ST. GEORGE, Utah – The leader of a polygamous sect is competent to stand trial on charges tied to the spiritual marriage of a 14-year-old girl to an older cousin, a judge said Friday.
Jeffs, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is charged with rape as an accomplice for his role in the 2001 marriage of the underage girl to her 19-year-old cousin.
His sect, which has about 10,000 members on the Utah-Arizona line, practices polygamy and arranged marriages. A trial date has not been set.
The judge said Jeffs understands the charges and can participate in his defense.
At a March hearing, Jeffs, 51, was frail and skeletal. He nodded off during the proceedings and drooled on himself.
Separately, Shumate announced new restrictions for photographers at the Jeffs trial, saying images cannot be "enhanced."
The Deseret Morning News published an enhanced photo of a note that Jeffs tried to give to the judge at the March hearing.
The judge also quashed a defense subpoena of Morning News reporter Ben Winslow, asking him to name unidentified sources for his articles about the case.
Shumate didn't rule on the merits of the subpoena but said Winslow had received it just 24 hours ago -- insufficient time before Friday's hearing.