Jeffs' lawyers move to quash evidence request
KINGMAN - Warren Jeffs' attorney filed a motion Monday to quash a subpoena issued by the Mohave County Attorney's Office. The subpoena, issued on May 9, requested evidence seized from the Cadillac Escalade Jeffs was riding in when he was arrested in August 2006.
The subpoena was sent to Bruce Wisan, the court appointed special fiduciary of the United Effort Plan Trust, which has copies of the evidence.
Wisan objected to the subpoena on May 16, stating that a protective order agreed to by the Trust and Jeffs' attorneys prevented him from releasing the evidence to a third party.
The protective order also required Wisan to notify Jeffs' attorneys if the evidence was requested or subpoenaed by anyone else.
Jeffs' attorney stated in the motion to quash that the Mohave County Superior Court did not have the jurisdiction to subpoena items or persons that were not in the state of Arizona. The UEP Trust, Wisan and the evidence are currently located in Utah.
Jeffs' attorneys also state that the subpoena asks for evidence that was unlawfully seized during the arrest of Jeffs.
According to the motion to quash, U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson ruled that some of the evidence law enforcement officers seized during Jeffs' arrest went beyond the scope of the unlawful flight and concealing a person from arrest warrants issued for Jeffs.
Benson ordered that the evidence not connected to the warrants to be returned to Jeffs' attorneys.
Wisan, acting on behalf of the UEP Trust, then subpoenaed the evidence in a civil case against Jeffs in Utah. Wisan and Jeffs' attorneys agreed to the stipulated protective order.
The order states that all the evidence seized from the Escalade is confidential and cannot be released without the permission of all the parties involved. It also states that evidence unrelated to the UEP Trust must be returned to Jeffs' attorneys.
Jeffs' attorneys also point out that any information related to the UEP Trust is irrelevant to the case.
The motion also requests that the subpoena be quashed because it requests religious materials that are privileged and confidential under the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and Article Two of the Arizona Constitution.
"The subpoena should be quashed because the state cannot show either a compelling or rational interest justifying the intrusion into the religious beliefs and practices of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Jeffs," the motion states.
Revealing such information is an infringement on the beliefs of the church and Jeffs, the motion states.
Jeffs' attorneys argue that some of the material seized from the Escalade is privileged because they are confidential confessions or communications between FLDS members and Jeffs in his role as spiritual leader of the church.
Fifth Amendment rights
Jeffs' attorneys also state that relinquishing the material could also violate Jeffs' Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. That right, according to the Arizona Constitution, includes private books and papers.
His attorneys also ask the court to quash the subpoena on the grounds that it is overbroad and unreasonable. They argue that the subpoena does not specify what documents the County Attorney's Office is looking for, that the material held by the Trust is not relevant to the case and that it would take too much time and money to go through the thousands of electronic and paper files.
The issue might be heard at the next hearing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on July 11.