Jeffs' lawyers seek evidence from Texas

KINGMAN - Warren Jeffs' attorneys are asking for more evidence from the Texas raid of the Yearning for Zion Ranch.

Michael Piccarreta and Richard Wright, Jeffs' attorneys, have filed a motion for disclosure of audio and video recordings that were made by Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran during the raid of the ranch.

Piccarretta and Wright claim that they have requested copies of the recordings from the Mohave County Attorney's Office before and have not yet received them.

The attorneys had to interview Doran, SCSO Deputy John Connor and Texas Ranger Brooks Long without examining video and audio recordings, which hampered their investigation, they contend.

Piccarretta and Wright may want to interview Doran, Connor and Long again after examining the video and audio evidence, the lawyers said. The evidence is necessary to determine if the search of the ranch was illegal and if evidence collected from the ranch must be thrown out, they contend.

The Mohave County Attorney's Office has stated in its response that recording equipment was at the ranch during the beginning of the raid on April 3.

It is possible that some recordings were made, but the CAO does not have control of those recordings; Texas does.

The CAO stated it will attempt to get copies of the recordings from Texas for Jeffs' attorneys, but "cannot guarantee its production."

Jeffs was found guilty of two felony counts of rape as an accomplice in Washington County, Utah, in September 2007.

He was indicted on four counts of felony sexual conduct with a minor and four counts of felony incest as an accomplice in Mohave County in May 2007. He was brought from Utah to face charges in Mohave County in February 2008.

In April, Texas authorities raided the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, Texas, after receiving a call from a teen alleging she had been abused by her much older husband and was carrying his child. More than 400 women and children were taken from the ranch. The call later turned out to be a hoax.

In July, Jeffs was indicted in Texas on charges of sexual assault of a child.

Judge Steven Conn dismissed the incest charges in Mohave County against Jeffs last summer after determining that Arizona law requires an incest victim to be over the age of 18 and must be first cousins of whole blood.

At the same time, Jeffs' attorneys filed a motion to suppress any evidence from the Texas raid being used in the Mohave County cases on the basis that the raid was an illegal search.

In November, Jeffs was indicted on an additional first-degree felony count of aggravated sexual assault in Texas.

In December, Jeffs' attorneys interviewed three Texas law enforcement officers about the raid of the YFZ Ranch and filed an appeal in the Utah case. The attorneys are alleging that Jeffs simply performed a wedding ceremony in Utah and did not intend for the girl to be raped, nor did he intend to help commit rape.

Since then, Conn has ordered both sides to make up their minds if they want to hold a hearing on the motion to suppress evidence from Texas or not. It is currently unknown when the next court hearing will take place.