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Will the 'Sister Wives' show for court?

Published January 16, 2013 9:18 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

UPDATE: Kristyn Decker will meet with her group, called the Sound Choices Coalition, 3 p.m. Thursday at the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City. That's 30 minutes before the Browns' hearing. Decker is a former polygamist wife who is now a polygamy opponent. Decker's press release does not say whether this will be a protest, but Decker has criticized the Browns' attempts to decriminalize polygamy.

Original post:

On Monday, I wrote a story previewing Thursday's court hearing in the Brown family lawsuit against the state of Utah.

But I haven't received an answer as to whether the plaintiffs — the stars of the television show "Sister Wives" — will appear in the courtroom.

The family, Kody and wives Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn, all of whom are listed as plaintiffs, skipped a July 13, 2011, hearing at the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City. But back then, Lehi police and the Utah County Attorney's Office were still investigating the Browns for bigamy. That investigation prompted the Browns to move to Nevada.

Eventually, prosecutors decided to not file charges. That may have been a factor in why Meri Brown in September participated in a 5-kilometer walk benefiting people leaving polygamy.

Practically speaking, there's not much reason for the Browns to appear Thursday. The hearing will essentially be arguments between lawyers over the merits of the state outlawing plural marriage and whether that violate's constitutional rights. Witnesses will not be called. A trial is a ways off and the judge is unlikely to issue any important ruling from the bench on Thursday.

But, hey, the Browns aren't necessarily averse to publicity. And the Browns and some other polygamists, including the Dargers, have gone to great lengths to humanize plural marriage.

So who knows? Pay attention Thursday afternoon.

— Nate Carlisle

Twitter: @natecarlisle