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Did God want a fundamentalist Mormon to skip bail?

Did God want a fundamentalist Mormon to skip bail?
Lyle Jeffs leaves the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City in 2015. Federal prosecutors accuse Jeffs of food stamp fraud. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

To the editor: God have mercy (so to speak) on Kathy Nester, the Utah public defender representing Lyle Jeffs, devout member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a splinter sect of the Mormon church. ("Sect official Lyle Jeffs went missing while awaiting trial, but feds suspect it's probably not 'rapture,'" Oct. 4)

While out on bail awaiting trial in federal court for fraud charges, Jeffs mysteriously slipped his ankle monitor and disappeared. Nester, left to explain his absence to the court, offered the possibility that he might have "experienced the miracle of rapture," pursuant to a core tenet of his faith.

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Perhaps Nester's explanation amounted to wry humor. But if she was channeling her client's sectarian conceits, who's to criticize her? We've witnessed nationally televised interviews of presidential candidates who were pressed to relate how "God" talked to them.

If qualification for political office requires communication with an imaginary being, why shouldn't a criminal defendant be able to give a faith-based reason for his absence?

Robin Groves, Pacific Palisades

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