Judge Orders FLDS Leader Extradited to Texas

KCSG News, Utah/November 16, 2010

West Jordan, Utah - Third District Judge Terry Christiansen ordered FLDS leader Warren Jeffs extradited to Texas Monday.

Attorneys for Jeffs had claimed that sending Jeffs to Texas violated his right to a speedy retrial in Utah as an accomplice to rape.

Judge Christiansen ruled that once a governor signs an extradition order, the court can only determine whether the documents are in order. The judge said he didn't believe it proper for his court to substitute judgment for that of the governor.

Jeffs' attorneys appealed the ruling. (Notice of Appeal) The Utah Court of Appeals has issued a stay in the appeal filed by Warren Steed Jeffs. The state's attorneys have until Wednesday, November 17 at 5:00PM to issue a response. The Court of Appeals will then consider the 8A petition for extraordinary relief and either grant or deny the request. If it is granted, the case will move forward in the Court of Appeals. If it is denied, the extradition will proceed. (Stay Order)

The 54-year old leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) was in court Monday. Jeffs was previously convicted in southern Utah as an accomplice to rape of a 14-year old girl, a member of his congregation that Jeffs' married spiritually to her 19-year old cousin. The conviction was over turned by the Utah Supreme Court in July citing flawed instructions to the jury. Prosecutors in Washington County where he was tried and convicted have not determined whether they will re-try Jeffs.

Texas authorities have charged Jeffs with bigamy, aggravated sexual assault and assault based on alleged incidents with underage girls at a church ranch near Eldorado, Texas. The information that led to the charges was gleaned from church and family records seized during a raid on the Yearning for Zion ranch in April 2008. A federal indictment stemming from Jeffs' stint as a fugitive on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list is also pending.

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