What Really Happened: The Trial of Raymond Jessop
This report is based on information provided by people who sat through the trial, including professionals involved in the case and professionals familiar with the legal process.
Since Raymond’s trial began, there has been various and numerous inaccurate reports and speculation about the goings on. Bill Medvecky, chief child abuse proponent and convicted felon, keeps reporting from his backside and from the pro-crime, anti-law perspective. Brooke Adams injects some factual information and observations into her accounts, but Brooke is apparently without the aid of legal professionals who can explain things to her before she publishes embarassingly crude legal analysis.
Just to clear things up a bit:
1. Prospective jurors who were FLDS members were excused at the request of Raymond’s attorney. Stevens is a very very good attorney, one of the very best in the State. Although he has very little to work with, he is very competent and is doing well by Raymond. This does not mean he can work miracles, but it does mean that every move he makes is calculated to help Rsymond in some way. I can assure you Bill Medvecky will not think of some better legal strategy than Stephens. He quietly, and without fanfare, approached the bench and asked that FLDS jurors be dismissed — recognizing, of course, that they could be excused for cause, and recognizing that their answering questions under oath in the voir dire process could prejudice other jurors against Raymond or could lead to those jurors incriminating themselves. This was the proper and smart thing for Stevens to do — after all, he is concerned only with Raymond’s interests and not the persecution hyteria of the FLDS or Willie’s obtuse offerings of legal strategy. Raymond’s rights were not violated by the judge, the State, or his attorney.
2. A juror was not excused and an alternate seated without the knowledge of the defense. The juror is interviewed in chambers, on the record, in the presence of both sides’ counsel and the defendant. Both sides get to make a record of any objections or move for a mistrial as incident to the excused juror. Alternates are then brought in amd go through a mini requalification, again with attorneys present as well as the defendant, on the record.
3. The proceedings Friday morning were not secret or announced at the last minute. Just because Brooke and Willie did not understand what was happening does not mean the defense attorneys were caught by surprise. The defense attorneys were all present and ready to proceed bright and early Friday morning.
4. For each of the jurors to qualify, each and every one had to answer under oath that they could consider the full range of punishment upon Raymond’s conviction — probation, all the way up to 20 years.
5. The documentary evidence admitted was not “stolen” or gotten illegally, and that issue has been fully litigated in a 4 day hearing that resulted in a lengthy written order. Just because you and Willie wish it would all go away does not mean that anyone other than the convicted felon did anything illegal.
6. It is not religious persecution for a jury to convict a man of sexual assault if a child just because the crime is a tenet of a wacko religious cult.
7. 15 year old girls have constitutional rights too. They also have a right to be protected from sexual predators, and they cannot waive that protection.
8. “it’s so unfair” and “the judge is a Nazi” are not grounds for appeal. Hurt feelings are not grounds for appeal. Extreme outrage is not grounds for appeal. Blogger opinion is not grounds for appeal.
9. Not enough Hispanics on the grand jury is not grounds for appeal by Raymond Jessop, a non-Hispanic, particularly when his attorney failed to timely raise the issue.
10. The defense is not entitled to preview the testimony of the State’s witnesses and the defense is not entitled to know in advance everything the witnesses will say.
11. The defense is not entitled to make all of their objections outside the hearing of the jury.
12. The judge in no way limited Carolyn’s testimony or made any findings about the weight or credibility of her testimony. The judge ruled that Carolyn’s testimony is not scientific and the defense is not entitled to a pre-hearing to determine Carolyn’s qualifications to testify or determine the reliability.
13. It is not reversible error to have a juror whose husband was on the grand jury and the juror did not hide the information from the defense or anyone else.
14. There is a victim to the crime that Raymond Jessop was convicted of: Janet Jeffs. Whether she would openly state she is a victim is immaterial.
15. Janet Jeffs was not legally married to Raymond’s brother. She was not emancipated just because she was given to Ernie as a child sex object. Even if she had gotten court approval and gotten married legally to Ernie, that does not excuse Raymond from sexually assaulting her at age 15.
16. If Janet were called by the defense in the punishment phase, she cannot answer self-serving questions from the defense and plead the fifth to questions from the State. It is highly unlikely Stephens will call Janet to testify for Raymond because it would be disastrous for Raymond. Stephens will likely call business associates in the community who can testify that Raymond us a hard worker and contributes to the community. Very unlikely that Stephens will call any other FLDS members.