Overturned

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In his second legal victory this summer, on July 27, Warren Jeffs--the polygamist leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS)--saw the Utah Supreme Court reverse two convictions against him of complicity to rape. Just a month and a half earlier, an Arizona judge dismissed similar charges against Jeffs that originally plunged him into national headlines in 2006. The Utah court ruled that the jury in the case had received incorrect instructions before convicting Jeffs for his role in the "spiritual marriage" of a 14-year-old girl to her 19-year-old first cousin. Prosecutors are considering whether to retry Jeffs, who was serving two consecutive terms of five years to life in a Utah state prison. While the reversal is significant and could make a retrial problematic, Jeffs still has a long legal road ahead. He also faces extradition to Texas on charges of bigamy and sexual and aggravated assault stemming from evidence found during a 2008 raid on the Texas FLDS Yearning for Zion ranch. Defense attorney Walter Bugden cheered the Utah order, calling Jeffs a victim of "religious prosecution" and "religious persecution."