ST. GEORGE, Utah — A judge wants to know more about Nevada law before deciding whether evidence collected during the arrest of a polygamous sect leader should be barred from trial, a court spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Defense attorneys claim the traffic stop near Las Vegas last summer was improper because the Cadillac Escalade was legally registered and that Warren Jeffs and two passengers were detained for more than an hour before police confirmed he was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, KUTV reported.
Jeffs, 51, is president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which practices arranged, plural marriages.
He is in the Washington County, Utah, jail awaiting a September trial on charges of rape as an accomplice for his role in a 2001 spiritual marriage between a 14-year-old girl and 19-year-old cousin.
Testifying in court Wednesday, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Eddie Dutchover said the stop was long because the computer in his patrol car wasn’t working, KUTV reported.
The sport utility vehicle was registered in Iowa but had a temporary Colorado license tag.
If the traffic stop had occurred in Utah, evidence would be disallowed because Jeffs was detained for too long, 5th District Judge James Shumate said.
But Shumate said he wasn’t familiar with Nevada law, so he asked lawyers for more information before making a decision June 25, court spokeswoman Nancy Volmer said.
Police found a cache of electronic equipment, disguises and $54,000 in cash when Jeffs was arrested after nearly two years on the run from charges in Utah and Arizona.