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UT County joins state's novel approach to polygamy

Published May 31, 2012 7:06 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In his bid to keep the felony bigamy law on the books, the Utah County attorney is backing off his investigation of the polygamous Brown family.

Jeffrey Buhman says Kody Brown and his four wives haven't committed any other crimes, so they won't face bigamy charges — and neither will any future consenting adult polygamists in Utah County. Story here.

The announcement may not be a surprise, given a noticeable lack of charges over the last nearly two years, but it is a significant change in tone from the interviews prosectors gave back in 2010 and dark hints at a hearing last year that some other unidentified badness was going on.

(Those hints came from Assistant Attorney General Jerrold Jensen, who was one of the authors of Thursday's motion.)

The new compromise approach mirrors that of the Utah Attorney General, and formalizes what's been the unspoken practice in the state for the last five decades.

The policy seems designed to dodge possibly thorny constitutional issues and allow communication with the state's polygamous community without a full endorsement that would associate the state even further with the controversial practice, along with other possible results.

And it's gotten the state out from under the Brown lawsuit and allowed officials to build some level of dialog.

But what do you think? Does the policy split the baby? Has it worked? Is it the best that can be done?