This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
I expect the biggest fight from the defense in the Warren Jeffs trial to come today, when attorneys argue that all the evidence gathered in a 2008 raid on his followers' Yearning for Zion Ranch should be suppressed. They're saying the search was illegal because the raid was sparked by a hoax call for help from a woman pretending to be a 16-year-old abused plural wife. They've already filed a nearly 300-page motion though its under seal, so we can't see it. We can guess, though, that the arguments are similar to those from a 4-day suppression hearing in 2009. Walther denied the motion then, and is argably likely to do so again. Authorities got a truly massive amount of evidence - at least 1.7 billion pages of documentation (or the electronic equivalent) and DNA tests on the more-than 400 children living there.Those DNA tests have proven to be key evidence in the cases of other FLDS men charged in the wake of the raid. The prosecution use the tests to prove who the child's father is, then birth certificates and other documentation to show the mother must have been underage at the time of conception.Also key are photos (see the pic of Jeffs kissing the 12-year-old from my preview story) priesthood records, personal journals, etc. Almost 2 billion pages we know about. Goodness, that's a lot of paper. The FLDS haven't put up a huge fight on the guilt or innocence of the other men charged in the wake of the raid. All five who have come to trial have been found guilty. Another two took pleas. But that doesn't mean they're giving up. All seven have appealed and continue to fight the search warrant fight. The first man came up on the 3rd District Appeals Court docket in May, and I flew out to Austin to cover it. Here's my story. The same attorneys who argued on behalf of that man, contractor Michael Emack, will argue for Warren Jeffs in today's hearing, scheduled to start at 1 p.m. We do already have a jury. Here's my story on the long day that ended in a surprising annoucement.A few media actually got locked out of the hearing - they left to do their newscasts and the courthouse doors were locked at 5 p.m. Jury selection was supposed to last at least another day, but Texas District Judge Barbara Walther was ready to go with a suppression hearing at 9 a.m. this morning. She and the attorneys ended up agreeing on 1 p.m. CST start time so that some out-of-town witnesses can get here.