Trial for Warren Jeffs starts Nov. 2

Former FLDS leader linked to marriages of underage girls

Warren Jeffs

Warren Jeffs

KINGMAN - A trial date has been set in Mohave County Superior Court for the first of two cases against polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs.

Jeffs, 54, is being tried in Mohave County on sexual conduct with a minor charges stemming from marriages allegedly involving underage girls that occurred in Colorado City, where the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints church is based.

Jeffs has been in the Mohave County Jail since February 2008. He is already serving two consecutive sentences of five years to life after being convicted in Utah on two counts of rape as an accomplice for his involvement in the marriage of an underage girl to an older man.

Jeffs also faces similar charges in Texas for offenses that allegedly occurred at the Yearning For Zion ranch outside Eldorado.

During a hearing Friday before Mohave Superior Court Judge Steven Conn, lawyers for Jeffs and the state set dates in August and September for a number of motions both sides intend to file. Several of those motions involve what evidence may or may not be used during the trial, or what is legally referred to as motions in limine.

Deputy County Attorney Matt Smith described the issues involving many of the motions "unbelievably complex."

He said he intends to file multiple motions in limine, and that it was his understanding that defense attorney Michael Piccarreta intended to do the same.

"That's encouraging," quipped Conn. "I may have to send for more file folders."

Smith said the motions in limine are not expected to be as complex as those that are scheduled to be heard in August. Those motions include everything from a motion to dismiss and request a change of venue from the defense to a motion by the state to add enhancement allegations.

The first trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 2, with the second trial to be considered at its conclusion. Conn said setting the trial date now would be advantageous to both sides.

"That may put everyone under the gun and make sure these dates are adhered to," he said.

Both sides have agreed not to use evidence seized during an April 2008 raid at the Texas ranch, which Jeffs' attorneys say was unconstitutional because the evidence was gathered through an improper search.