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Friday, December 16, 2011

Browns to be discussed in Utah Court today....

UPDATED


Jonathan Turley will be appearing in federal court in Salt Lake City, Utah to argue for standing in our challenge to the Utah statute criminalizing bigamy and cohabitation. read about it at the Attorney Jonathan Turley's Blog:

 http://jonathanturley.org/2011/12/16/federal-court-considers-standing-in-sister-wives-case/
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UPDATED 12/16/ Pm
(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Assistant Attorney General Jerrold Jensen speaks outside the Frank Moss Federal Courthouse Friday December 16 after a hearing in the "Sister Wives" family challenging Utah's bigamy law.


The "chilling effect" of an open investigation into the polygamous stars of a reality TV show should allow them to challenge Utah’s bigamy law, their attorney argued Friday in Salt Lake City’s federal court.
"Not only has the state defined them as a criminal association, you have prosecutors coming out and saying they are committing a crime every night on television," said Washington, D.C.-based constitutional law attorney Jonathan Turley. "If this doesn’t get them to come to federal court, what does, short of a federal indictment?"
U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups took Friday’s arguments under advisement and is expected to rule in about a month.
Kody Brown and his four wives — Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn — sued to strike down the bigamy law in July, nearly a year after police in their former hometown of Lehi opened an investigation following the debut of their TLC show "Sister Wives."
Though the case remains open, no charges have been filed, and without criminal charges the state says the Browns don’t have legal standing to challenge the law.
Assistant Attorney General Jerrold Jensen countered Turley’s arguments Friday with a new revelation: The investigation wasn’t only about polygamy.
"Officials in the state of Utah do not prosecute for just bigamy. It is brought up in conjunction with another crime. That other crime is being investigated by the Utah County Attorney," Jensen said, though he repeatedly declined to say what it is.
Jensen argued that the injuries claimed by the Browns — including spending their savings moving to Nevada and loss of entertainment-related income — were the result not of the county’s investigation but by their choice to publicize their lifestyle on cable television.
"The Browns have manufactured a case that doesn’t exist," Jensen said.
But Turley countered that the Browns have been careful to keep any mention of the lawsuit off the show.
"This family was singled out. Yeah, they were on TV. They have a right to be on TV. What are these statements [by prosecutors] about if not a chilling effect?" Turley said.
He said the Browns did not attend Friday’s hearing due to a fear of prosecution.

To read the rest of the story, please go to:

32 comments:

  1. Which means the Browns will most likely NOT be there. The attorney is going to conduct oral arguments in an attempt to get the Court to even allow the Brown's lawsuit. It is highly possible the suit could be dismissed at this point.

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  2. We can ONLY HOPE!

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  3. I just came to check, what good timing!!
    So, basically nothing for a month.
    I love the line"He said the Browns did not attend Friday’s hearing due to a fear of prosecution."

    Christine, why did you say "bring it on" and say you WANTED to get prosecuted; 3 yrs ago at the AUB meeting?
    WHAT FAKERS. I am really getting to the point I can't stand these people!

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  4. I hope it is dismissed for because the State of Utah is not "interested in the Browns". Heh.

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  5. "Christine, why did you say "bring it on" and say you WANTED to get prosecuted; 3 yrs ago at the AUB meeting?"

    That clip is out there on the web. No doubt the Assistant Attorney Jenson will make use of that if the case is allowed to forward.

    What hucksters!! What scammers !!!

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  6. As I understand this case, the Browns are asking for the decriminalization of polygamy, not the legalization. Is this the way everyone else understands the case? If so, basically they want to be able to continue their lifestyle with no legal problems. However, they do not want to have the state recognise their polygamous union. This would basically allow the welfare fraud that seems rampant in the polygamous community to continue. It looks to me like it will be even harder to police the welfare fraud if they win their court case.

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  7. Adding...
    Also no doubt the TLC cameras were rolling, doing footage of the lawyer going in and coming out of the courthouse for use in prep clips for next season.

    Really..Kody should wear a Ringmaster's outfit.
    Under the Big Top...
    Next to the popcorn machine and the Cheezy Fritos booth.

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  8. No Doubt!
    I am disappointed. I wanted him to throw the case out. Does this mean they have a chance of winning?

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  9. Exactly 5:02.
    Well, say my brother has a 16 yr old girlfriend, and he's 30. Should he petition the court that he won't get arrested for rape? What if someone likes to smoke pot, grows it themselves, and bothers no one, should he be excused?

    PLEASE!! WAKE UP FOLKS!! If you break the law, you are going to pay for it. In Utah, the polygamy law is ignored. Have they have been arrested? NO.
    They are already getting away with breaking the law.
    Next it will be legalization they want. And, lots more of your welfare dollars.
    This is a MUCH bigger plan to take over- realize it.

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  10. Aha! There is ANOTHER investigation going on, that bigamy just happens to be a part of, but sounds like not the main thing. Maybe they are finally prosecuting for welfare fraud. Please oh please.

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  11. "Assistant Attorney General Jerrold Jensen countered Turley’s arguments Friday with a new revelation: The investigation wasn’t only about polygamy."

    Hmmmmm...I think in the Browns crazed pursuit of stardom they forgot about all the skeletons in the closet they had tucked away. As Christine said- "bring it on"!

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  12. "Not only has the state defined them as a criminal association, you have prosecutors coming out and saying they are committing a crime every night on television," said Washington, D.C.-based constitutional law attorney Jonathan Turley. "

    WELL AREN'T THEY? CAll a SPADE A SPADE. That's what's wrong with these people.

    "Officials in the state of Utah do not prosecute for just bigamy. It is brought up in conjunction with another crime. That other crime is being investigated by the Utah County Attorney," Jensen said, though he repeatedly declined to say what it is.

    WHAT OTHER CRIME? FRAUD?

    But Turley countered that the Browns have been careful to keep any mention of the lawsuit off the show.
    "This family was singled out. Yeah, they were on TV. They have a right to be on TV. What are these statements [by prosecutors] about if not a chilling effect?" Turley said.
    NO THEY DON'T TALK ABOUT, THEY JUST CREATE SITUATIONS THEY CAN USE IN COURT. LIES, IF YOU WILL.

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  13. Perhaps, the investigation of whatever this other allegation is that they are referring to, is still going on....not completed yet?
    Hence the vague wording....!

    My guess is that is about some type of welfare benefits fraud.

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  14. Yes, very interesting - want to hear what that "other crime" is that Utah County is nvestigating.

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  15. ~The Bargain Babe said...

    "Aha! There is ANOTHER investigation going on, that bigamy just happens to be a part of, but sounds like not the main thing. Maybe they are finally prosecuting for welfare fraud. Please oh please."

    It HAS to be this exactly. Medicaid? Was Christine on it when she gave birth to fatherless children? They will fry your butt for defrauding Medicaid or Medicare.

    I wonder if the polygamist habit of rotating bankruptcies would fall under the RICO statute?

    It's probably just welfare and food stamps, though. Christine claimed no support for more money.

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  16. Maybe Kody's aspiring to be another Tom Green. He goes on TV telling the whole world that he's breaking the law and then complains about being persecuted--even when law enforcement would be more than happy to ignore him.

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  17. WOW on the "other crime." I didn't see that coming. Maybe they'll get to be martyrs to fraud or something.

    This might really get good!

    Then again, the Browns might win, ugh.

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  18. I understand and agree with prosecuting anyone for Medicaid or Medicare fraud. Also, if a child is exploited by underage marriage I get that.....I think it is a waste of tax dollars to go after polygamist just for multiple spouces.....Medicaid fraud and child abuse I get. ....Not saying there has been child abuse, I totally see the wives being of age and consenting. And the children are fed, clothed, going to school, & healthy....Not my ideal family constalation by anystretch....My issue is with anyone engaging in Medicaid fraud. I aso see rotating bankruptcies from spiritual wife to spiritual wife as reprehensible and surely not a Godly way to act or lead by example, if they are setting themselves up as spiritually enlightened.

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  19. These multiple rotating bankruptcies seem smarmy and a clear affront to spiritual parents claiming to live by a higher code. It is not a redeeming example to provide their children on living a honest, spiritual and righteous life....I mean they are putting themselves on TV as examples of parents striving for a righteous and spiritually enlightened lifestyle. Rotating MULTIPLE bankruptcies just indicate a screwed up moral compass.

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  20. From what I've been reading, the 'other crimes' that they persecute along with polygamy are fraud, incest, and underaged marriages.

    I wonder if either Robyn or Janelle aren't legally divorced from their exes? Maybe R's ex is going after her for child exploitation by putting the kids on television?

    I would think that it might be welfare fraud, namely SNAP (food stamp) fraud. Even if you apply as an individual, you are required to list all of the adults and children that live in your household and their incomes. Considering they all lived in one house..and one house with Kody, the family probably got a lot more money as applying as individuals.

    Homosexual sex used to be illegal in the US, and there was a Supreme Court case that found such laws against homosexual sex illegal and the opinion of that case argues that the 'constitution should not go into the bedroom' or something to that effect. I'm wondering if that is the case that the Browns lawyers are going to argue based off of. (Interestingly, that argument would probably have to say that Kody is no different from a man who has sex with someone outside of his marriage, which is so abhorrent in FLDS culture.)

    If I had to guess, the Browns are being taken to court for the other, unmentioned crime, and possibly bigamy as a lesser included offense (or separate charge) and their attorney is trying to tell the judge that even though they're supposed to be arguing about this other case, the real issue here is that bigamy should be decriminalized.

    The Browns want the judge to agree, and admit evidence and discussion about the legality of polygamy based on their case.

    The next best thing would be for the judge to throw out the polygamy charge all together and just focus on the unmentioned crime.

    The most embarrassing outcome would be for the judge to throw out the bigamy issue 'with sanctions'- which is essentially a slap on a lawyer's wrist for wasting the court's time and resources arguing something pointless or clearly irrelevant to the case.

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  21. One thing we should never do is let financial considerations be the excuse for not prosecuting the law. The money will have to come from somewhere. Justice is top priority. If we deem it necessary to make something illegal, we must prosecute against it or get rid of the law. The only alternative is hypocrisy. And that's too high a price when we're talking about human rights.

    1. If we aren't going to enforce the law, it shouldn't be on the books.

    2. This law is staying on the books.

    I've been an activist for about 15 years and I've spend most of my time trying to convince people of the most obvious truths about polygamy while they spin endless rationalizations about how it should be legal and how it's possible to conceive harmless polygamous situations. In the meantime, Warren Jeffs came to power and did unspeakable things to his victims for years. Law enforcement in Utah went to great efforts to excuse themselves from the performance of their duty and look what happened to the children while all of this bickering took place.

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  22. Well, well, well, isn't this interesting.

    1. "Another crime is being investigated"
    So many posters have speculated about this very thing and the consensus is that this crime is probably financial in nature. They always say to follow the money. I think we would be very surprised to hear that a crime against the children, or an abuse-related crime was involved, given what we've seen so far. Or would we? Thoughts anyone?

    I would think that Janelle and Christine would be like momma bears or wolves in terms of protecting their kids and each other. But that's just me.

    2. Why can't polygamy be prosecuted on its own?
    Cosmo is right in his comments above. I don't like that the almighty dollar trumps issues of right and wrong, and especially harm to others. Sometimes it is a sucky, sucky world. The only thing stronger than the dollar is the vote (which, of course, is tied to the dollar). If you and I as citizens want polygamy to be prosecuted without having to be tied to another crime then we must tell our elected representatives. I like the Canadian stance not to prosecute underaged participants who likely have been coerced into participation.

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  23. I don't believe the Browns are being investigated for child abuse - my guess is that it's some kind of medicaid/food stamps fraud and that they didn't declare the household incomes. Hard to believe that they would put themselves out there for scrutiny if they had done that.

    Second point, I'm sick of hearing that gay relationships are "just like" polygamy. No they are not. Sympathy for the gay movement shouldn't make us get behind polygamy. Canada just ruled that abuse is a part of polygamy - basically you can't have polygamy without some kind of abuse taking place - and that could be emotional/physical/financial deprivation etc. Not so in gay relationships. Polygamy is bad news. Let's not give it our sympathy or support!

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  24. It sounds like the Browns forced Utah's hand. So, to uphold their law, Utah will have to do bigamy plus some kind of financial charges. AWESOME.

    I don't really care who you are porking if it isn't on my dime. And going after the fraud would terrrify that whole society plus Utah gets to keep the law.

    Win-win for everyone who doesn't cheat the government or have sister wives. Plus makes for awesome TV. Yay!

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  25. I think their way around the "who all lives in your house" was by having separate kitchens in utah, and bedrooms and baths. I still cry foul but I think that is how they THOUGHT they were getting around the system.

    Furthermore, if the above is true, it could be the theory for why they did NOT buy one big house in Vegas. They HAD to get 4 separate houses and will HAVE to build 4 separate houses on the culdesac. Then when they list household income, they don't have to include the other wives, or maybe not even Kody..not sure on that one.

    I'd bet that Utah has a pretty good case against the Brown's with the past fraud though, where Christine claimed no support from her babies-daddy, but then went on National TV with a "husband."

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  26. I was actually present in the courtroom on Friday during the hearing. It was very enlightening. The Browns' lawyer has the reputation for being quite the hotshot, but even with my puny legal savvy, I was unimpressed with both him and the weakness of his case. The crux is that the Browns are trying to sue the state for damages (in lost business contracts, etc.) caused by being labeled a "criminal association". Which is utterly ridiculous. They lost business contracts because they willingly broadcast their lifestyle on national TV. I'd even heard (through the grapevine, not in the courtroom) that some of Kody's former business associates dropped him not even because of the polygamy, but because Kody was getting too wrapped up in the show and was neglecting his work!

    The fact that the Browns didn't show up to the courtroom, supposedly because of their fear of being arrested, was brought out by the Asst. A.G. as being utterly ridiculous, considering there hasn't been any warrents or charges issued nor has their been any polygamy-based arrests in Utah for years. Unless, of course, they fear arrest for something else. While it wasn't mentioned in the hearing, it seems to me that fraud is probably the most likely thing that is at the heart of the investigation.

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  27. Wow! Thank-you for the 1st person reportage there, S. I wonder if you shouldn't write up posts and send directly to the website to be published as a full article. If you stay here in comments, it might be missed. You shouldn't be missed!

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  28. Wow, thanks, S!

    Yea, it's not a great case because these people don't really like working or anything, but that's not the point. Calling them felons in the paper is probably enough for this BS to go forward.

    If those rookie Lehi yokels had just kept their mouth shut...

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  29. I can appreciate anyone's take. I respect that individuals are that, individuals, thanks for sharing. I love the varying opinions and perspectives. With all this discussion and the multitude of perspective I can see how it could be easy to write off some comments.........Love the blog, fun stuff on the Brown grownups, amazing....I strongly dislike polygamy. It can really marginalize if a crazy or self centered fella is at the helm. And the risk for stunting one's growth seems immense. There just seems to be so many risk to the kids, not necessarily sexual abuse but surely messing with self esteem and limiting growth.....I totally agree that being sensitive to gay families has nothing to do with polygamy, apples and oranges. I support two parent households gay or straight.Sinngle parents, and traditional pairings if all who have kids care, nurture, and provide a sane and supportive existance...... I continually feel angst for the teens, the Brown children, ugh...poor things...Kody does not see it, ugh. :)

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  30. I am convinced the other crimes are of a financial nature......Take your pick, look at tax returns, SNAP/Food Stamp applications, or the rotating bankruptcies.....Someone was right, many times if you have a separate kitchen you can maneuver around blatant food stamp fraud. But it is just one more less than pure behavior from a family claiming to be above those outside their faith. Smarmy and not what I would see as a good or healthy example to one' s kids. Being on TV and speaking out during the couch sessions, shows them presenting themselves as spiritually ahead of the general populace in their own minds.......ugh, Kody as a chosen one...omg

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  31. I am amazed at the narcissism the Browns show with regard to these legal proceedings. Perhaps this is best discussed in a post. What do others think about the Browns and narcissism?

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