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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

‘Sister Wives’ Fear Polygamy Prosecution in Utah - UPDATE

from Utah News, 1 minute ago: Update: The Salt Lake City press conference with the Brown family attorney has just ended. The Brown family did not attend; attorney Jonathan Turley said they were in Nevada, where they moved this year after Lehi police started an investigation.
"Now, this family is not like a lot of families in Utah, but it’s not your family. It’s their family," Turley told reporters.Turley posted online a copy of the lawsuit. (See bottom of page for highlights.) The Tribune will update this story again soon.

Earlier story:
When the polygamous Brown family steps up to challenge Utah’s bigamy law today, their first challenge may be proving that someone wants to prosecute them.
Kody Brown and his four wives came under investigation by Lehi police last year after the TLC network began airing their reality show "Sister Wives." They responded by moving to Nevada.
But nearly a year after the investigation was announced, no charges have been filed. Ironically, that may be their case’s biggest problem, said Salt Lake City civil rights attorney Brian Barnard.
"The fact that a law is on the books and maybe there might be a prosecution doesn’t necessarily give them standing to bring a legal challenge," he said. "Federal judges are loathe to weigh in on something hypothetical."
It’s something Barnard has run into before, when he represented a woman who wanted to become a second wife in 2004 — the most recent legal challenge to the polygamy ban. She sued when a clerk refused to issue a marriage license, but her claim was thrown out in federal appeals court.
For polygamy advocates who want to see the law changed, there is something of a Catch-22 at work. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has said he won’t prosecute plural marriages between consenting adult because his office is focused on polygamy-related crimes like underage marriage.
The handful of polygamists that have been charged in recent years, including Juab County’s Tom Green and Rodney Holm, a police officer who belongs to the sect led by Warren Jeffs, have involved underage marriage.
So Shurtleff won’t prosecute "clean" polygamy cases. (For his part, Shurtleff said the Brown lawsuit is "a little bit of a PR stunt.")
The Browns will step into this virtual stalemate. They’ve laid their lives out to the glare of reality TV, and their attorney says the police investigation didn’t turn up any evidence of child abuse or underage marriage.
In a Tuesday statement, Kody Brown said his family has struggled with stereotypes and unfair treatment due to their beliefs. But likely before they can lay out the legal case in favor of polygamy, they’re going to have to show a judge that they are truly suffering under the law.
The Browns may ask for "prospective relief," Barnard said, essentially: "Do not criminally charge me for what I do tomorrow."
But Barnard added that whatever the Brown’s do tomorrow, they’re going to be doing in Nevada, not Utah.

At a glance

The Brown lawsuit claims they are at risk of being prosecuted for bigamy and asks a federal judge to place an injunction against the law. The suit says that while they have moved to Nevada, the family “expects” to move back to Utah as well as return here to visit relatives.

The lawsuit also contends polygamous families are discriminated against because their lifestyle is criminalized but not the lifestyle of other couples who are not legally married.

The lawsuit specifies the Browns are only attacking the criminal bigamy statute.

“The Browns have formed a plural family, motivated by their sincere religious beliefs and love for one another,” the lawsuit states. “They have not, however, sought official recognition of any polygamous marriage.”
(Source: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/52182460-78/family-utah-law-turley.html.csp?page=2)


  1. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/52182460-78/polygamy-attorney-brown-challenge.html.csp

    Here is the latest - SW must proof suffering update

  2. Look like a PR stunt to me. Once again, TLC is starting to ruin a decent show and turn into into a freak show, which will leave the Browns more damaged than they can imagine. Annony, isn't that the same as the post just put up?

  3. Why didn't they stay and fight? In the video of Christine, she says bring it on? Is Nevada just a vacation? What are their real intentions here?

  4. Looks like nothing more than a PR stunt.

  5. I'm surprised they all weren't there will bells on.

  6. The difference to me is the FLDS, and other scary groups, Kingston, etc. they are opening it up for all of them. WAKE UP! it's not just about the Browns!

  7. Exactly Anonymous. The Kingston group mades the AUB look like saints. The Kingstons practice coercive incest - they compel their members to marry half sisters or half brothers because their blood line is pure. The Kingstons believe that they are descendants of Jesus Christ, and that they can only marry near relatives (uncles, half siblings,aunts) to keep that blood line pure. They have a high rate of genetic deformities as a result.

  8. They fear it? I thought no charges were brought up.

  9. WHAT are they doing? They afraid, they are not, they moved for fear, they didn't, it's all a AUB game.

  10. Yeah yeah, fear. I am trying to write a post on all this "fear".
    I think many of us don't realize all the other Polygamy groups you'd be letting in the door. FLDS, Kingston, others.

  11. The REAL problem is that fundy plygs in America are a DRIP in the bucket, while the real concern is the MASSIVE HORDES of muslims that would take advantage of this.

    Wake up folks, and look whats going on in the ME!

    You want that crap here too?

  12. Fear it? hmmmm.... look at the post above where they were talking to the AT.

  13. Exactly, Soccer mom. Sorrowful is the family that had all the connections, safe as pie, and threw it in the toliet for some fame. This isn't about "rights" to the Browns, it's about the almighty dollar.

  14. They fear being canceled, that's what they fear.

  15. Although I do not agree with the way the Browns chose to live their lives. Who am I, you, or the government to say? I truly believe that they should judge these on a case by case bases. I feel that as soon as they throw this suit for the Browns out, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law . They will become the poster child for bigamy. Honestly, the law states that cohabitation without being married is against the law. So let someone from Utah that are shacking up get a reality show and see if they are investigated. Then lets have this conversation again.
    I feel the need for such laws are very much needed, for the Warren Jeff's of America. But get real, from what I see they choose to live this way everyone. The kids have no issues, and they can choose what they want for their adult lives. It is not set in stone for them. The parents have stated they wouldn't like it but it is not mandatory for them to live in the image of their parents. It is no different than the small communities of Mormons that all of the western states no are there, and i am sure that common law marriages can be applied to the majority of those situation as well. Our tax dollars support their children. Yet it goes unnoticed with prosecution, until some child calls in freaked out because they are to be married to some old pervert. Then it is highly unlikely that charges are filed and stick. So like his lawyer or not, at least he is fighting for something worth fighting for.Privacy is the issue here, privacy without government mandates on how his personal live should be lived. Not privacy that no one should know. That is the reason for the show to say hey, not all people that have multiple wives live like you think. How would you like it if someone told you how to live, and you could be charged with a felony offense? When none of your choices have/would cause harm to someone.
    Is it fair to say all Muslims are terrorist?
    Is it fair to say all Nazis are hate Jews?
    Is it fair to say all White hate Blacks?
    No its not, the list could go on and on......so if we let one case of constitutional freedom be over looked because of our likes and dislikes(when this law was written there weren't any Browns around to say it doesn't always have to be in that sense), think how fast most of those freedoms wills go away.