Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Make Up Your Mind

I am including the full text of an AP article below because it is indicative of the insanity of the State of Utah.  Attorney Jonathan Turley recently filed a lawsuit against the State of Utah, challenging its idiotic bigamy statute, on behalf of the Kody Brown family.  Utah's Attorney General is arguing that the Brown family lacks the necessary standing to challenge the law.  The assertion is that the Browns have not been sufficiently "harmed" to claim justifiable standing.

It's all fine and dandy for the AG to support an ongoing criminal investigation, then say that charges will not necessarily be forthcoming, but he has to eventually make up his fricking mind.

If the Utah county prosecutor proceeds to arrest the Brown family, the Browns will then have the harm/standing they need to challenge the law.  Buhman will likely not do that, because neither Shurtleff nor his Church wants Reynolds overturned.

If the AG insists that there is ZERO possibility that the Browns will ever be arrested for consenting adult polygamy (protected under Lawrence), then he is in effect saying that Utah's stupid bigamy statute is unenforceable and that he never intends to apply it.

I'm no legal scholar, but it seems to me that, if a law is utterly eviscerated and effectively dead, then someone - namely someone who is still menaced by it - ought to be able to step up and demand that the courts or the legislature repeal it, permanently.

The double-talk coming out of assistant A.G. Jerrold Jensen's mouth is stunning.  He says that no mere consenting adult polygamists have been arrested for more than 50 years.  READ MY LIPS - this is a LIE !!!!!!!!!  Mark Easterday (of Monroe, Utah) was arrested in 1999 for practicing polygamy with his wife, Pepper, and his girl-friend Marian.  He pleaded the charge down to adultery and paid a $500.00 fine.  Since that time, someone has gone into the court records in that county and changed the documents to reflect that Easterday was originally charged with adultery.  This is fraud.

I expect that the Federal court will look dimly on Utah's lack-of-standing argument.  There has been enough saber-rattling in the last year to frighten any family into exile, let alone a family with four wives and a TV show.

Anyway, I don't care.  Utah has now painted itself into an exquisite and impossible corner.  It is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't.  What's more, I just got wind of another consenting adult polygamist family which is going to storm into the spotlight next week.  Sooner or later, Snotlick is going to have to make up his mother-loving mind and grow a backbone.  Listen - there are tens of thousands of polygs in Arizona and Utah.  Make up your mind - arrest us or shut up.  You simply cannot have it both ways.  If you think this legal ambivalence is trivial, think about it this way - - - - -

I, Renn Oldsbuster, hereby challenge the Attorney General AND the Utah legislature to pick one of the following two statements and then publish it in the newspaper and online:

A.  "Utah's bigamy statute squarely applies to informal religious relationships between consenting adults, and we intend to pursue the prosecution of all Utahns found to be involved in such relationships."

OR ---

B.  "We admit that the purport and cohabit prongs of Utah's bigamy statute constitute impermissible targeting of a religious minority, therefore we publicly proclaim our repudiation of this statutory language, and promise all consenting adult polygamists that, even if the law stays on the books, we will NEVER apply it to them.  We also encourage the legislature to change the statute to criminalize only those parties who fraudulently obtain more than one legal marriage license."

Pick one, SNOTLICK!

Further evidence of the AG's broken memory is the fact that Judge Walter Steed was removed from his judgeship because he has three partners.  If the anti-bigamy statute will not be used to target polygamists, why does the AG use it to target them?
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Sept. 6, 2011 — 
State attorneys say a federal court challenge to Utah's bigamy law by the "Sister Wives" cable TV show family should be dismissed because they can't prove they've been threatened with arrest or prosecution.
Polygamist Kody Brown and his four wives — Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn — filed their lawsuit in Salt Lake City's U.S. District Court in July. A criminal investigation of the family began after the launch of their TLC reality show in fall 2010.
No charges have been filed by either the state of Utah or prosecutors in Utah County, where the family, which includes 16 children, lived. The family moved to Nevada in January and contends they were forced to leave Utah in order to avoid prosecution.
But in court papers filed Sept. 1, the attorney general's office argues that criminal charges aren't necessarily forthcoming.
"They have not been warned that if they do not cease to engage in their polygamous relationships that legal actions will be taken against them," Assistant Utah Attorney General Jerrold S. Jensen wrote. "And — what is probably the tipping point — there have been no arrests or prosecutions for the mere practice of polygamy in Utah in over 50 years."
Court papers say the policy of the Utah attorney general's office is only to prosecute polygamists for bigamy when it occurs in conjunction with other crimes.
In a statement provided by e-mail, the Brown's attorney, Jonathan Turley, said the state's motion for a dismissal is an effort to avoid scrutiny of an unconstitutional law.
"Under this extreme position, state officials can criminalize any private relationship while denying the right of citizens to challenge the law, even when those citizens are denounced as presumptive felons by prosecutors in the media," Turley, a professor at George Washington University in Washington D.C. "We will vigorously oppose the effort to close the door of the courthouse to this family."
Under Utah law, it is illegal for unmarried persons to cohabitate, or "purport" to be married. A person is also guilty of bigamy if they hold multiple legal marriage licenses.
The third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in state prison. Both men and women can be prosecuted under the law, which also applies to unmarried, monogamous couples that live together.
The Brown's lawsuit asks a federal judge to declare the law unconstitutional.
Appellate court records shows that only three bigamy cases have been prosecuted in Utah since 1960, the state said in its court filing. All three cases involved crimes other than bigamy, including fraud, criminal non-support of spouses and children and sexual assault of a minor.
Utah County has no stated policy on prosecuting polygamy, but historically has a similar practice, Jeffrey Buhman, the county attorney states in affidavit filed with the court.
Buhman has said his office's investigation is ongoing and no decision about whether or not to prosecute the Browns has ever been announced.
Early Mormon settlers brought polygamy to Utah in the 1840s. Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints abandoned the practice in 1890 however, as Utah moved toward statehood.
The Browns belong to the Apostolic United Brethren, one of handful of self-described Mormon fundamentalist churches that continue the practice as part of their faith.
The polygamy advocacy group Principle Voices estimates there are about 40,000 fundamentalists who practice or believe in polygamy living in Utah and other western states.
Like most polygamists in Utah, Brown is legally married only to his first wife, Meri. He subsequently "wed" Janelle, Christine and Robyn only in religious ceremonies and the couples consider themselves "spiritually married."
Turley has said the focus of the family's lawsuit is really privacy, not polygamy. The Browns are not challenging Utah's right to refuse to recognize plural marriage nor are they seeking multiple marriage licenses.
"What they are asking for is the right to structure their own lives, their own family, according to their faith and their beliefs," he said at a news conference outside the federal courthouse two months ago.

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