Belief Beat

Utah’s Supreme Court has reversed polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs’ conviction on two counts of rape as an accomplice and sent the case back for a new trial, saying there were “serious errors” in instructions given to the jurors considering his role in the 2001 marriage of a 14-year-old girl to her 19-year-old cousin. Check out The Salt Lake Tribune and the Associated Press for the story; Religion Clause has more on the legal details.

Jeffs, 54, is currently serving two consecutive terms of five years to life in Utah State Prison. Similar charges against him in Arizona were dropped last month. He’s still facing charges of bigamy, sexual assault and aggravated assault in Texas; his attorney has said Jeffs plans to oppose extradition.

For more on Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS — not to be confused with the LDS Mormons), check out the Salt Lake Tribune’s Polygamy page.

Maybe I’ve watched too much Big Love, but polygamy and rape are illegal; why is it so hard to get convictions in these FLDS cases? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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