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Mitchell will not appeal his conviction, sentence for kidnapping Elizabeth Smart

Published: Monday, July 11 2011 3:49 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — The federal case of Brian David Mitchell appears to be over.

Monday was the deadline for Mitchell's federal defense team to decide whether to file any appeals on behalf of their client on his recent federal conviction and sentencing. They announced they would not appeal.

"At the request of our client, a notice of appeal will not be filed from the final judgment entered in the case," said Robert Steele, Brian David Mitchell's federal public defender.

In May, Mitchell was sentenced to life in federal prison after being convicted of kidnapping then 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart in 2002 and taking her across state lines for the purpose of having sex.

In June, attorneys for Mitchell had asked a judge for more time to consider whether they would file an appeal. Monday, they announced they would not.

Smart's father was pleased with the decision.

"It's a happy day," Ed Smart said Monday. But to a certain extent, he also didn't seem overly surprised with the decision not to appeal.

"I think we felt pretty confident in the job the prosecution did in the case," Ed Smart said. "It's always reassuring to be at this point. But we felt pretty confident. What's there to appeal?"

Likewise, the U.S. Attorney's Office released a brief statement Monday.

"We are pleased with today’s developments. They bring some finality and closure to Elizabeth and her family, which is very important to us."

Rebecca Woodridge, Mitchell's former stepdaughter who has visited him in jail almost weekly, said Mitchell remains steadfast in his belief that he did nothing wrong by taking Smart because he was acting on a command from God.

"That's never changed," Woodridge said Monday. "He says he's just ready to move on and do God's work somewhere else."

The Bureau of Prisons will decide which federal facility will house Mitchell. There is no federal prison in Utah, so all that is known for sure is that he will not be in the Beehive State.

Mitchell technically is still in state custody. He appeared on his federal charges on a writ from state custody. The BOP cannot send Mitchell to a federal facility until his state case is completed.

While the decision not to appeal is seemingly the last step in Mitchell's federal proceedings, his criminal charges in district court are still pending. Last month, the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office filed a motion to have Mitchell's state charges dropped but a judge has not yet ruled on that motion.

"The fact is, we're not going to be able to get anything beyond what the federal system gave," District Attorney Sim Gill said.

Elizabeth Smart, in addition to finishing her classes at BYU in the fall, recently signed with ABC News to work as a commentator focusing on what families of missing persons go through. She is expected to contribute across the network’s news programs, including “Good Morning America" and "Nightline."

Contributing: Associated Press

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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