Prosecutors respond to Jeffs' motion to remand

Warren Jeffs

Warren Jeffs

KINGMAN - Paperwork continues to fly back and forth between Warren Jeffs' attorneys, the court and the Mohave County Attorney's Office.

On Friday, the MCAO responded to a motion made by Jeffs' attorneys to remand the case back to the grand jury.

Jeffs' attorneys argued that the prosecutor did not properly question jurors as to how much media coverage about Jeffs and the situation they had been exposed to.

The attorneys also argued that the prosecutor failed to give the jurors the legal definition of accomplice.

They also stated that the prosecutor presented false, misleading and prejudicial evidence about Jeffs and his religious beliefs to the grand jury and left out evidence that might have been exculpatory.

They also said the prosecutor improperly tried to control and direct the grand jury investigation by discouraging the grand jury from pursuing charges against Allen Steed, one of the men who was allegedly married to one of the women involved in the case.

The County Attorney's Office has asked the court to deny Jeffs' attorney's motion to remand the case back to a grand jury.

In its motion, the office states that jurors were questioned about their exposure to media coverage of the Jeffs case. The office also points out that the case was presented to the grand jury before Jeffs' trial in Utah started.

The MCAO did admit in its response, "It is also true that the State did not conduct extensive individual Voir Dire of the grand jurors."

However, grand jurors were asked if they had read or seen anything about Jeffs and they were asked not to discuss anything they had read or seen about Jeffs with any other grand juror.

Two jurors were dismissed shortly after when they responded that because of something

they had read or seen they would not be able to be impartial.

"The fact that two of the grand jurors specifically admitted that they could not be fair and impartial based on what they had heard about the case shows that the grand jurors obviously heard and listened to what the prosecutor presented to them," the MCAO states in its response.

The MCAO also states in its response that the prosecutor directing the grand jury gave the legal description of "accomplice." The MCAO also argues that the prosecutor did not present misleading evidence and did not leave out exculpatory evidence during his presentation to the grand jury.

Witness

testimony

A witness said during the grand jury hearing that Steed and the woman Jeffs allegedly married him to were first cousins. The witness did not specify that the two are first cousins of half-blood.

The MCAO points out that this is now a moot point since the court has dismissed the incest counts against Jeffs.

The MCAO argues that the witness was also correct in saying that Jeffs could not legally perform marriages in Nevada, Arizona or Utah. The marriage was performed in Nevada with a woman who was only 14 years old at the time. Nevada does not allow marriages at that age and there was no marriage certificate, license or blood test.

"If this answer is in fact wrong, it could not have impacted the grand jurors' deliberations because it was not relevant to the any of the issues they had to determine," the MCAO states. "The defendant clearly performed a marriage that was not legal in this case and knew that this marriage was not legal as there was no marriage license or certificate issued."

The MCAO also points out that Jeffs' attorneys base their argument on Arizona Revised Statute, which would have no force in Nevada where the marriage allegedly took place.

The MCAO also argued that any information introduced to the grand jury about Jeffs' religious beliefs or the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was relevant to the charges at hand.

In fact, the prosecutor deliberately told the grand jury not to consider the FLDS religion and the practice of polygamy except were relevant to the case when deciding if to indict Jeffs.

The MCAO's response also states that the prosecutor did not attempt to direct or control the grand jury's investigation. He stated several times during the hearing that the grand jury could investigate Steed if it wished.

The office also pointed out that prosecutors are allowed to ask leading questions of witnesses during a grand jury hearing and that a grand jury only needs to find probable cause in order to indict someone, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Judge Steven Conn is expected to rule on the motion at a hearing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on July 11.