Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
The Polygamy Blog
Jim Dalrymple II and Trent Nelson
Reporter Jim Dalrymple II and photographer Trent Nelson cover polygamy for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow the Polygamy Blog on Twitter at @tribunepolygamy. Follow Jim Dalrymple II on Twitter at @jimmycdii. Follow Trent Nelson on Twitter at @trenthead.

» E-mail Jim Dalrymple II

» Subscribe (RSS)




In this publicity image released by TLC, Kody brown, center, poses with his wives, from left, Robyn, Christine, Meri and Janelle in a promotional photo for the reality series, "Sister Wives." (AP Photo/TLC, George Lange)
Any appeal of polygamy decriminalization ruling will have to wait

The "Sister Wives" lawsuit that decriminalized polygamy in Utah was put on ice Friday while attorneys wrangle over a few final issues.

In a landmark ruling issued last month, Judge Clark Waddoups struck down Utah’s law against cohabitation, effectively decriminalizing polygamy in Utah. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed by the Brown family, famous from the TV show "Sister Wives," alleging that Utah’s laws against polygamy amounted to discrimination.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Waddoups’ decision handed victory to the Browns.

During Friday’s ruling, attorneys for the Browns and the state brought up two issues. The first was if Utah County officials, who threatened to prosecute the Browns but never followed through, had violated the Enforcement Act of 1871. The law — which originally was used to against the Ku Klux Klan — makes state officials liable if they use their office to violate someone’s rights.

The Browns believe Utah County officials broke that law. Jonathan Turley, a Washington D.C-based lawyer representing the Browns, added during Friday’s hearing that he raised the issue repeatedly in the lawsuit. He also said that state attorneys never responded to the Browns’ claim that state officials broke the law.

However, Assistant Utah Attorney General Jerrold Jensen said that the state never responded to the issue because the Browns weren’t asking for any monetary compensation in the lawsuit.

And that was the second big issue in Friday’s hearing: money. So far, the Browns have not specified any amount they want as a result of the lawsuit. Turley said during the hearing that he would have to ask the Browns if they want to pursue some sort of compensation as a result of their victory in the case.

Jensen said that the state would oppose any attempt by the Browns to receive financial relief. Waddoups added that the case could end up going to trial over money, though the Browns could simply opt to forgo any award.

In any case, both the money issue and the question over the Enforcement Act have to be resolved before the lawsuit can be appealed to a higher court. Waddoups gave Jensen and Turley until mid February to finish writing briefs on these latest issues, after which he will schedule a new hearing.

In the meantime, the effect of the lawsuit is unchanged and cohabitation remains legal in Utah.

It also remains unclear if the state actually plans to appeal the case. Jensen said Friday in court that his office hasn’t decided yet if it will appeal the ruling. He later added that he has yet to discuss the case with newly appointed Attorney General Sean Reyes, pointing out that the recent ruling allowing same sex marriage in Utah has occupied most of the office’s energies.

— Jim Dalrymple II

Twitter: @jimmycdii



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
 
Jobs
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.