Warren Jeffs' conviction reversed by Utah court. The former leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) religious sect has been ordered a new trial after a Supreme Court decision to reverse two rape as an accomplice convictions. Jeffs has been the so called "prophet" of the FLDS since his father's death in 2002.
Jeffs was held accountable for exerting his religious influence to coerce many young women into sexual relations, including the now public case of a 14 year old girl into a pre-arranged marriage to her 19 year old cousin. Jeffs was sentenced to two consecutive terms of five years to life following his conviction in September 2007. During the trial, the then twenty one year old Elissa Wall testified that she frequently entreated Jeffs to help her out of her marriage to husband Allen Steed. Wall also confessed to Jeffs that she was tremendously "uncomfortable" with Steed's sexual advances. Wall's testimony, Jeffs advised Wall to "learn to love" her husband, bear his offspring, or else jeopardize her "eternal salvation." Wall left the FLDS following Jeffs conviction and went on to marry someone outside of the church.
The court issued a statement on July 27, 2010 stating: "We regret the effect our opinon today may have on the victim of the underlying crime, to whom we do not wish to cause additional pain. However, we must ensure that the laws are applied evenly and appropriately, in this case as in every case."
Jeffs also faces a plethora of other charges including but not limited to: 4 counts of accomplice to sexual misconduct with a minor in Arizona, felony sexual assault of a child charges within Texas from a 2005 incident, and several charges in Utah since 2006.
Jeffs was apprehended during a routine traffic stop in August 2006. At the time of his arrest, Jeffs was listen on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.