thoughts, whims, and delusions of a middle aged mama

Monday, March 09, 2009

Interesting Move From Judge Conn on Jeffs' Motion. Is it Kosher?

The Deseret News reported this afternoon that Judge Conn has decided to wait until after the Texas Court rules on the admissibility of items seized in the April YfZ raid before his ruling.
Deseret News article
The hearing challenging the warrants is scheduled in May in Judge Walther's Court.

I keep thinking there is some conflict in having the issuing judge be the judge to decide on the admissibility of the warrants. Seems like just a tad bit of a conflict, to me. I'm not familiar with the Texas system, but here in Pa., I'd petition the President Judge to assign the hearing to another judge who was not involved in the issuing stage of the warrant(s).

I'm also wondering what happens iof this Texas judge admits the evidence and there is a conviction, that is not upheld on appeal, what happens to anything that has gone forward in Arizona?
I'm also wondering if this is going to open a nasty can of worms in the Arizona Court? Will the state's attorneys now use "evidence" they otherwise would not have?

What does this decision to delay do to Jeffs' right to a speedy trial? Is this an undue delay?

Can a state trial court judge decide to defer to a ruling from the equivalent judiciary level ruling in another state?


Ron in Houston said...

Gevalt geshreeyeh! Of course it's kosher. I always thought Jeff's attorney's were fahklumpt and were only doing it to get more gelt.

Isn't it sort of saichel to let a Texas Judge rule on Texas evidence?

(Do I win the prize for most Yiddish words in one comment?)

rericson said...

Oy Vey!!!!
Honestly Ron, what did you do, look up a yiddish/english on-line dictionary?....and I can't spell in yiddish to save my life, but if you think Jeffs' attys are fahklumpt, then you are meshuganah...
I was asking how kosher it is for an Arizona judge to defer to the opinion of a Texas Judge when ruling on an Arizona motion...
And you didn't address anything else I asked abouut...

Anonymous said...

Arizona can't decide whether a case in Texas is legal or not. Just like Texas couldn't decide whether a case in Arizona was legal or not.

TxBluesMan said...


Judge Conn is going to rule on the motion, he is just not going to do it until after Texas does. This is for several reasons.

First, if the evidence is admitted, then he has an out to rule that it is admissible in Arizona, as a judge in the jurisdiction that the warrant was issued in has ruled favorably on its admissibility. Second, even if he tosses the evidence, then he has political cover, as his ruling can't be seen as tainting the case in Texas.

As to whether it is kosher for Judge Walther to rule on it? It sure is. Remember, she is a neutral and detached magistrate. The only way to get her where she doesn't rule on it is to get her removed from the case, and thus far there are no grounds to do so.

rericson said...

Blues, Forgive me if I'm seeming dense. It isn't least not this time...
How can Walthers, or any other judge for that matter, impartially decide on the admissability of a warrant she approved in the first place?
If I knew nothing about the case(s), when this warrant was first presented to me there are things that stick out as disingenuous, that I would have seriously questioned and probably demanded more complete information before I signed them.....but that's just me...but honestly, I just don't think they passed muster inthe first place, and she the argument is whether they should have passed there is a clear conflict...
Even if you don't agree...what would be the process in Texas for asking for a different judge to hear this particular motion? Short of asking for Walther's removal all together?

Anonymous said...

There was a motion to have Judge Walther dismissed from the case by FLDS last year, which was heard by another Judge in different district.
That judge denied her to be removed from the case.

TxBluesMan said...

The only practical way to get another judge to hear the motion is the removal of Judge Walther.

rericson said...

So what does the Court Administration look like in Texas?...not the ascention of review..but is there something like a regional judicial review panel? Or a president judge for every so many trial court judges?
There has to be a process for making what amounts to an administrative decision about who should hear something when there is the potential for conflict on a specific aspect....
Can an atty for one of the defendants petition Walther to recuse herself from this specific motion and when she denies that, appeal?
And to which ct.?
There HAS to be a way of cghallenging the appropriateness of her hearing this particular motion...without moving to have her removed all together...

If you wanted to get this heard by a different judge, how would you approach it? Short of complete removal?

TxBluesMan said...

There are 9 Administrative Judicial Regions, with the Presiding Judge appointed out of the sitting judges by the Governor.

To have the motion to suppress heard by a different judge, you have to get Judge Walther removed from the case. The only appeal from that would be for a writ - and that would fail. There are no grounds to remove her.

That was tried once, it ain't goin' happen.

When she denies the motion to suppress, the evidence will get into trial. If (more like when) the defendants are convicted, then they can appeal the denial of the MTS to the 3rd Court of Appeals. Whichever side loses the appeal will appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals, and from their it would go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the meantime, the by then convicted felons would be serving out their sentences...

That's the process in a nutshell.

Sorry, but it sucks for the accused right about now...

Ron in Houston said...


In Texas there are regional administrative districts. The head of each regional administrative district is called the administrative judge and is usually a trial judge in the administrative district.

This is how things like the impartiality of judges are decided. When you file a motion to disqualify a trial court judge it is referred to the administrative judge for that region who either tries it or assigns it to another judge. Like the anonymous poster said, seems like one motion has already been filed.

Conn is not really totally delegating his ruling to Texas. He's just going to consider what Texas does when he rules. It makes a lot of sense from a judicial economy standpoint. Since most of the witnesses are in Texas, it is far more economical to take most of the testimony in Texas.

The reality is that unless something happens he just totally can't swallow, he'll likely use the Texas ruling as his ruling. Like Blues said, this also prevents him from making a ruling that might affect the ongoing cases in Texas.

rericson said...

So there is nothing short of removal to get another judge to hear the suppression motion?
There is no place/way to appeal to to have this motion heard seperately?
Not to the Presiding Judge?
I'm tired...I'll play with it tomorrow...

TxBluesMan said...


As long as Walther is the trial judge, she will hear and rule on the motion.

If she is not impartial enough to hear the MTS, then she is not impartial enough for the trial. Thus far there is nothing that would support her removal.

Pliggy said...

Blues, it it laughable.

"Remember, she is a neutral and detached magistrate."


"Thus far there is nothing that would support her removal."

Puleeeze, doesn't the fact that she (AND YOU) were wrong about the kidnapping of the children, and the intent she had in doing so mean anything?

Ron in Houston said...


Being wrong does not mean someone is biased. Your persecution complex is working mighty hard these days.

TxBluesMan said...


If some children were kidnapped, you need to report it to the local police and the FBI.

You should go to them for help in times of need...

Pliggy said...

Ronny, I don't know if what I have would be called a "complex". Perhaps if you were the only one slandering the religion of the FLDS it would be easier to ignore. But the government is party to it, and is acting upon it, so I would leave off the "complex" part.

Blues, I am sure CPS would have been glad to help too, right?

Stence said...


There's probably something to the persecution complex, After watching a judge tell a white guy that he's the wrong color to send to jail for an identical crime that he had barely sentenced an African-American 6 months for, I gained an understanding of why a lot of African-Americans have a "persecution complex".

After witnessing people being denied contracts and decent employment opportunities because they're from "Plygville" (you can tell by how they dress) I can see why Pliggy might seem to have a persecution complex....go figure.

Stence said...

Hate to hit and run by the way but it's WAAAY past my bedtime. I'm humming Kumbaya and off to bed.

RIchard Endwright said...

Rose said:
"The more persecuted we are, the more I know I made the right choice! "

The truth was never more clearly stated.

Ron in Houston said...

Pliggy and Stence

I'm not going to deny that you guys often suffer from mistreatment or prejudice because of your beliefs.

However, if a black crack dealer gets thrown in jail, it's a lie to say society did it because he was black. He's being thrown in jail because he sold crack.

Why did the raid happen at YFZ? It happened because your brethren were breaking the law. You'd have a very strong argument that you were mistreated if they raided the place and then found no violations of the law.

Right now, your cries of prejudice and mistreatment just sound like the shrill whines they are.

Ron in Houston said...

"The more persecuted we are, the more I know I made the right choice! "

Oh, the logical fallacies of religion.

If God is omnipotent, then clearly your persecutors are only doing the will of God.

So, why is God persecuting you anyway?

rericson said...

Your last comments are naive. You know that. It would take writing a lengthy tome to explain the social complexities of why the crack dealer that was arrested was arrested because he was black. It is no different witht he FLDS. If the YfZ Ranch had not been an FLDS community, "Sarah" would not have made her least not about that ranch...If it was not a known FLDS community and there were not preconcieved ideas about who the FLDS were, LE would have handled the calls differently...blah, blah, balh...
Bottom line is that all kinds of both overt and subliminal baggage went into why things were handled the way they were. And it all comes back to a bias/prejuidice/erroneous belief about the FLDS.
That's real.
Crimes in the eyes of the legal system may or may not have been going on. Their discovery, and subsequent prosecution, was, and is, based on fallicies and bigotry.

I believe the FLDS community does need to step up and become part of the movement to correct bad law.
I also believe that when someone makes the decision to break the law, even if it is bad law, they have to be accountable. I also believe the state cannot go outside the law to discover and apprehend those who break the law.
We have complex forces all at odds here. But there is a bottom line, at least for me...and it is a respect for the law and an expectation that the state will always, unwaveringly, be the standard bearer. They are the first line of accountability.
If the state believed there was reason to suspect criminal activity, then the state had an obligation tomove forward, within the law, to investigate the same. Not use a ruse to create circumstances that allowed them to circumvent the law.
That is persecution.

rericson said...

Ron, would you like me to help you find some blogs that are intended to explore the complexities of the human condition and all the philosphies?
For you much of this discussion is an amusing diversion...and exercise in mental gymnastics. And there are some of us that are 'fair game' for that purpose.
And there are some of us that are not. Not until it is a leveled playing field.
See my most recent post.

Ron in Houston said...


I suppose you can call reality naive, but it doesn't change the fact that it is reality.

The FLDS have been engaging in practices for generations. These practices created a number of folks who were traumatized by their experiences. These folks told their stories. Rozita because of her own abuse history identified with these stories and played them out via telephone with an abuse shelter.

So, Rozita's call was not caused by "bias" or "prejudice." It is caused by the practices that created the vocal detractors of the FLDS.

Sure there are other factors. However, those are not the primary factors.

Face it, there would be no need for Judge Walther to play out her supposed "bias" and "hatred" toward the FLDS if there were no crimes that created this evidence.

Ron in Houston said...



Do you realize in a back handed way you criticized some of the folks who comment as so defective as to need the playing field leveled for them?

Anonymous said...

actually a judge can recuse himself from a case if he knows one of the parties and considers that he can't be fair. this happens a lot when a new judge is elected and might have to rule on cases he worked on as an attorney for his previous firm.

he can also voluntarily recuse himself if he is related to or extaordinarily close to one of the parties in a particular case. then a visiting judge will sit or as in tom green county, one of the other judges in the courthouse will hear it.

Anonymous said...

"Why did the raid happen at YFZ? It happened because your brethren were breaking the law. You'd have a very strong argument that you were mistreated if they raided the place and then found no violations of the law.

I keep hearing this again and again. You don't look at the end result to determine if warrant was valid - you look at the information used to obtain the warrant.

The raid happened based on a false allegation - not real abuse. There were over 600 people at the ranch. The police had a blanket warrant to read every document and forced statements by threatening custody of children.

If this was done in ANY community at least some criminal acts would be found.

After months of reading posts by people who support the raid I have NO doubt in my mind some posters would be very willing to make false accusations against people.

The scary part is I can think of
nothing which would deter them from doing this once again. What lesson does this teach people? It teaches them it's ok to make false rape accusations.

About Me

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First I am a mother, and grandmother....that is probably the single most important aspect of my life. Then I am a family advocate for a large, national advocacy organization. I work primarily in "systems advocay", helping to identify needs and change policies in children's behavioral health. And I love my dogs, my garden, my pond and fish, and trashy murder mysteries and the occasional shot of good scotch.... Fell free to post a note in whatever the most recent entry is...I love meeting new people!

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