Attorney general deciding whether to appeal 'Sister Wives' ruling
TLC, George Lange, File, Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY — With a U.S. District Court ruling finalized in favor of the polygamous Brown family, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes may be stepping back from his previous assertion he would appeal the decision.
"The attorney general's office is currently reviewing Judge (Clark) Waddoups' ruling of Brown v Herbert and will make final determination of whether or not to appeal one or more of the issues in the decision within the coming weeks. It is important to legally assess the ruling's scope and how it will impact future litigation," a spokeswoman for the office said in a statement Wednesday.
Reyes had said in February he intended to appeal the ruling.
Waddoups deemed Utah's ban on polygamous cohabitation to be unconstitutional last December. Bigamy — acquiring multiple marriage licenses — remains a felony in Utah.
The U.S. District judge ordered the state to pay the Browns' legal fees and ruled in the final count of the case Wednesday that the state's attorney, Jeffrey R. Buhman, violated the Browns' constitutional rights when he pursued an investigation against them, ultimately opting not to file charges.
The ruling had yet to be finalized as the court ironed out procedural questions, including whether the family would seek damages for their move to Nevada, fleeing criminal charges.
Earlier this year, the Browns, stars of the TLC reality series "Sister Wives," opted not to seek restitution for the estimated $200,000 in moving costs and lost wages they say they suffered when they left Lehi in 2010.
The Browns' lawyer, Jonathan Turley, has said the family is prepared to challenge the state's appeal. Turley said on this blog Wednesday that he hopes Reyes will choose not to appeal the case.
"Neither the attorney general nor the state of Utah should fight a ruling that reaffirmed freedom of religion and equal protection," Turley said. "Utah is a state that was founded by citizens seeking those very rights against government abuse. Utah is better place because of the courageous decision of Judge Waddoups and the commitment of the Brown family in defense of our Constitution."
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