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Utah court reverses polygamy verdict

marciadottin, [email protected]

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SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Supreme Court yesterday reversed the convictions of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs and ordered a new trial, saying a jury received incorrect instructions before considering his role in the 2001 nuptials of a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin. Jeffs, 54, was convicted in 2007 of two counts of first-degree felony rape as an accomplice. He is serving two consecutive terms of five years to life in the Utah State Prison.“We are thrilled that the Supreme Court had the courage to exonerate, or to at least find that legal errors were made, so that Mr Jeffs . . . could have his conviction overturned,” attorney Wally Budgen said. Assistant Utah Attorney General Laura DuPaix said the state maintained its position that Jeffs used his religious authority to force an underage girl to marry and have sex.