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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Things not to prosecute: 1) Polygamists. 2)John Edwards.

Above: Sister Wives. Even Chelsea Handler thinks it's creepy.

- Polygamy policy: Utah County attorney gets it right - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

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The Utah County Attorney’s Office may have raised eyebrows when it declared in a court filing that it would not, as a matter of policy, prosecute polygamists under the state bigamy law unless some form of abuse, violence or fraud were involved. In Utah, this makes practical as well as legal sense.

Polygamy as practiced by several of Utah’s fundamentalist Mormon clans is pernicious. It enslaves women from girlhood in a patriarchal and religious web that denies them education, reproductive freedom, self-actualization and career opportunities. It can be equally corrosive in the lives of boys.

But there are exceptions. When consenting adults enter into religious marriages that are polygamous, without the expectation of the benefits of the state’s legal sanction, and there is no fraud, violence or abuse involved, there’s nothing to be gained by prosecution.

Several of the state’s attorneys general have realized this for many years. Current Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has made it a formal policy, and the new policy in Utah County mirrors that reasoning. ...

- Polygamy and same-sex marriage - Provo Daily Herald Editorial/Poll

... the decision would lend legal weight to the lifestyle of some 30,000 polygamists in Utah who have long complained that Utah's anti-bigamy law is unconstitutional and that it unfairly causes them to live under constant threat of prosecution.

It would also likely encourage advocates of gay marriage by adding one more argument to their arsenal. It would tend to legitimize personal and family relationships between consenting adults that are commonly understood -- and referred to -- as marriage. If the choice of family configuration is protected for some adults, it must be protected for all, gay marriage advocates argue with some legitimacy. ...

- Another court ruling further erodes the Defense of Marriage Act - Seattle Times Editorial


- John Edwards: Not all sins are a crime - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

John Edwards' political career was already over. The Nationial Enquirer had seen to that.

After the supermarket tabloid’s splashy revelation that the former U.S. senator and presidential candidate had betrayed his popular — and cancer-stricken — wife by fathering a child with a worshipful campaign videographer, the North Carolina Democrat was done. To some, such public humiliation would have been punishment enough.

But a platoon of federal prosecutors, led by a partisan Republican and supported by a division of the Justice Department that has a less-than-stellar record of dispensing justice, decided they wanted a piece of Edwards, too.

So they charged Edwards with violating federal campaign finance laws by funneling nearly a million dollars in support and/or hush money to the politician’s mistress.

Thursday, after much sound and fury and jokes and tweets, a jury acquitted Edwards on one count in the indictment and failed to reach a verdict on the other five. Sources say a retrial is unlikely, and that is as it should be.

Not everything that is filthy and ugly is a crime. ...

- John Edwards: A trial with no new answers - Charlotte (N.C.) Observer Editorial

In the end, America knows just as much now as it did three weeks ago about whom John Edwards betrayed. The former North Carolina senator and presidential candidate had an affair while campaigning, fathered a child with his mistress and tried to hide it all. The victims, as always, were his wife and family.

But for 17 days, a jury of eight men and four women sifted through campaign finance laws, testimony and more than 500 exhibits to determine if anyone else was aggrieved in the case of Johnny Reid Edwards. They never should have been asked to do so. The verdict of one count not guilty and five undecided may have been unsatisfying to a public ready for closure, but the result was unsurprising. ...

- John Edwards should not be retried - Washington Post Editorial

- 'Theft by suckering' - Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle Editorial

John Edwards’ crimes were tough to prove, even tougher to stomach. ...

- What was John Edwards thinking?: John Edwards and the science of lying

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