Several Wichita Falls residents were talking about the hiring of a new attorney for legendary polygamist leader Warren Jeffs Tuesday. The incredible interest in this city within a stone’s throw of the Red River stems from the fact numerous Child Protective Services officials from the Wichita Falls office participated in the raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch in West Texas where more than 400 children were temporarily removed from the polygamist stronghold as the national news media looked on.
Several Department of Public Safety troopers from Wichita Falls also participated in the raid which has resulted in the successful prosecution of several polygamists.
Wichita Falls attorney Dick Sutherland represented one of the children.
Jeff Kearney, high-profile Texas defense attorney, strode into the courtroom Tuesday with Warren Jeffs to announce he was taking over the defense. Kearney was successful in persuading a jury to find one of the Branch Davidians not guilty of murder in a case which increased his national reputation. He has had several other well known victories in courtrooms across the country.
Will Kearney be able to reverse the losing trend the polygamists have so far suffered at the hands of Texas prosecutors?
Although District Judge Barbara Walther welcomed Kearney to her San Angelo, Texas, courtroom, she wasn’t responsive to his first request for more time to prepare a defense for the polygamist leader who allegedly has inherited more than 20 wives.
It was a busy day in court as the judge agreed to re-set Jeffs’ trial for sexual assault of a child to July 25, 2011. She also re-set his second charge for jury trial for October 3, 2011.
Despite these new re-sets from the orginal trial dates, Kearney was concerned he would not have enough time to sift through all the mountains of evidence which he maintains exist in these cases.
Jeffs is leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which authorizes polygamous marriages.
Jeffs has been charged he married underage girls while married to other women.
Twelve men were arrested in 2008 during the raid which was bathed in the glow of the national news media. Jeffs will be the eighth polygamist to stand trial from the raid.
Those interested in receiving notice of future law enforcement and public safety articles should click on the subscribe button.