As some of you know, today was the day on which both sides in the Sister Wives case were to file cross motions for summary judgment to establish whether the state’s criminalization of cohabitation is constitutional. This evening we have filed a roughly 80 page motion and brief challenging the anti-bigamy law on seven distinct constitutional and statutory grounds. Rather than file a summary judgment motion arguing the merits of constitutionality of the state law, however, the prosecutors have filed a declaration with the Court that they promise not to prosecute the Brown family for polygamy and have decided to end the investigation that has been ongoing for years. They further state that, in light of this lawsuit, they have adopted a new policy not to prosecute any plural family absent the commission of a collateral crime like child abuse. They are asking United States District Court Judge Clark Waddoups to dismiss the case in light of their concession and promise not to prosecute.
As lead counsel for the Brown family, I must continue to be circumspect in any public statement on the case. However, on behalf of myself and my local counsel Adam Alba and our team members (Geoff Turley, Matt Radler, and Gina D’Andrea) I wanted to express our great relief for the Brown family that this long-standing threat has been finally lifted. The family has spent almost two year being publicly denounced as felons by prosecutors and had to move to Nevada to protect their family and children. While I am pleased that the prosecutors are now promising to leave this family alone, the decision will not end our challenge to the state law. We do not believe that this decision and new policy renders this case moot under controlling precedent. Today, we have filed a comprehensive brief detailing the myriad of constitutional and statutory violations inherent in the law. We look forward to arguing that motion before Judge Waddoups in Salt Lake City.
Jonathan Turley, Lead Counsel for the Brown Family
May 31, 2012
Here is a statement from the Brown family released through my office this evening:
We are obviously delighted by the news that the prosecutors have formally declared that the investigation of our family is at an end. We have spent years under investigation and ultimately had to move from the state of Utah to protect our family and particularly our children. The decision to create the new policy in light of our lawsuit is wonderful news for not just ourselves but the many thousands of members of plural families in Utah. We are deeply grateful to Professor Jonathan Turley and his legal team who have stood beside us over these difficult years. We are committed to seeking a final review of this law before the federal court and we are excited about the filing of the Motion for Summary Judgment that was filed today on our behalf by Professor Turley and local counsel Adam Alba. While our fight will continue for equal rights for plural families in this case, the termination of this investigation is the answer to our prayers to live without fear of prosecution because of our faith.
The Kody Brown Family