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Judge will not boot cops in polygamous towns

First Published      Last Updated Jul 10 2016 07:48 pm

A federal judge will not disband the police force in the polygamous towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.

James A. Teilborg, who presided over a related trial earlier this year in Phoenix, said booting the towns' marshals and replacing them with sheriff's deputies and court-appointed monitors would be burdensome for the towns and the state of Arizona, and that burden would continue "into potential perpetuity."

Hildale and Colorado City, collectively known as Short Creek, is the home of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

"The Court does not doubt that the disbanding of the local law enforcement and the appointment of a monitor would be effective at preventing future discrimination by Defendants," Tielborg wrote in a ruling issued Thursday. "However, considering all the facts of the case, more narrowly tailored injunctive relief is appropriate."




He ordered the town governments and the related utilities to not discriminate for 10 years. He also ordered them to pay the state of Arizona a combined $200,000.

The saving of the marshals represents a lone victory ina lawsuit where Hildale and Colorado City were otherwise pummeled.

The case began when Ron and Jinjer Cooke could not get a water and sewer connection to their home in Colorado City.

The couple claimed the towns and utilities discriminated against them because they do not belong to the FLDS. Arizona and the U.S. Department of Justice joined the lawsuit.

At the Phoenix trial, the jury awarded the Cookes $5.2 million — more than what the couple was seeking. The Cookes and the towns and utilities have since settled the lawsuit. The amount has not yet been disclosed.

Arizona was also asking Teilborg to disband the marshals, who have police powers in both states. At the trial, the plaintiffs presented evidence the marshals harassed the Cookes and gave FLDS members access to cameras mounted on public property and access to police databases.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com

Twitter: @natecarlisle

 

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