Sister Wives: Prosecutors Drop Investigation Of Brown Family And Promise Not To Prosecute For Polygamy

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
Washington, D.C.
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

39 thoughts on “Sister Wives: Prosecutors Drop Investigation Of Brown Family And Promise Not To Prosecute For Polygamy”

  1. MM:
    Every child knows his mother; a wise child knows his father.

    (Of course, different in some states.)

    Question: If marriages in other states (like NY) have been annulled because when the parties got married, one of them was already married in, say, Nevada — and if courts then lost jurisdiction over the divorces, while in progress, because jurisdiction attached by the bill of complaint for divorce, which was retroactively void ab initio, so…what then, or, as they might say it elsewhere, WTF?

  2. Monogamy: “Mother’s baby, father’s maybe.”

    Polygamy: “Mothers’ babies, father’s maybe”

    Polyandry: Mother’s baby, fathers’ maybe.”

    Always room for one or more anonymous sperm-donor(s). What do men know about where babies come from, anyway? Marriage only involves how to divide up the community property.

    As for the animist mythology surrounding copulation and its conceivable results:

    Statutory Religion

    Zeus and Yahweh had a fling.
    They liked that earthly female thing:
    A little Greek, a little Jew,
    They did it like the rabbits do.

    In those days, no man’s law applied;
    If gods desired it, mankind cried.
    If old enough to stab, they bled;
    If old enough to bleed, they bred.

    The Big Spook way up in the sky
    Keeps screwing over you and I;
    Our sisters and our daughters, too;
    And wives in Utah (quite a few).

    The Big Spook’s got an appetite;
    It likes ’em small; It likes ’em tight;
    It likes ’em big; It likes ’em wide;
    It hasn’t got an ounce of pride.

    No crime the Great Big Spook reproves.
    The Spook will screw it if it moves.
    If it can crawl or walk or run,
    The Spook will screw it just for fun.

    The Spook’s now got an inside track
    For buggering those in Iraq,
    For It has heard the nightly pleas
    Of one dumb Texan on his knees.

    Who wants so much to lead the troops,
    But only in his panties poops.
    The Spook, though, lets George have his way,
    And gives him bullshit words to say.

    “Bad” weddings George has bombed to mush;
    “Safe” houses, too, his bombers crush,
    To spread his own “democracy”:
    In his case, schizoid lunacy.

    The hearts and minds he’s failed to win
    Of those who’ve paid so he could sin;
    But still the Big Spook’s curse he stays,
    As on the world the Big Dick sprays.

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2006

  3. PollyAnna,

    The Browns ARE practicing a “Mormon version of polygamy.” It’s not modern at all inasmuch as they trace their religious tradition back to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, the original leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They do not endorse or encourage polyandry.

    The official Church discontinued polygamy more than 100 years ago. The Browns practice as an off-shoot of the Church. The Browns’ religion isn’t the only offshoot of the official Church, however. There are groups led by people like Warren Jeffs. They practice the kind of polygamy that I think you’re referring to here, the kind that represses women.

  4. Its nobody’s business if I have one wife or a hundred. The government needs to stay out of peoples lives.

  5. Actually the real political 64 dollar question of the day, is that now that UTAH has GREENLIT POLYGAMY, what will the impact be on Mitt Romney?

    Let me start with the following conspiracy theory:

    This case was going to be decided a month or two ago, but Romney bought off the State Gov’t to delay this until he had secured the nomination.

    His grandfather after all was a known polygamist.

  6. Oh shit! I left the keyboard alone for a second. Stupid viruses.

    I meant what are the implications of how the administration has enforced marijuana laws on our ability to trust the feds here?

  7. Mike Appleton,

    Thank you for your insight. I agree it simultaenously seems to greenlight polygamny and at the same time makes the claim the gov’t will ignore ongoing crime.

    Um, can anyone discuss the implications of this to man on dog?

  8. Glad to hear this news….and we have miles to go before we sleep!

  9. Is this not just an attempted end run to keep a decision from being rendered? I have the same questions Mike A. does. Can/will this effectively end the challenge on technical grounds. it’s encouraging to hear that the Professor intends to continue the case to a judicial decision that addresses the law itself. Fingers crossed for JT and liberty.

  10. I’m sure none of these women were indoctrinated (shamed, coerced, etc.) into believing it’s OK for a man to have several wives, from the very beginning of their lives. Does the modern version of this religion encourage polyandry? Polygamy is not my thing, but the Mormon version of polygamy seems inherently abusive and coercive.

  11. Congratulations, JT.

    From legislating soda sizes to family sizes, our government apparently needs to be constrained at every turn.

  12. It appears that the State of Utah is hoping that Prof. Turley’s clients will abandon the case and would prefer that the court not issue a ruling. But what is the difference between the assurances of the prosecutor in this case and Pres. Obama’s assurances that his administration will not utilize its authority to hold U.S. citizens in indefinite detention? Further, how can prosecutors ethically promise individuals that they will not enforce the criminal laws against them under circumstances in which the individuals have made it clear that they intend to continue violating those laws? Will the State of Utah now seek dismissal of the suit for mootness? Can the State’s position result in a loss of standing for the plaintiffs? Have citizens of Utah now received tacit permission to engage in polygamy? Will women living in Utah feel emboldened to have multiple husbands? Will Mitt Romney take additional wives? Stay tuned.

    Congratulations, Prof. Turley. The rest of us can only fantasize about filing a suit and having the opposing party assume a fetal position before the Court has even ruled on the main question.

  13. What an unexpected and puzzling turn of events. I guess the prosecutors think they are going to lose and hope the judge will render the case moot.

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