performing an illegal ceremony."A third degree felon is in essence an "accessory before the fact," Merril is said to have "said words" that motivated others to commit felonies. He had an opinion. He expressed it. He didn't cause anyone to do anything, that is anything for which he is imprisoned.
The FIRST Amendment to the US Constitution?
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."I frequently cite and quote Wikipedia though I have deep issues and differences with them regarding methodology and content. Wikipedia is a supreme example of Hegelian "synthesis" in real life. Whatever most people think is "the truth" according to the Wiki people. This is exacerbated when people with a cause masquerade as hundreds of people and "stuff the ballot box" of synthesis so as to send truth sliding into the ditch.
It thus (oddly) becomes useful to quote Wikipedia or cite them because often it is good to use a source that agrees with you, even though their every inclination is to disagree. It's sorta like the apostle Paul asserting that even heathens know better than to do some things, in his letters to the Corinthians.
The point? Merril is a very bad man from Wikipedia standards*, but you can still glean much from their heavily biased description. Namely, that he doesn't have much, if any, in the way of a criminal past.
He's not eligible for parole again until next year, in October, and he's in jail for an opinion, openly expressed and supposedly stated in our constitution, to be a protected form of speech coupled with a free practice of religion. It would appear that because Merril is in jail and is saddled with a staggering monthly child support bill, that if he ever gets parole, he's going straight back into the hoosegow for contempt. Effectively, he is at 76, being jailed for life for having a constitutionally protected opinion. (Qatar anyone?) At 76, and being jailed now for a while, he may not have the wherewithal to write a large 6 figure check.
When your freedoms are all gone, remember, this is the way they were lost.
*An example: The way the Wikipedia article on Merril is edited/written, we end up with this result: "Merril Jessop (born December 27, 1935) was believed to be the de facto leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church) after its former leader, Warren Jeffs, resigned when he was convicted as an accomplice to rape in 2007..."
Who was convicted of rape? Merril or Warren? A reader might come away with an impression that Merril was. In addition, though it is literally true that Warren was "convicted as an accomplice to rape in 2007," Warren's conviction was overturned, in large part due to the fact that it was later found a star witness had perjured herself. Utah has no plans to retry the case, because a conviction is impossible per the Utah Supreme Court's opinion on the matter.
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