Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Supreme Questions

A friend of mine attended the Utah Supreme Court appeal hearing yesterday regarding Warren Jeffs' rape-as-an-accomplice conviction. Apparently, Wally Bugden made some compelling arguments against the legitimacy of the charges and convictions. Before I elucidate, I want to make a comment about our sense of justice in America.

I don't really like Shaquille O'Neal. I don't know him at all, although I saw him in a bad movie once. Truth is - I dislike him because he never played for my favorite team. I think that a lot of Americans can build up a similar, simmering hatred for people on the opposing team, or for people who are different. I think that we Americans like to be polarized, and to see things as black-or-white. There is no gray. It is this social phenomenon that makes it easier for us to throw our consciences out of the window and let the end justify the means. We violate our own principles due to our desperate need for victory. It is the necessary drawback of the Jeffersonian polemic model.

Tom Green's unlawful-sex-with-a-minor trial was a media circus. His "wife", Linda (of 17 years), had borne him seven children, and is presumably happily still with him to this day. The complexity of Tom's case was that Linda was "married" to him and impregnated with her first child when she was 13 1/2 years old. Now, back then (circa 1986), marriage in several states was perfectly tolerated at 13, so the question of propriety depends on how you view things and on local history and traditions.

The prosecutors (David Leavitt and Monte Stewart) faced the challenge that so many years had passed since the time of the alleged offense that the statute of limitations had already run. In 1986, the statute was 'eight years from the date of the offense'. At the time of the trial the statute had already been changed to 'four years from the date the offense was reported to law enforcement'. Neither provision could catch Tom, but, since the prosecution was hell-bent on a conviction, it brought in a string of witnesses to testify that they "didn't report the crime" (so that Tom couldn't claim that the statute of limitations clock had already started to run in 1986). The judge cooperated, and, through an amazingly creative contortion of the statutes, Tom was convicted and incarcerated. Today, he his back with his family, even perhaps continuing to do some of the things that got him arrested in the first place. So why won't the prosecutors arrest him again? You already know the answer - POLITICS.

So Wally Bugden argued yesterday that Warren Jeffs was charged with the wrong crime. Instead of arresting him for solemnizing the (void) marriage of a minor to a young man, they arrested him for aiding and abetting a rapist and for abusing his special position of trust as a minister. Bugden made the interesting point that the prosecution had completely omitted at trial to introduce any evidence that Jeffs had coaxed Allen Steed to have non-consensual sex with Elissa Wall. He only encouraged the alleged "victim" to follow through consensually with her marital duties. Based on this, Jeffs cannot be charged either as the rape's actor or as the aider and abettor. Further, Bugden argued that, since no rape conviction was achieved for Steed, the presumed 'rapist', it is absurd to convict Jeffs for having been an accomplice to a rape that has not legally been shown to have occurred.

Now, if it is true that Elissa was coerced against her will at the tender age of fourteen into a monogamous (and non-legal) "marriage" with a young man she did not love, then that is sad. Whoever did the coercing should acknowledge his or her error and make amends. This is one of the many accusations leveled at Warren Jeffs. Bugden apparently also asked if Elissa's family was not eminently more implicated in choreographing the wedding - and why are they not in prison instead?

My point is this - Utah politicians have made great publicity out of demonizing Warren Jeffs and painting him as a perverse, megalomaniacal despot. This was enough to get him on the FBI's 10-most-wanted list. Mormon politicians = good; Polygamists = evil. I wonder if it is that simple. Even if Warren Jeffs is different or eccentric, or even an iron-fisted leader, why does that excuse society in locking him in the stocks and throwing rotten vegetables at him for days? Why is it okay to charge him with a laundry-list of crimes that do not fit his actions? Is he so vile that we must throw truth and justice to the wind and punish him by any means available to us?

I believe that the State's attorneys don't care. I believe that they hate the FLDS and Warren Jeffs so much, that they don't care about following the spirit of the Constitution and good laws. They just want to "get them" at all costs. Why else would they try to get Texas to change its laws just so that it could ensnare the residents of the YFZ Ranch? Why else would they side with the angry enemies of the FLDS and condone Wisan and Lindberg's shameless plundering of the UEP? Maybe we all sleep easily because a reportedly evil man was crucified or tarred and feathered. That is not justice - it is brutality.

Addam Swapp blew up an LDS chapel in 1987. 22 years later, he still sits in a prison with no hope of a parole date. Ironic, wouldn't you say, when the average murderer serves nine years? This all stems from Utah's intense animus against Fundamentalist Mormons and polygamists. Why does the legal system tolerate such barbarism? You already know the answer - POLITICS. I am reminded of the state-sponsored raids and massacres of the early Mormons.

In yesterday's hearing, Chief Justice Christine Durham asked deputy A.G. Laura DuPaix if a Baptist minister should be incarcerated for counseling a member of his congregation to stay with her husband after complaining that she doesn't love or desire him anymore. Bugden wondered if parents who take their 15-year-old daughter in for contraceptives should not also be prosecuted for aiding and abetting non-consensual sex for a minor who legally cannot consent to it.

I pray that the Utah Supremes will see the State's naked malice and bad faith inherent in the Jeffs prosecutions and overturn them. If he really did commit a crime, then charge him with the crimes he truly committed - not some craftily twisted contortion of a wildly inapplicable statute because you hate him. This nation is fixing to undergo a dramatic metamorphosis (see Isaiah's "marvelous work and a wonder"), and such heavy-handed abuses of power might just bite some of the rest of us if we don't look out.

I am sickened when I think back to the remarks of Justice Nehring when he concurred in the Rodney Holm decision. In one of the most pathetic, milque-toast utterances I have ever read, he wrote:

I also suspect that I have not been alone in speculating what the consequences might be, were the highest court in the State of Utah the first in the nation to proclaim that polygamy enjoys constitutional protection. . . . . .

It would be a violation of my oath of office to permit my apprehensions about the public reaction to any ruling of this court to participate in my decision-making effort or to influence in any way my vote on a case. Moreover, I do not intend to suggest that the majority opinion is in any way shaped by fears of a public backlash against sanctioning polygamy.

If this kind of waffling is indicative of how Nehring will rule in Jeffs' case, I fear the worst. I fear also that, if Warren is forced to take his case to the next higher Court, it won't be around by the time he gets there.

Labels

10th Circuit 13th Amendment 14th Amendment 1953 Short Creek Raid 1st Amendment 6th Circuit Abortion Abraham Addam Swapp Admiralty adultery Affordable Care AG - Craig Jones AG - Mark Shurtleff Ahmedinejad Al Sharpton Alan Dershowitz Albert Nock Alex Jones Alina Darger Allen Keate Allen Steed Amnesty Anders Breivik Andrew Napolitano Angela Corey Anteater Anthony Weiner Anti-bigamy Apocalypse Arm of flesh Arnold Schwarzenegger Ashton Kutcher Assad atheism B.C. Supreme Court bailout bailouts Barack Hussein Soetoro Obama Barack Obama Barbie BarefootsWorld.net Belief vs. Practice Ben Bernanke Benghazi Bernie Machen Bestiality Betty Jessop Big Love bigamy Bill CLinton Bill Medvecky Blacks and the Priesthood blood Blood Atonement Bolshevik Revolution Book burning Bountiful Boyd K. Packer Branch Davidians Breitbart Brigham Young Brown v. Herbert Bruce R. McConkie Bruce Wisan Canada Canada Reference Carolyn Jessop Casey Anthony Caylee Anthony Chapter 13 bankruptcy Charles Darwin Charlie Hebdo Charlie Sheen Chick-Fil-A Chief Justice Robert Bauman Child-bigamy Chris Serino Christine Durham Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Church Police Civil War CNN cohabitation collaboration Colonia Lebaron Colorado City Communism Conrad Murray Conservative Constitution Country Music CPS Craig Barlow Craig Jones Creston Crimea crooked judge cultural genocide Czar Nicholas D+C 101 Dallin H. Oaks Dan Cathy Darwin Darwin's Black Box Darwin's Doubt Darwinian Darwinism Darwinists David Boies David Koresh David Leavitt Davis v. Beason DCFS Debra Weyermann decertification Decriminalization Democrat Denise Lindberg Depends Deuteronomy 28 Diaper Disodium Guanylate Disodium Inosinate DNA Doctrine & Covenants DOMA Don't Ask Don't Tell Donald Trump Dr. Drew Pinsky Dr. Seuss Dream Mine Dred Scott Drew Pinsky Drones Edom Edomites Egypt El Baradei Elaine Tyler Eldorado Elijah Abel Elissa Wall Enabling Act Entitlement Ephraim eradication Eric Holder Ernst Zundel escape European Union Eurpoean Bailout Eustace Mullins Evolution Ex Parte extradition Ezra Taft Benson FBI Federal Reserve Felony FEMA camp Feminazi First Amendment Flagellum flatulence FLDS Flora Jessop Florida Flying Circus Food waste fornication Fourteenth Amendment Free-Agency Fundamentalist Mormon Fundamentalist Mormons Gadianton Robbers Gary Herbert Gathering Gay Gay Marriage General Conference genocide George Clooney George W. Bush George Washington George Zimmerman Germany Gerunds Glue-sniffing Gordon B. Hinckley Grant Morrison Greece Greg Abbott GritsForBreakfast Gun-Control guts H1N1 Handbook of Instructions Harry Reid Harvey Hilderbran hatred HB-99 HBO Health Care Reform Heber C. Kimball Hildale Hillary Clinton Hippies Hitler Hoax Holding Out Help Holding Out Hostages Holly Madison Holocaust Homeland Security Homeschooling homosexuality Hoole Hosni Mubarak House of Cards Hubris Hugh Hefner Human Nature Hypocrisy hypocrite Idumea illegal aliens Illegal Ceremony IMF Immigration IN TIME incest Intelligent Design International Monetary Fund Iowa Supreme Court Iran Irony Irrevocable Clause Isaac Jeffs Jacob Zuma Jaimee Grubb James Dobson James Rosen Jamie Dimon Jan Brewer Jane Blackmore Janet Yellen Jeff Ashton Jeff Buhman Jeffs Jerrold Jensen Jerry Sandusky Jesse Barlow Jesus Christ Jew Jim Jones Jimmy Oler Joe Darger Joe Paterno John Boehner John Daniel Kingston John F. Kennedy John H. Koyle John Hyrcanus John Kerry John Singer John Swallow John Taylor Jon Krakauer Jonathan Turley Jonestown Massacre Joni Holm Jose Baez Joseph Compton Joseph Henrich Joseph Smith Joy Behar JP Morgan Chase Jubilee Judea Judge Barbara Walther Judge Bauman Judge Clark Waddoups Judge Dee Benson Judge Donald Eyre Judge James Brady Judge Robert Shelby Judge Terry Christiansen Judge Waddoups Julian Assange June 26th Jury Justice Christine Durham Justice Nehring Justice Robert Bauman Justin Timberlake K Dee Ignatin Kathy Jo Nicholson KD Ignatin keep sweet Keith Dutson Ken Driggs Kendra Keystone Kops kidnapping Kiev Kimberly Conrad Kingston Kirk Torgensen knife Kody Brown Lab rats Lance Armstrong Larry Beall Las Vegas Laura DuPaix Laurie Allen Lavar Christensen Lawrence decision Lawrence v. Texas LDS LDS Church Lehi Police Liberal Liberals library Lifeboat Lindberg Lost Boys Love Times Three Lukumi Lyle Jeffs Main Street Plaza Mancy Nereska Marilyn Monroe Mark E. Petersen Mark Shurtleff marriage license Marxist Mary Batchelor Merrianne Jessop Merril Jessop Michael Behe Michael Dorn Michael Jackson Michael Zimmerman middle-class Migraine Relief Mike de Jong Mike Noel military miscegenation missionaries Mitt Romney Modern Pharisee Monkeys monogamy Monosodium Glutamate Monty Python Mormon Mormon Church Mormon Matters MSG Mubarak murder Muslim polygamy Musser Nancy Pelosi Naomi Jeffs Natalie Malonis National Debt National Enquirer Natra-Bio natural selection Nazi Next Generation Ninth Circuit Nobel Peace Prize Norway NSA Obacle Obama Obamacare Obaminacare obesity Occupy Wall Street Oligarchy Open Marriage Orrin Hatch Osama Bin Laden Pakistan Palestine Papandreou Paris France Parker Douglas patriarchy Paul Murphy Paul Ryan pharaoh Planets Planned Parenthood Playboy mansion plural marriage polyamory polygamist polygamous polygamous grouping polygamous sect polygamy polygamy reference Polygamy Task Force Predictor Presbyterian Presidential Election promotional video Promulgate Prophecy Proposition 8 Prostitute Protection of Marriage Punk'd Quantitative Easing race card Rand Paul rape Raymond Jessop Reassignment Recession Reconciliation Relief Mine Religion religious test Rep. John Lewis Rep. Mike Noel Resurrection Revelation 18:3 Reynolds decision Richard Dawkins Richard Nixon Rick Santorum Rights riots Robert Mueller Rocky Ridge Rodney Holm Rodney King Roe v. Wade Ron Paul Rothschild Rozita Swinton Ruby Ridge Rulon Allred Russia Safety Net Salmonella Samaria San Angelo Sargon Sarin Saudi Arabia Schleicher County Sean Reyes Seattle Second Amendment Senator Kevin Van Tassell Shalmaneser Shannon Price Shoshana Grossbard Shutdown Siamese Signature in the Cell Silsby Silvio Berlusconi Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Sister Wives skin color Slippery Slope Socialism Sonny Hostin Soviet Union Spencer W. Kimball Star Trek Stars Stephanie Colgrove Stephen C. Meyer Steven Conn stimulus Stromberg-Stein Survival Suspect Class Swine Flu Syria Tapestry Teen pregnancy Temple Teresa Jeffs termites Texas Texas CPS Texas FLDS Texas Rangers The Fall of Reynolds Theodore Olson Thirteenth Amendment Thomas S. Monson Thurgood Marshall Tiger Woods Timothy Geithner Timothy McVeigh Titanic Tito Valdez TLC Todd Shackelford Tom Green Tonia Tewell Trace Gallagher tracting Trayvon Martin trickle-down economics Trip-Wire Trust TSA twins TxBluesman Tyranny U.S. Bankruptcy. Franklin D. Roosevelt U.S. Supreme Court UEP UEP Trust Ukraine Uncommon Dissent Uniform Commercial Code Universe University of Oslo usury Utah Utah A.G. Utah Amendment 3 Utah Attorney General's Safety Net Utah bigamy statute Utah Legislature Utah Supreme Court Vera Black Vermont Vladimir Putin Waco Wally Bugden Wally Oppal Warburg Warren Jeffs weapon words Wendell Nielsen Whistleblowers Wilford Woodruff William Dembski William E. Jessop Willie Jessop Winston Blackmore Wisan Woodrow Wilson Worf WTC 7 Xenarthra Yams YFZ YFZ Raid YFZ Ranch Zombies