Sister Wives Case Now Set For Final Ruling

240px-sister_wives_tv_series_logoI am still in Salt Lake City, but we have had a great number of inquiries on yesterday’s hearing in the Sister Wives case. The two motions for summary judgment were argued with the state presenting its case through lead counsel Jerry Jenson and my presenting the case for the Brown family. Judge Clark Waddoups was obviously well-versed in the record and asked probing and fair questions to both sides. He has now taken the case under review for a final decision on the merits. I prefer not repeat or comment on statements in court from either myself or the judge. A few articles from the hearing are linked below.

As lead counsel, I must remain circumspect about any public comments. We remain hopeful and committed to the case regardless of the outcome. Regardless of that outcome, Judge Waddoups has given us a full and unbiased hearing. He previously ruled in our favor on two critical motions regarding standing and mootness (here and here). He will now have to rule on two cross motions for summary judgment. Our complaint challenged Utah Code Ann. § 76-7-101 (West 2010) under seven constitutional claims, including due process, equal protection, free speech, free association, free exercise, the establishment of religion, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

I felt that we were given ample opportunity to present our case and arguments before Judge Waddoups. We must now wait and hope for the best. We have received a lot of calls about the next step. That will depend on the decision itself, obviously. Either party will have the opportunity to appeal any final ruling or seek reconsideration if they choose to do so. The appeal would go to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Frankly, I will be sad not to come back to Salt Lake City on the case because I truly love this city. It is extremely well run and the people could not be nicer.

There have been a variety of news stories on the hearing (here, here and here and here and here and here and here and here).

Here is the last filing in the case: Brown.Opposition.Summary Judgment.FinalMaster

21 thoughts on “Sister Wives Case Now Set For Final Ruling

  1. A fascinating story, now comprehended a bit better. The original (months ago) blog was misunderstood as a complaint from Mormons.

    But now it is clearly a case of fighting for everyones rights which are protected by the Constitution.

    A very worthy cause. My compliments on your choice of plaintiff, and your interesting use of the Constitution to defend us. Speaking as a civil rights person, not as a lawyer.

  2. I must admit that my wife and I watched “Sister Wives” in its first season. We stopped watching the show because we disliked the husband and his wives. However, I believe that people have the right to decide how they want to be married and as long as abuse or coercion does not enter into the equation, it’s none of the State’s damned business. Watching the show and seeing the people I believe that these are people who freely chose their lifestyle with knowledge and forethought. They should be left alone and I’m hoping for their victory and vindication.

  3. Court is likely to rule against the state statute while at the same time defining Marriage as between “One Man One Woman” rooted in the responsible procreation theory.

    In essence it will force SCOTUS to uphold the Federal definition of spouse as stated in DOMA.

  4. I do not mind these polygamous families as long as they do not abuse the welfare system. Rampant in Az and Utah. All the wives claim benefits to support the family.

  5. Amendment IV [ Annotations ]
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Amendment V [ Annotations ]
    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Amendment IX [ Annotations ]
    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    The Right of these people to be secure in their home from prosecution for simply living together and porking once in a while is violated by Utah. The fact that the rigth to pork without interference is not enumerated in the Fourth or Fifth Amendment but is nevertheless retained by these people. They ARE people. Even if they are not proper Utah mormons. This Ninth Amendment argument has good wings.

  6. I suggest that this Hearth and Home controversy will rise its head in another case. The right to liberty is the right to privacy of one’s own home. The phrase, riight to privacy. was perhaps not prefaced enough in Roe and Griswold with the key word: Liberty. Liiberty is enumerated in the constittuion. No Power is enumerated in the constittution which allows the state or federal government to usurp your liberty or privacy rights in your home. I hope that such a case arises where the case is framed in such a fashion as to go forward with Griswold and Roe. Utah or Missouri, dont tell me who I can pork in my own home, as long it is not an animal or a minor child or a Republican. That I would not do.

  7. To paraphrase Barry Goldwater: None dare ignore humor. If the “porkin” word offends, be not offended for no livestock was intended.

  8. Barkin’Dog,

    You seem to be inclined to good deeds. Excellent.

    Can you explain/give tips on use of the fifth.?

    Can one use it when questioned as part of an investigation, without beind tried for bla bla after refusal?

    Having once said bla bla, have I forfeited my right to its selective use as deemed appropriate by myself or my attorney?
    Some say this is so ,that the right is lost upon no longer holding to a strict use of standard reference to the fifth’s protection in response to ALL questions.

  9. Most people don’t find the marriage of one man to more than one woman or one woman to more than one man, both at the same time, to be as spiritually and morally offensive as the marriage of same sex couples. This discussion had to take place sooner or later.

  10. MJM,

    Simple as I see it. Life’s primary purpose is to reproduce whether you are a cell or a human.

    Pólygamy or alternatively brothers sharing a wife as in Mustang north of Nepal, are conducive to reproduction.

    Unassisted, same sex is not fruitful as to children. So somewhere semen and an egg must meet in a womb. Potentially, two women could each have children,with different semen sources.. Male partners lack wombs and must hire a surrogate womb. India claims recently that it will stop the sales of surrogate wombs in vivo as a service to gay seekers. Only heterocouples need apply. Just raises the price and the corruption level.

    We must face that homosexuality has been a persistent gene for how many years you wish to count back. It may be due to post-conception intra-placentary effects. No one knows yet.

    Religion has no right to speak, I feel.

  11. Can be argued, rightfully so, that the anti-polygamy laws specifically bar the Federal Government from recognising any individual in a same gender marriage like relationship, be they married or of the the co-habit.

  12. McCarthy commie hunt through hearings began in 1950 and ended in the Army hearings some years later.

    Excerpt from Wikipedia:
    After three largely undistinguished years in the Senate, McCarthy rose suddenly to national fame in February 1950 when he asserted in a speech that he had a list of “members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring” who were employed in the State Department.[4] McCarthy was never able to prove his sensational charge.

    In succeeding years, McCarthy made additional accusations of Communist infiltration into the State Department, the administration of President Harry S. Truman, Voice of America, and the United States Army. He also used charges of communism, communist sympathies, or disloyalty to attack a number of politicians and other individuals inside and outside of government. With the highly publicized Army–McCarthy hearings of 1954, McCarthy’s support and popularity faded. On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted to censure Senator McCarthy by a vote of 67 to 22, making him one of the few senators ever to be disciplined in this fashion. McCarthy died in Bethesda Naval Hospital on May 2, 1957, at the age of 48. The official cause of death was acute hepatitis; it is widely accepted that this was caused, or at least exacerbated, by alcoholism.[5]”

    The effects generated by our Congress are sometimes revealed afterwards.
    My point is that they further corrupt our justice system with well-hidden laws.
    Which in turn are enforced in a corrupt fashion as detailed in the blog.

  13. MJM,

    Touché. Ie same to you. Brilliant repartée.

    My point. Biology tops religion in telling us what is best and is necessary, even in reproduction.
    All else from an acknowledgement of that dictum, is only stupidities from us.
    God did not create us, nature did. Thus what men say that God wants is only biullshit.

    What was your point?

Comments are closed.