Warren Jeffs Demands Re-Trial, Claiming Religious Rights Violated

Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs filed a handwritten motion last week asking for a new trial, claiming his religious rights were violated. He is currently serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting two underage girls.

The spiritual leader wrote the request from a prison hospital at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where he is being treated for medical conditions after becoming ill from a “spiritual fast.”

Jeffs represented himself during the trial and objected to the proceedings, saying he should receive religious protection based on his belief that plural marriages are the only way into Heaven, reported Reuters.

He argued in the appeal motion that evidence used to convict him was improperly seized and insists a constitutional violation of rights is grounds for a new trial.

A Texas appeals court ruled last week that evidence was properly seized and presented during trial. The appeal was for a convicted member of Jeff's church but the court rejected the same arguments the spiritual leader raised in his own motion.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said the trial was fair and the sentence would be upheld, reported Reuters.

"After carefully considering the evidence, a Texas jury found Warren Jeffs guilty and sentenced him to prison for the rest of his life," Abbott told Reuters in a statement. "I think the jury's decision was right and will withstand any legal challenge.”

A Texas jury convicted Jeffs in August of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old who were his "spiritual wives." The spiritual leader received the maximum sentence allowed for each count and was sentenced to life in prison.