AUSTIN, Texas — Attorneys for a convicted polygamous sect member have told a Texas appeals court that a judge never should have granted the 2008 search warrant for the Yearning for Zion ranch.

But state prosecutors told the 3rd District Court of Appeals on Wednesday that Texas authorities had every reason to believe that phone calls to a domestic abuse hotline really were from an abused 16-year-old mother living inside the Eldorado ranch.

Those calls convinced a judge to authorize the search warrant. Authorities later discovered the calls for help were made by someone outside the ranch pretending to be a girl living there.

Michael Emack is asking the court to overturn his conviction on charges of sexual assault.

The three-judge panel isn't expected to issue a ruling for several weeks.